LOS ANGELES — Preliminary negotiations are under way to sell the California Market Center, the major apparel and gift showroom space in the downtown Los Angeles fashion district.

The market center’s neighbor, the Gerry Building, another key wholesale venue, is for sale for $18.5 million, said Larry Hudson, director of asset management at MJW Investments Inc., which owns the building.

David Lee, the proprietor of Jamison Properties, which manages and leases more than 60 commercial structures, is seeking to purchase the three-building, 1.9 million-square-foot market center, which is owned by the Hertz Investment Group of Santa Monica, Calif., and London-based DMG World Media.

“We’re not done negotiating,” Lee, a medical doctor, said in an interview. “I didn’t buy it yet.”

The Real Estate Alert weekly trade bulletin reported last week, without citing sources, that Jamison had reached an agreement to pay about $135 million for the property.

The market center’s general manager, Paul Lentz, said, “There have been offers in the past and any owner has to examine those offers to see if they have validity….If someone stacks enough money in front of an owner, they will sell anything.”

Hertz Investment Group owner Judah Hertz was out of the country and unavailable for comment. The company moved its headquarters from the market center to Santa Monica on Wednesday.

The market center complex is about 60 percent leased, around the same occupancy it has had since Hertz purchased it for $90 million in 2000. Hertz later brought in DMG.

Meanwhile, the Gerry Building, an Art Deco-style structure, has received purchase offers, said broker Mark Tarczynski. It has been touted as an opportunity for a condo conversion. Gerry Building owner Mark Weinstein bought the property in 1998 as part of a 10-building portfolio. The nine-story structure has attracted tenants such as Blue Marlin, Levi’s Premium and most recently, It Jeans.

This story first appeared in the October 19, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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