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ImaginAsian Sale Listing Seems an About-Face by Developer

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, May 16, 2008, at 05:53PM
IMGP6892.JPG Ed Fuentes

Exterior view of the ImaginAsian Center, on Main street.

Earlier this week Curbed noticed that the ImaginAsian Center was listed on Loopnet, a real estate sales site. The theatre, which opened in late 2007, is listed for $5.7 million.

Cinema Properties Group developed the site, bringing ImaginAsian in to operate. In statements to Curbed and later the Downtown News, broker Sandy Bleifer said that a turn-around sale was always the plan. That stands in contrast to a statement Cinema Properties Group made to the L.A. Business Journal in 2006.

This week, Bleifer told the Downtown News that

"That's [Cinema Property Group's] modus operandi," said Bleifer. "They develop properties in partnerships and then sell the real estate when it's finished."

In 2006, though, the company was painting a different picture of its intent. A March 6th article in the L.A. Business Journal talked of what sounded like long-term plans. It made sure to point out that its agreement with ImaginAsian was a joint venture, not a simple lease.

"It's not a conventional arrangement, it's a little bit different than a lease," [co-owner Sue Ann] Kirst said. "We want to be included in the business that they do. We want to be involved owners. We're not in it just to flip it--we want to make it something very nice and a successful business."

Listing for sale at six months seems far closer to a flip than it does to having built a successful business. One also has to wonder what provisions the then-touted joint venture agreement has for a change in ownership.


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