For anyone who has ever paid to park an automobile in downtown Los Angeles, the most familiar and convenient parking lots and parking structures carry the same name: “Joe’s Auto Parks.” If Joe’s Auto Parks was playing a board game like Monopoly, their formally-owned parking structure located at 440 S. Broadway Street would be right up there with Park Place and Boardwalk.

Why?

It is one of the last remaining developable properties within the ever-widening sphere of gentrification that has now moved east across the downtown core to encompass Broadway Street, arguably the most heavily pedestrian-traveled street in the entire city.

That’s exactly why Colliers International Vice President Adam Tischer recently completed the $6.25 million sale of the five-story parking structure to a joint-venture composed of Sunrise Real Estate Group and Parallel Acquisitions & Holdings, which are working on designs to dramatically change both the outward appearance and inner use of what many downtown observers have described as one of the “ugliest” buildings on Broadway.

Downtown-based Parallel, a boutique development firm that specializes in re-purposing retail spaces for higher and better use, along with Sunrise, plans to re-develop 440 S. Broadway into 37,000 square feet of retail space with an on-site parking garage that will accommodate up to 250 cars on the third-through-fifth floors.

“The building is a true diamond in the rough; it has all the right elements for the street in a not so attractive package,” said Sunrise Principal Daniel Abrams. “It has retail and parking, and we love that, and when it’s done it will be a gem.”

With housing and hotel rooms in high demand throughout the Central City, and with the updated and suddenly-hip Clifton’s Cafeteria being resurrected on the heels of the opening of the uber-chic Ace Hotel in the former United Artists Theater Building, both on Broadway, the street has been given new life. 

“Working with the Broadway Historic Committee to ensure that our new design falls within the aesthetics of the street, we plan to transition the building from one of the least attractive to the most notable façade on the street,” assured Parallel Principal Pouya Abdi.

Sunrise’s Abrams echoed that promise and added, “While accomplishing that, we also will be repositioning the retail space for the numerous junior box national credit tenants who have told us they want to have a downtown presence. As downtown’s residential population grows and more lofts become available, retail and parking will become a necessity.”

This is Sunrise’s third acquisition of the year and is another sign that the Woodland Hills-based firm is transitioning away from its traditional base in the San Fernando Valley to acquiring properties and building in dense urban and coastal areas.

Parallel, which is currently redeveloping a few buildings in the Arts District, is excited about broadening its downtown holdings into the historic core. 

“As Broadway continues to gentrify, opportunities for redevelopment have become ever-more scarce, making this property one of the few remaining sites for redevelopment along this suddenly trendy street,” said Colliers’ Tischer. “Broadway will definitely be better off once the new owners complete their re-positioning of this well-placed asset.”