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COMMUNITY NEWS: SOUTHWEST

LADERA HEIGHTS : Luxury Home Sales Better Than Expected

January 02, 1994|ERIN J. AUBRY

Ladera Heights Estates, one of the central city's few luxury housing tracts, is weathering tough economic times and selling homes at a brisker pace than developers had expected.

Forty of the 67 houses built thus far in the 37-acre tract have sold after being on the market since last fall, said Randall Lewis, Lewis Homes' executive vice president of marketing. The hillside homes, priced between $400,000 and $658,000, are north of Slauson Avenue, off Shenandoah Avenue in Upper Ladera.

"We tried to build homes that were affordable but had enough pizazz to make them unique," said Lewis.

Ladera Heights Estates is an "in-fill," Lewis said, a development in an older part of city rather than an outlying suburb. Although Lewis Homes, one of California's top four home builders, has built in Hawthorne, Carson and other cities over the last 10 years, this tract is the company's first in central Los Angeles.

Lewis said Ladera was chosen as a site for several reasons: good schools, a strong sense of community, aesthetically pleasing neighborhoods and proximity to Downtown, Los Angeles International Airport and the beaches. Lewis built four- and five-bedroom Colonial- and Mediterranean-style homes that fit in with the sprawling ranch-style houses found in Ladera Heights. The remaining 43 homes in the 110-home tract are to be completed next year.

Craig Sasser, who lives close to the development on Garth Avenue, said that despite construction annoyances, he is pleased with the project.

"People had some concerns about the increased congestion and traffic around here," said Sasser, 41, a youth agency director in South Los Angeles. "But it's good for everyone's property values. What's here now is a lot better than the empty fields and oil derricks that were there before."

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