Billionaire Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, has purchased the 7,100-square-foot building at 319-323 N. Rodeo Drive for $85 million. Arnault paid $11,971 a square foot in an all-cash deal, which, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal, is believed to be a record price on a square-foot basis in Los Angeles County.

The seller, Beverly Hills real estate firm New Pacific Realty Corp., had quietly reached out to Arnault in early November, according to LABJ, and sought the high price because its prime location in the center of Rodeo Drive. New Pacific had purchased the property four years ago for $34.5 million.

With luxury brands performing strong globally, and considerably outpacing the broader market, sales of high-end goods sold on Rodeo Drive are on the upswing. According to the Rodeo Drive Committee, sales on the street have soared to a total of more than $1 million a day, and 95% of  the storefronts are occupied.

Commenting on the increasing demand, and prices, for Beverly Hills and Los Angeles commercial space, The Agency’s Billy Rose said:

“Rodeo Drive, perhaps the most famous street in the world, is a globally-renowned brand. And, with the economic and political shift towards the Pacific Rim, we believe that Beverly Hills and Los Angeles will eclipse New York as the gateway to the Americas. Consequently, we expect that BH/LA pricing of properties will fall more in to line with NYC and the other major metropolitan cities of the world; right now we are considered inexpensive by comparison.”

According to LABJ, Arnault’s luxury goods behemoth LVMH, which owns more than 50 brands, already has five properties on Rodeo Drive, including Louis Vuitton, which currently occupies about 35,000 square feet at 295 N. Rodeo. LABJ reports that the storefront will nearly double its space when it expands into Bulgari’s former store next year at 201 N. Rodeo.

“When combined, the Louis Vuitton spaces will comprise the brand’s largest flagship store in North America, and it will include its first men’s store and expand the women’s accessories selection,” reports LABJ.

“It’s no wonder that Arnault desires to expand both his holdings and presence here,” noted Rose. “Indeed, we won’t be surprised if, in the not too distant future, LMVH’s acquisition look like a bargain and Arnault’s prescience is, once again, demonstrated.”

Full Story: Los Angeles Business Journal