Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Downtown Los Angeles: Residential Development in the Pipeline

There are big plans for Downtown LA. From the Hills of Bunker to the Industrial Heights of the Toy District to the Parking Lots-Turned-High Rises in South Park, developers are sculpting the future of the urban core block by mega-block.

Some projects are ambitious, like the $1 billion two-tower development replacing the Wilshire Grand Hotel, and Park Fifth, the highest residential tower west of Chicago to be built at Olive and Fifth.

But many projects have been delayed, deferred or derailed because of the recession, the lack of funding and the lack of perceived need. The building boom is being scaled back.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Let the businesses return to the office towers; let the residents buy up the lofts and occupy the rentals; let energy prices resume their climb so the people return to the city center. Downtown will retrench, catch its breath and absorb what’s been erected.

Dozens of residential projects are being entitled, built, completed and sold. Courtesy of the excellent reporting in the Los Angeles Downtown News, below is a summary of residential developments in Downtown Los Angeles. Grid numbers refer to a Downtown Los Angeles map, also courtesy of Los Angeles Downtown News.

655 HOPE

The 17-story adaptive reuse condominium project has pushed back its opening date from late April to July 1. Construction is mostly complete. The Financial District project will offer 11 levels of residential space, with 80 lofts from 600-1,268 square feet. Prices have been lowered to $349,000-$920,000. The structure also has three floors of indoor parking, a gym and a roof deck with a wet bar. At B7


Groundbreaking for the conversion of a four-story office building in Chinatown into condominiums has been pushed back to early 2010. The $22 million project would transform the BC Plaza building into a 53-unit complex. Condos are expected to sell for $300,000-$600,000. C3

808 S. OLIVE ST.

There has been no movement on a proposed mixed-use, residential/hotel project. The property currently holds a 900-space parking lot and will remain as such until the economy improves. C7

1133 S. HOPE ST.

There is not a solid timeline on the project. Plans call for a 29-story, 159-unit building to rise on a current South Park parking lot across from the South Group’s Elleven high rise. The development, which would take two years to build, would include 250 parking spaces, 6,700 square feet of retail and an outdoor pool. B9


Construction on the $30 million adaptive reuse project in the Arts District has been pushed back at least a month, to June or later, due to the economy. Plans call for the conversion of the five-story, 1923 structure that was once home to the Bekins storage company into 53 artist-in-residence lofts. Units would range from 650-2,400 square feet. E5


An adaptive reuse project at 695 S. Santa Fe Ave. is still on hold. The developers have not disclosed any budget or timeline information for the Arts District project.


The third building in this $75 million Arts District complex opened this month at 530 S. Hewitt St., bringing 116 condominiums onto the market. Lofts range from 750-2,400 square feet and prices start in the high $200,000s. There is no timeline for two additional residential buildings at 549 Molino St., which will house 55 units. F6


Conversion of the former Spreckels Brothers sugar beet warehouse at 940 E. Second St. into a 58,000-square-foot residential complex is expected to be completed in July. Prices have not yet been set for the 38 market-rate, three-story, loft-style townhouses, ranging from 1,300-2,600 square feet. All units contain two-and-a-half bathrooms, two bedrooms and roof decks. F5


Investors are still searching for financing for a proposed 800,000-square-foot residential and hotel project in South Park at Grand Avenue and Olympic. Plans call for a 60-story structure, the City House, and the 49-floor Olympic that would cost about $450 million. Once expected to break ground in early 2008, the project currently has no timeline. C8


As construction continues, the developer has begun sales for the 348 condominiums in two buildings. The first phase of the project includes a mid-rise “loft” structure at Ninth and Flower streets with occupancy slated for June, and a 30-story tower at Figueroa and Ninth streets. Prices are from $295,000 to $3.5 million. There remains no timeline for the second phase, expected to bring another 281 market-rate condominiums in a second 30-story tower. At B8


Plans exist for a 14-story residential tower, a two-story commercial building and a 53-story residential tower at Eighth Street and Grand Avenue.. A pedestrian paseo would connect Grand Avenue and Olive Street. The project has no timeline. At C7


Renovation of a former hotel at 416 S. Spring St. will be completed in the fourth quarter. The 1913, 12-story building is being transformed into 65 units that will range from 850-1,700 square feet. Prices will start in the $400,000s. Residences include Italian kitchens and bathroom cabinets. Parking lot immediately south of the project to the city is slated to become a public park. At D6


Move-ins could begin by June for this 33-unit project at 120-130 Hewitt St. in the Arts District. The project will offer residences in two buildings, one erected in 1936, the other in 1948; a central entrance will feature a water fountain powered by solar energy. Units will range from 800-2,500 square feet and will have 18-26 foot cathedral ceilings and stainless steel kitchens. At E5


A proposed 432,000-square-foot project at 1028 S. Hope St.remains on hold due to the economy. The South Park project is planned for a parcel near the company’s Packard Lofts. Designs call for a 25-story tower with 250 loft-style condominiums, two levels of underground parking with 390 spaces and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. At B8


There has been no progress on a proposed $1.3 billion project just north of Pershing Square. The fully entitled project would rise on a current parking lot at Olive and Fifth streets. The development would include a 76-story tower, which would be the tallest residential building west of Chicago, and a 44-story tower joined by a third, 15-story residential building. The project would create 790 condominiums and a 212-room hotel, plus retail and restaurant space. C6


Developer Barry Shy plans to begin construction on a 39-story, 700-unit condominium tower at 601 S. Main St. in 2010, he said. In the meantime, he plans to build a five-story parking structure on the site, which will eventually sit beside the residential building. Groundbreaking on the garage is expected in six months, said Shy, and construction will take approximately one year. D7


Groundbreaking on two 34-story condominium towers at 624 W.12th St. and 1200 S. Figueroa St. is expected to take place in early 2010. The development, by the team who built EVO, Elleven and Luma in South Park, will contain 324 condominiums with hardwood floors, decks and balconies. There are plans for a third tower at 1241 S. Flower St. At B9


Groundbreaking is pushed back from 2009 to 2011 for the 50-story Zen condominium tower slated for Third and Hill streets. If built, the skyscraper would be taller than any current residential building in Downtown. Designs call for a tower atop a 10-story parking podium with 302 lofts; 66 of them would be reserved for workforce housing. Construction would take four years. C5