Market owner reorganizes, adds two produce facilities

07/16/2012 01:57:00 PM
Tom Burfield

LOS ANGELES — Meruelo Maddux Properties Inc., a major Los Angeles real estate holder and owner of the Seventh Street Market, has emerged from bankruptcy, with its holdings awarded to a new entity called EVOQ Properties Inc.

“Today’s unveiling of the EVOQ name, which reflects our new team culture and potential for growth at this innovative company, marks a significant milestone,” Martin Caverly, EVOQ’s chief executive officer, said in a March news release.

“With fresh capital and new senior management, the EVOQ Properties platform is well-positioned to adapt to this continued growth and the needs of our clients.”

EVOQ (pronounced “evoke”) is one of the largest non-government property owners in downtown Los Angeles, with holdings in industrial, office, retail, residential and mixed-use real estate, the release said.

The company owns more than 35 properties, with about 3.5 million square feet of real estate.

Besides the Seventh Street Market, those holdings include a wholesale produce market called 2640 E. Washington and a new facility that opened June 7 called the Eighth Street Produce Facility, said Bob Iannessa, general manager of all three facilities.

The newest facility has 32 doors and was about half leased as of mid-June, he said.

At the 94-year-old Seventh Street Market, all the usable space was leased, but Iannessa said several doors must be brought up to code before they can be leased.

“We’re looking at rehabbing a number of these units within the next couple of months,” he said.

“I have tenants waiting for the doors to become available.”

The Eighth Street facility was only 6 years old “when it had a total roof collapse,” Iannessa said.

“Structurally, the building became unsafe,” he said, and tenants were relocated.

The location has been undergoing reconstruction for the past two years.

“It is a completely brand new facility,” he said, with an upgraded fire light safety system, new coolers, a new electrical system and new plumbing.

“You name it, everything’s new,” he said.

Iannessa hopes to reach 100% occupancy over the next few months.

The Eighth Street facility is similar to the Washington Boulevard facility — it’s primarily wholesale, but, because of its location, it lends itself to retail sales nicely, he said.

“The tenants over there dabble in both worlds,” Iannessa said.

It’s also open daily.

“It’s the only market I have that operates seven days a week.”



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