The Home Depot, Inc. has purchased the former U.S. Postal Service Marina Processing and Distribution Center property on Jefferson Boulevard in the Del Rey area, a 20-acre site across Alla Road from an existing Home Depot store.
The property, at 13031 Jefferson Blvd., was purchased for a price in excess of $60 million, according to the real estate firm CB Richard Ellis, but some reports indicated that The Home Depot paid about $75 million.
Escrow closed on the former Postal Service site Tuesday, August 15th.
During the “highly competitive bidding process,” offers were received from various home improvement retailers, office and industrial developers and multi-family builders, according to CB Richard Ellis — the firm selected to receive bids on the property.
In the end, Home Depot was selected as the buyer over 40 initial bidders and a final group of about eight, said Blake Mirkin, a senior vice president for CB Richard Ellis.
The transaction occurred nearly a year after the Postal Service put its Marina Center property up for sale in mid September.
The Postal Service had closed the facility, which is near Playa Vista, in July of last year to consolidate operations into a larger processing center in South Los Angeles.
Home Depot spokeswoman Kathryn Gallagher did not specify why the company wanted to buy the much larger 20-acre site across the street from a current Home Depot store, but said only that the company was interested in the prime location.
“The Home Depot is always looking for good sites, especially in thriving communities like Marina del Rey and throughout Los Angeles,” Gallagher said.
Mirkin added that he believed the location of the site had an influence on The Home Depot wanting to purchase the property. The company saw a “huge potential” in controlling the site and was willing to pay a premium price, CB Richard Ellis officials said.
“I believe they felt it was a strategic location for them to control their destiny as it relates to any potential growth or expansion,” Mirkin said of the purchase. “It enabled them to control that and it was a wise acquisition.”
The Home Depot is currently expecting to lease the former Postal Service facility for about three to five years to a long-term temporary tenant, such as a distribution or retail-type tenant, to use the facility “similarly to what it is used for now,” Gallagher said.
Company officials are still unsure about their plans for the 20-acre site, but they will use the time when the property is being leased out to determine what their project will be, such as a Home Depot store or another Home Depot concept, she said.
“We will work closely with the city in determining usage and working through all approvals,” Gallagher said.
Although the future usage of the site has not been determined, Postal Service spokesman Larry Dozier said a retail postal presence will remain on the property, which currently contains the Alla Vista Post Office.
“It has been one of our goals all along to keep a retail presence there,” Dozier said.
The news last year that the property would be sold sparked the interest of a diverse group of potential buyers, including the Del Rey Park Task Force, composed of community members seeking park space, and local environmentalists, but neither submitted bids.
Mark Redick, a Del Rey Neighborhood Council and Del Rey Park Task Force member, said he preferred that a “big-box retailer” became the new owner instead of a residential developer.
“I would much rather see that type of business go in there than 500 condos,” Redick said.
With a new project coming to the area, community members will be concerned primarily about increased traffic on the already busy Jefferson Boulevard, as well as potential effects from future demolition, Redick said.
Del Rey community members plan to work with Home Depot officials in the effort to get a portion of the 20-acre site dedicated for active open space, he said.
“We need to work with Home Depot and see what it is they want to do,” Redick said. “By working together we will try to come up with something mutually beneficial.”