Mega-developer Michael Rosenfeld has put Amazon’s new downtown digs — where highly paid brainiacs figure out how Alexa can better serve users — on the market for $38.4 million after having paid $18 million for the former suite of Saks Fifth Avenue at State and Carrillo streets.
Rosenfeld reportedly put $9 million into the property in improvements, and Amazon put in another $11 million, making it, for all practical purposes, a brand-new building. Listing agent Austin Herlihy stated there have been a couple of legitimate offers on the property thus far, and last Friday alone 56 nondisclosure agreements reportedly were signed by interested parties and their agents.
Amazon, which began leasing the 47,000-square-foot building in 2018, currently employs 75 workers at the Santa Barbara location, according to an Amazon rep last month. However, the company plans to add another 150-200 in the coming years. The sale should not affect Amazon’s lease.
By Santa Barbara standards, Rosenfeld qualifies as the real estate equivalent of deus ex machina combined with the Wizard of Oz, unflappably congenial when present but more often preoccupied with the bigger fish he’s currently frying elsewhere. In Rosenfeld’s case, that means a $2.5 billion wholesale reimagination of the iconic Century Plaza in Los Angeles, boasting new luxury homes ranging from $2 million to $50 million a pop. That project is approaching the final hump, meaning Rosenfeld’s attentions and financial resources are definitely somewhere else.
A new, 250-room hotel Rosenfeld has on the drawing boards for the city’s waterfront — along Garden Street — has been put on the back burner on slow simmer. All this has given rise to unconfirmed rumors that Rosenfeld might be trying to sell off the Hotel Californian at the base of State Street. His real estate agent Herlihy dismissed these rumors out of hand as “false.”