Friday, September 10, 2010

Concerto-Watch: Downtown Los Angeles' Condo Mega-Project Surmounts More Obstacles Than an Olympic 440-Runner

Much ink (and digital ink) has been spilled on the illustrious Concerto project in Downtown Los Angeles, chronicling the twists, turns, and pirouettes as this magnificent, mega-condo development in the South Park neighborhood comes to market.

Here's the Reader's Digest version for those considering buying units in the building.

The project is the "baby" of developer Sonny Astani, who conceived of a three-building complex at 9th and Figueroa in Downtown Los Angeles.  In 2004, this was a maverick move, supported by the wave of condo fever sweeping Downtown LA.

Cut to 2009.  The 77-unit Lofts building was 90% complete.  The first of two Towers was erected, with most interior construction still remaining.  The third Tower was a hole in the ground excavated a few stories deep.

Then Corus, Concerto's construction lender, that also had risky condo project investments across the country, was taken over by the FDICStarwood Capital Group, an investment firm, won an auction to take over Corus' assets (with the FDIC retaining 60% ownership) -- including the $190 million Concerto construction loan.

When Corus failed, Astani filed for bankruptcy, and a judge ruled that Astani could close the Lofts units, which had been sold at a "One Day Sale Event" in August 2009.  The Lofts building is now  occupied ... signs of life (and not strife) at Flower and 9th.

Now, Astani is in a stalemate with Starwood, and is paying $750,000 interest per month as construction inches to a close in the TowerAstani has until December to present the Court with a financial plan, and until then, it's impossible to see how contracts can close.

The units, with amazing views and vistas, are priced from  $356,000 for a 759 sq ft 6th floor unit, or $405,000 for a 909 sq ft 5th floor unit, to $525,000 for a 1158 sq ft 5th floor corner unit. 

We see no reason why the building should not be completed, sold and occupied todayLos Angeles could certainly use the 600 union construction jobs, and EVO down the road demonstrates a proven demand for large scale, high-quality, new construction in South Park.

These excellent units will find delighted buyers once the financial kinks of this project are worked out.

Los Angeles Times article:

Some of our previous coverage on Concerto:

Concerto and EVO South in Downtown Los Angeles - Say Hello Again to Two Favorite Condo Towers in South Park - July 12, 2010
In Downtown Los Angeles, Concerto's Future Hangs in the Balance - September 24, 2009
5 Reasons We Love Concerto in Downtown Los Angeles - July 22, 2009
Concerto: Pitch-Perfect Debut at 9th & Figueroa in Downtown LA - June 8, 2009
Concerto: Headwinds Greet Downtown LA Condo Project - April 23, 2009