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264-Unit L.A. Complex Planned

Real Estate: Proposed $58-million apartment project is aimed at young professionals.

October 01, 2002|ROGER VINCENT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Plans for a $58-million apartment complex near Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles were announced Monday by developer Forest City Residential West Inc.

The 264-unit project, to be called Metropolitan Lofts, will be built on the northeast corner of 11th and Flower streets. Construction of the eight-story building, whose one- and two-bedroom units are aimed at young professionals, is scheduled to begin in the spring.

"There are 3,000 housing units under development downtown, but this is the first loft building being built from the ground up," said Scott Johnson, a principal at Johnson Fain Partners, a Los Angeles architecture firm known for such high-profile commercial projects as Fox Plaza in Century City and Rincon Center in San Francisco. "We're reinventing the model."

Plans will be submitted to the city Department of Building and Safety in December, a Forest City spokesman said. Financing will include a $53-million tax-exempt bond from the California Debt Limit Allocation Committee, a state program that offers low-interest loans to developers of multifamily rental housing that includes "affordable" units.

Twenty percent of the Metropolitan Lofts units will be offered to people whose incomes are less than half the state median. The least expensive units will be offered at a third of the cost of market-rate units, which will rent for $1,700 to $2,300 per month.

The loft-style apartments will range in size from 690 square feet to about 2,000 square feet. There also will be 11,000 square feet for stores and restaurants or "live-work" units at street level, designed for tenants who operate businesses out of their homes.

Forest City executives have said that they want to build market-rate and affordable housing in the South Park neighborhood bounded by Olympic and Pico boulevards and Flower and Hill streets. It is part of an 879-acre redevelopment zone created by the City Council in May.

The special district was set up to allow the Community Redevelopment Agency to funnel property tax funds back into the area, to condemn and acquire land and to relocate displaced residents and businesses. The agency wants to create as many as 12,900 homes, a quarter of which would be subsidized, over the next 30 to 45 years.

The developer, a unit of Forest City Enterprises Inc. of Cleveland, also plans to build housing next year in the 76-year-old Subway Terminal Building, an empty 12-story structure on Hill Street north of Pershing Square.

In addition to downtown Los Angeles projects, Forest City has been pursuing a number of developments in other cities. The company was chosen to transform Denver's former Stapleton International Airport into a 4,700-acre mixed-use urban community.

Forest City Enterprises closed off 1 cent at $32.50 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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