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June 18, 2024
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KB Homes Buys former Starlite Drive-In in El Monte for $24 Mil


A 13.5-acre parcel of commercial land in the San Gabriel Valley city of El Monte sold for $24 mil. The buyer, Los Angeles-based KB Homes, a Fortune 500 national home builder, will use the property to construct up to 200 new homes in a new housing development.

The property, located at 2540 Rosemead Blvd, was formerly the home of the Starlite Drive-In movie theater built in the 1950ís. Following the demise of the drive-in theater business 30 years ago, the site was sold to Taiwanese-based business Starlite Swap Meet Group and the site became known throughout Los Angeles for the Starlite Swap Meet.

The weekend-only swap meet, a mainstay of the El Monte community since the 1990s, was closed in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic and never reopened. With its closure the current owners decided they were ready to sell the property.

The property had been zoned commercial but, due to significant housing shortages in the San Gabriel Valley, El Monte city officials were encouraged to change the zoning from commercial to residential. The entitlement process took nearly two years to complete.

Nick Peukpiboon and Rudy Lara, SIOR, with DAUM Commercial Real Estate Services represented both the buyer and the seller in the transaction.

Housing comes at a significant premium across all the San Gabriel Valley. According to, the median listing price for a home in El Monte is nearly $700k. In January 2022, the Real Deal first reported the plans for KB Homes to develop the historic property. At the time, it was reported that the developer would retain the drive-inís iconic 72-year-old Streamline Moderne/Googie marquee.

El Monte is located about 15 miles from downtown Los Angeles and operates as a commercial and residential hub in the San Gabriel Valley at the intersection of the 605 and 10 Freeways. El Monte is the ninth largest city in Los Angeles County with a population of approximately 120,000. The city is a culturally diverse and dynamic community with substantial commercial interests including major distribution centers, banking operations, and large retailers like Home Depot and Samís Club.

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