Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza will not end 2020 under new ownership, after all.
Downtown Crenshaw, a community group that has led the opposition to the mall’s acquisition by corporate developers, announced yesterday that the agreement to purchase Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza had been canceled as of Friday, December 11th.
New York-based real estate developers LIVWRK and DFH Partners disclosed their intentions to purchase the 40-acre property from Capri Capital Partners in October for $110 million, according to reporting by The Wall Street Journal. An earlier deal with CIM Group, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm, fell apart in June after it was revealed that housing would be scrapped from the redevelopment plans.
Both CIM Group and LIVWRK were criticized by Downtown Crenshaw for partnering with Kushner Companies — the family-owned real estate business of senior White House advisor Jared Kushner — on past and present projects.
Asher Abehsera, founder and CEO of LIVWRK, repeatedly denied that Kushner Companies would have any involvement in the mall’s redevelopment, telling Business Insider that he hasn’t spoken to President Trump’s son-in-law in four years. Despite Abehsera’s insistence, the Kushner association and resulting backlash likely led to the deal’s demise.
“This is a tremendous Black community victory and testament to the power of the people,” said Downtown Crenshaw Board Chair Niki Okuk, in a statement. “We have shown that when we come together to defend our community, not even the powerful business partners and close friends of the president’s family can defeat us.”
The development team for Downtown Crenshaw Rising, a nonprofit focused on creating and maintaining Black wealth in the community, submitted a $100 million bid to purchase Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in August, which was ultimately rejected. Downtown Crenshaw Board Member Damien Goodman recently noted that the organization’s offer “remains 5% over the next most credible offer.”
Downtown Crenshaw’s proposed redevelopment plan calls for an entertainment production district, conference center, six-acre central park, mixed-income and senior housing, community gardens, two grocery stores, senior centers, daycare facilities, a boutique hotel, office space, and much more.
Now, with the mall back on the market, the question remains: Will Downtown Crenshaw score the winning bid this time around?