By Bob Howard, Globe St.
LOS ANGELES – Developers are either under way or have unveiled plans for 900 multifamily units that range from a 151-unit conversion of a hotel to brand-new luxury apartments and eight affordable housing complexes by one developer — among them a 21-unit ground-up condominium development. The projects are an indication that, while construction remains stalled in some sectors because of the recession, notably the office market, multifamily has managed to maintain some building momentum.
The largest single project in terms of number of units is the conversion of the 85-year-old Ford Hotel at 1000 E. Seventh St. in Downtown Los Angeles into a 151-unit residence for low income single residents. Construction is under way on the $12 million conversion of the sixstory building, which is being developed by the non-profit SRO Housing Corp. of Los Angeles and designed by Santa Monica-based Killefer Flammang Architects. The conversion is a LEED-equivalent project, according to Bob Timmerman, KFA principal and project manager. Funding for the $12 million project will be provided by the Community Redevelopment Agency, Mental Health Services Act, Affordable Housing Program and tax credits.
One of the most unusual of the developments is a 21-unit condominium project by Westwood based developer California Landmark on a former utility company parking lot on Prosser Avenue, just south of Santa Monica Boulevard and west of Beverly Glen, adjacent to the developer’s corporate headquarters. California Landmark president and CEO Ken Kahan describes it as “one of our smallest projects in the last fifteen years,” but adds, “We’re nonetheless very happy to get a shovel in the ground.” Kahan says California Landmark plans two additional new projects in Los Angeles early next year.
In the case of its new project, “The fundamentals are strong,” Kahan says. “Construction costs are down. The location is great. We have a wonderful design. And subcontractors with whom we have longstanding relationships are hungry to get back to work and are putting their A Team on the project.” Wells Fargo Bank originated the construction loan, one of its first for a multifamily condominium development since the meltdown in capital markets in 2008.
The largest number of units announced by one developer is the 486 affordable apartments that Agoura Hills-based Amcal Multi-Housing Inc. has under way or in planned for eight separate projects in Los Angeles, Orange, Fresno and Kern counties. Federal, state and local agencies, as well as the American Recovery Reinvestment Act, will contribute to funding over $112.4 million in development costs for the construction of the eight complexes.
The eight projects include the 75-unit Andalucia and the 56-unit Mosaic in Los Angeles, the 98-unit Montecito seniors complex in Panorama City, the 34-unit Mirandela seniors complex in Rancho Palos Verdes, the 36-unit Royale family complex in Westminster, the 56-unit Santa Fe complex in Bakersfield, the 81-unit Cordova family complex in Selma and the 50-unit Summer Hill family complex in Fresno.
The Mosaic is Amcal’s newest mixed-use work force housing development and is under way in the Pico-Union neighborhood west of downtown Los Angeles. The project, which replaces an abandoned commercial building, will feature two street-level retail spaces along Pico Boulevard in addition to its 56 affordable units. Designed by Killefer Flammang, the new complex is scheduled to open in 2011 and will be a part of Pico-Union’s revitalization, according to Amcal CEO Percy Vaz.
Another Los Angeles complex now under way is the 70-unit Villas at Gower at 1726 N. Gower St. in Hollywood, a $30.5 million project set aside for the formerly homeless and low-income families. It is being built on land owned by the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles and leased to developers. The project, designed by Killefer Flammang, will include extensive social services for access to health and dental care, mental health care, after school tutoring, job training and more.
Yet another Los Angeles project under way is the $29.6-million Seventh and Coronado Apartments at 2614 W. Seventh St., an affordable housing development partially funded by the CRA. It is being developed by the Los Angeles Housing Partnership, along with CRA/LA, the City Council and the Community Foundation Land Trust, which gave a 99-year ground lease for the project. Located near the Westlake MacArthur Park Metro Red Line station, the project is designed to meet LEED Silver certification requirements. The project is 100% smoke-free and is near another smoke-free development that is already completed, the 57-unit Seven Maples seniors complex.
In Encino, Jan Development plans a first-quarter 2011 opening of a 125-unit mixed-use apartment and retail project called Legado Encino, according to NAI Capital brokers J. Richard Leyner, Douglas Cole, Emily Jori and Michael Sharon, who have the retail listing for the 17,000 square feet of retail at the project at 16710 Ventura Blvd. The four-story complex will feature retail space from 1,200 square feet and up, with a space of 5,000 to 7,000 square feet for a restaurant.