Before redevelopment swept through Manhattan

Buyers are picking up or developing all types of commercial properties, including office buildings, hotels, warehouses, apartments and raw land suitable for development. Among them is the July purchase of a long-vacant 1920s office building by a hotel developer and a new high-rise luxury apartment tower about to open on Bunker Hill.

Downtown reminds New York investors of what their neighborhoods looked like before redevelopment swept through Manhattan and into the other boroughs, analysts and longtime developers say.

"Los Angeles has hit critical mass in downtown," said Greg Vilkin of New York real estate giant Related Cos. "Firms from New York show up and say, wow, I see the potential I saw in Hell's Kitchen a decade ago. I watched TriBeCa, and the High Line, and I see what's going to happen."

While investors from China and South Korea have been grabbing attention with high-profile purchases of real estate, big New York players have been on their own Southland spending spree.

One particularly notable deal is the $130-million purchase in August of the former May Co. department store on Broadway. It was the first L.A. purchase for New York investors Waterbridge Capital and Jack Jangana, who vowed to make over the enormous building in the style of high-end Chelsea Market in Manhattan.

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