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3 Downtown Apartment Towers Planned : Promenade's Rental Success Spurs New Development

February 02, 1986

First the Promenade. Then the Promenade West Condominiums. Then Promenade Towers.

And now . . . the Grande Promenade, a $200-million, 972-unit apartment community planned one block from the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles.

When completed in the early 1990s, the Grande Promenade will be "the largest privately developed apartment complex in the history of the area," its developers--Goldrich & Kest Industries and Shapell Industries--say.

'Mixed-Use Concepts'

The Promenade Towers, developed by the same team, provide what the developers describe as "the first market-rate apartments downtown in 17 years." The Promenade and Promenade West Condominiums, also developed by Goldrich & Kest and Shapell, provided some of the first condominiums downtown.

The Grande Promenade will carry through an approach that Goldrich & Kest and Shapell champion in urban residential development: "mixed-use concepts that create self-contained environments integrating housing, office and retail facilities."

Phase 1 of the three-tower complex will be a $55-million, 30-story mixed-use apartment tower featuring 25 stories of apartments, 30,915 square feet of office space, 10,055 square feet of retail space and a garage that will accommodate 595 cars.

Construction is expected to start in July on the 372 rental units in Phase 1, which is scheduled for completion in late 1988. The monthly rental range is targeted at $700 to $1,200, "in 1985 dollars," Jona Goldrich, chief executive officer of Goldrich & Kest, said.

Phase 2 will be a second 30-story residential tower with 300 apartments and limited office, retail and enclosed parking space, and Phase 3 will be a third tower, the same size. Phase 3 construction will also allow for an easement of at least 30 feet along the north side of the parcel for the extension of 2nd Street.

The first building, consisting of 682,840 square feet, will be bordered by Hope and 3rd streets and Grand Avenue (Parcel M-1 in the Bunker Hills Redevelopment Area).

Work on the development is beginning two years ahead of schedule as a result of the rental success at Promenade Towers at 2nd and Figueroa streets. Construction on the Promenade Towers won't be completed until April, but it already has an 80% occupancy for its first phase.

"The rental success of Promenade Towers convinced us that the time to begin Grande Promenade is now," Goldrich said. "We are seeing a neighborhood environment beginning to emerge on Bunker Hill with people who want to live there and walk to work--a real phenomenon for Los Angeles."

James M. Wood, chairman of the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, said, "Our aim is to provide a balance of housing in downtown Los Angeles where we continue to have a need for rental units.

Demand for Rentals

"This development will further enhance a vital downtown, where people have the real choice of living and working in the same area. That built-in population will help promote the use of retail and entertainment facilities in downtown Los Angeles."

Nearly 85% of the apartments in the first tower will be studio and one-bedroom units, designed to appeal to the growing demand for rental housing from the large number of single professionals working downtown.

"The Grande Promenade will evoke a special atmosphere for Los Angeles that would be hard to duplicate in most cities in the world," Goldrich said. "It will not only be an urban life style with hotel-style amenities in a self-contained environment, but it will also be surrounded by the cream of cultural activities matching any in the world, such as the Music Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art, which will open in December across the street."

Cultural Activities

James Ring, director of planning for Goldrich & Kest, said, "Because of the Grande Promenade's unique positioning in the midst of Los Angeles cultural and artistic activities, we intend to develop a unique approach utilizing fine arts in the final design of the buildings to provide an unusual, new dimension in architectural sensitivity." Specifics will be announced later.

Funding for the first phase was secured through the sale of Community Redevelopment Agency tax-exempt, variable rate multifamily housing revenue bonds last Dec. 31. California Federal is guarantor of the bonds, underwritten by Paine Webber Inc. and Daniels & Bell.

Designed in a modified T-shape by Kamnitzer & Cotton in a joint venture with Abraham Shapiro & Associates, the angular towers will taper in width from about 130 feet along Grand Avenue to about 50 feet along Hope Street, which will be terraced and landscaped above the retail and restaurant level.

There will be plenty of open spaces, pools and meandering walkways, according to the architects. As Peter Kamnitzer, principal of Kamnitzer & Cotton, explained it: "Our design is dominated by a concern for diverse street-level activities, a vital relationship to the emerging California Plaza project, specifically to the Museum of Contemporary Art, and optimum westward-facing views for apartment dwellers."

Goldrich & Kest and Shapell are limited partners in the $1.2-billion California Plaza, mixed-use development, under construction on Bunker Hill. The general partners are Metropolitan Structures, the managing partner, and Cadillac Fairview/California.

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