The site of a former department store in Beverly Hills considered one of the most desirable pieces of real estate in the country sold for $148.3 million on Tuesday to investors from Hong Kong and Singapore.

Joint Treasure International, a Hong Kong-based private equity firm, purchased the 8-acre parcel at the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards. The firm intends to develop luxury condominiums on the site.

“This is an incomparable site that cannot be replicated,” said Daniel Yiu, senior advisor to Joint Treasure, which specializes in global real estate.  Joint Treasure has owned the nearby Beverly Wilshire Hotel since 1995 and is familiar with the neighborhood, Yiu said. “Our investor group is interested only in premier properties in premier locations.”

Yiu said that he was uncertain when his company’s revised proposal could be completed and approved by city officials, but that he didn’t intend to wait for the real estate market to recover before getting started.

“The housing market is definitely very depressed right now, but surely one cannot wait until the market picks up to build,” he said. “That would be too late.”

Joint Treasure bought the former Robinsons-May department store site at 9900 Wilshire Blvd. in a private auction from Banco Inbursa, a bank controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. The bank took possession of the property last week after completing foreclosure proceedings against CPC Group, which was operated by jet-setting British developers Nicholas and Christian Candy.

The Candys made headlines in 2007 when they bought the parcel for $500 million in one of the largest transactions in the history of Los Angeles County. The seller, Beverly Hills-based New Pacific Realty Corp., had paid $33.5 million for the property three years earlier.

New Pacific had created a plan for the site that called for razing the empty department store and building a luxury condominium and retail complex designed by Richard Meier, architect of the Getty Center. Yiu said Joint Treasure intends to follow through with generally the same plan.

The Candys proposed replacing some of the units with a high-end hotel, but Yiu said Joint Treasure would keep the project residential.  “Our group already owns the best hotel in the area,” he said. “We’re not going to compete with ourselves.”


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