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Casden to Build 624-Unit Apartment Complex

Housing: $90-million project near Playa Vista will rank among largest such developments in the area in a decade.


Apartment developer Casden Properties Inc. said Monday that it will begin construction on a 624-unit apartment complex near Westchester that will rank as one of the largest such projects built in Los Angeles in the last decade.

The Beverly Hills-based company said the $90-million project will capitalize on the intense demand for new housing in the area and on the development of the nearby Howard Hughes Center and Playa Vista.

"This location is rapidly emerging as one of Los Angeles' most desirable places to live and work," said Alan I. Casden, chairman and chief executive of the real estate investment trust.

The complex--which will be named the St. Tropez Apartments--will be built on the site of the former Centinela Drive-In near the San Diego Freeway.

Along with one- and two-bedroom apartments, the nearly 11-acre site will also have a pool, fitness center and clubhouse. The first building should be completed by next February.

The St. Tropez will stand a short drive from the sprawling Playa Vista project, where DreamWorks will build a studio and headquarters complex.

A 10-story office building and a shopping center and entertainment complex will soon rise at the nearby Howard Hughes Center.

Casden is one of several apartment builders that have unveiled or begun construction on major projects in that area. In addition, the owners of Playa Vista plan to build thousands of apartments, condominiums and luxury townhomes as part of their development.

The sharp rise in rents in western Los Angeles County have finally made it profitable for new construction to take place, said Earle Hyman, an apartment investment specialist at Marcus & Millichap, a real estate services firm.

"There will be a rash of development going up in that area," Hyman said.

The St. Tropez is among the largest complexes currently underway in Los Angeles County. In downtown Los Angeles, G.H. Palmer Associates is preparing to build a 636-unit complex just west of the Harbor Freeway.

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