Exclusive: Mall of America Owner Looking to Buy Former Rocketdyne Site in LA’s West Valley

CoStar Group

Posted In — News & Press | In the News

47-Acre Site Being Marketed to Potential Buyers as an “Urban Neighborhood” Approved for Up to 6 Million SF of Development

The owner of the Mall of America is negotiating to buy one of the largest redevelopment sites in Los Angeles: the former rocket-engine manufacturing site of Aerojet Rocketdyne.

Triple Five Group Ltd., a diversified development and finance organization with extensive experience in major mixed-use development projects, plans to acquire the 47-acre site at 6633 Canoga Ave. in Warner Center from Rocketdyne’s former parent company, United Technologies Corp.

While under contract, Triple Five has been reaching out to a number of governmental organizations including Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who represents the district that comprises the Rocketdyne site. Blumenfield’s office confirmed Triple Five representatives approached him and his staff about the purchase of the site but added that they are not involved in the execution of the deal.

The property is expected to sell for a price of approximately $150 million, said a source who was previously involved in a portion of the deal but was not authorized to speak.

James Abbott, executive director of Realty Advisory Group Inc. who holds the sale listing for United Technologies, confirmed the property is under contract but was limited from commenting about the buyer due to a non-disclosure agreement.

Should the sale close, it would be the largest land sale by acreage in the Los Angeles market since Sares Regus Group bought the 110-acre former Toyota USA headquarters campus in Torrance for $270 million last year. The sale price for that site reflected that it included several existing buildings and structures on the former corporate campus.

Triple Five, founded and operated by Canadian family the Ghermezians, owns several of North America’s largest malls: the 4.2 million-square-foot Mall of America in Minnesota and the 5.2 million-square-foot West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada. It is also under construction on the $4.8 billion American Dream Meadowlands project in New Jersey.

The 47-acre former Rocketdyne site is being marketed as an urban neighborhood with up to 6 million square feet of development including 3,950 residential units, 1.13 million square feet of office space, 200,000 square feet of shops and restaurants as well as a 210-room hotel. Plans for the proposed project also include assisted living, and cultural and education space.

Boston Global Investors of Boston developed the site plans for United Technologies.

Bounded by Canoga Avenue, Victory Boulevard, Owensmouth Avenue and Vanowen Street, the property falls within the L.A. City Council-approved Warner Center 2035 Plan. The specific plan was created to facilitate the growth of a more centralized “live, work, play” environment in the transit-oriented district of the West Valley. Among its provisions, it lifts building height limits on the area and allows for 30 million square feet of commercial space and 26,000 residences.

One of the main attributes of the site is its location directly across from Westfield Corp.’s sprawling development that includes Westfield Topanga mall and The Village. It also includes Westfield’s The Promenade, where the company is planning 1,400 residences, a 15,000-seat sports and entertainment center, two hotels, 620,000 square feet of office and 244,000 square feet of retail over the next 12 years.

The Rocketdyne complex was developed more than 60 years ago by the U.S. Air Force to manufacture rocket engines. The property changed hands over the years but remained a rocket-building facility. United Technologies bought the site in 2005 as part of its acquisition of Rocketdyne from the Boeing Co. United Technologies subsequently merged Rocketdyne with its Pratt & Whitney division.

GenCorp. Inc. bought the Rocketdyne business nine years later for $550 million, leaving United Technologies with the huge property. GenCorp. changed its name to Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc. and leased the site back until 2014 when it relocated to a plant on De Soto Avenue.

The site previously had about 16 industrial and office buildings totaling approximately 800,000 square feet. The buildings have been razed and the site has been undergoing environmental clean-up.

Hartford, Conn.-based United Technologies has been marketing the property for sale through Realty Advisory Group Inc., Kidder Mathews and Binswanger. [ uptownatwarnercenter.com]

It’s unclear whether Triple Five plans to move forward with the existing plans associated with the project.

The company, which operates a home construction unit, has completed 3,000 residences worldwide and has 30,000 residential units in planning or development in the U.S. and Canada, according to its website.

Triple Five is most well-known for its mega-malls. The Mall of America and West Edmonton Mall feature much more than shops. They include theme parks, water parks, mini golf courses and other more experiential components.

The company is developing the 90-acre American Dream Meadowlands mall in New Jersey that is slated to include a Legoland, water park and an indoor ski slope. After several delays, the first phase is expected to open next year.

A United Technologies representative, who confirmed the marketing of the property, directed requests for comments to Abbott. Triple Five did not return requests for comment.

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©Copyright 2018 CoStar Realty Information Inc.

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