San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Glendale Woolworth Open After Remodel

By Carol Lawrence Friday, March 17, 2017

The former F.W. Woolworth Co. store at 201 N. Brand Blvd. has three new tenants after a recently completed refurbishment updated the building's system, added new storefronts and gave the exterior a much-needed makeover. One of its newest tenants, The Halal Guys, held a grand opening Friday.

Gustavo Spoliansky and Loretta Scherer, partners in L.A.’s Bow Truss Capital, bought the building in November 2014 out of receivership for about $8.5 million and with 89 percent of it vacant, according to Spoliansky and Avison Young (Canada) Inc. in Los Angeles. Brokers Mark Evanoff, Andrew Berk and Chase Gordon advised the buyers to take on the renovation and negotiated the leases on their behalf.

The Woolworth building was both iconic and historic to downtown Glendale, having been built in the 1920s and remodeled when Woolworth opened there in 1942. But the property had an inefficient layout, old systems and years of deferred maintenance, according to Avison. The brokers advised Spoliansky and Scherer to refurbish the property and add office space to make it mixed-use as a way to add value, preserve its historical look and attract new tenants.

“The Glendale retail market has a significant amount of newer competitive product,” Gordon said in a statement. “Our goal was to communicate the building’s new vision and pre-lease a large majority of the ground floor retail space and second floor office space to tenants within a compressed timeline.”

The remake of the two-story, 44,000-square-foot property added six new storefronts on Wilson Avenue facing south and gave all the storefronts a new base; installed aluminum-and-glass around the store openings and ceramic tile at the bases; added entry doors, new lights and a paint job. The outdated operating systems were also updated as were the building’s historical features.

As the iconic property is listed on the Glendale Register of Historic Resources, the renovation required approval by the Glendale Historical Preservation Committee. It’s in the Theatre District of Downtown Glendale and around the corner from the Glendale Galleria.

New tenants include Perfect 85 Degrees C Inc., or 85°C Bakery, taking 2,865 square feet; the N.Y. headquartered franchise, The Halal Guys Inc. with 2,284 square feet; and London’s flexible workspace provider Regus plc, which has taken the roughly 14,000-square-foot second floor. Incumbent tenant AT&T still occupies 3,500 square feet. The building still has about 21,000 square feet available, according to Avison.

“Glendale is fast-becoming one of the premier live, work, play destinations in Greater Los Angeles and the Woolworth building project exemplifies this shift perfectly with its neighborhood-serving retail and ‘main street’ feel,” Berk said.