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New Apartments for Beverly Hills

California

Construction will begin in May. The $40-million project will include offices and luxury townhouses.

February 28, 2003|Roger Vincent | Times Staff Writer

Beverly Hills is about to see the construction of its first new apartments in at least 15 years.

A $40-million complex of luxury townhouses, apartments and offices will be built at the northwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Crescent Drive by developer J.H. Snyder Co. of Los Angeles.

Construction of the 88 residential units is set to begin in May. They should be ready for occupancy by the fall of 2004.

The project is part of a wave of apartment developments in Los Angeles County, said economist Jack Kyser of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. He said permits for 11,100 units were granted last year, the highest number since 1990.

At least two other developers, including Casden Properties, the region's largest apartment builder, also are planning to build residential units in Beverly Hills.

Snyder's complex will include a 40,000-square-foot office building with a Wilshire address. The residential component will feature 12 two-story townhouses with a brownstone appearance and frontyard gardens facing other residences on Crescent. Set behind them will be 76 apartments built around landscaped courtyards and the central motor court entrance.

Santa Monica architect Van Tilburg, Banvard & Soderbergh included fireplaces, granite counter tops and hardwood floors in the one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Snyder has yet to set the rents. However, the 1,381 units in the luxury Palazzo complex being completed by Casden Properties in the nearby Fairfax district of Los Angeles are leasing for $2,000 to $5,000 a month.

Lexington Commercial Holdings, a real estate investment firm based in Beverly Hills, is Snyder's partner in the development on Crescent.

The site is now occupied by a parking lot and a two-story commercial building, which will be razed, said Mahdi Aluzri, the city's planning director. High land costs have dissuaded developers from trying to build apartments in Beverly Hills for perhaps as long as two decades, he said, but low interest rates and high demand have made development feasible again.

Beverly Hills also has approved the conversion of an 11-story office tower at Wilshire and Stanley Drive to 37 apartment units by local developer Raffi Cohen.

But that project faces opposition from a group of nearby homeowners represented by Los Angeles attorney Robert Silverstein, who filed a lawsuit against the city Wednesday that seeks to get approval overturned.

Separately, Casden Properties is planning a mixed-use development on Wilshire between two department stores, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York.

If approved, Casden's two projects would include 15,000 square feet of retail space and 24 residential units facing Wilshire and 36 or 40 residences behind Barneys between Camden and Peck drives.

Company President Alan Casden declined to specify whether the units would be apartments or condominiums, but he did say the complex, also designed by Van Tilburg, would be even more luxurious than Snyder's.

The site near Rodeo Drive "is the premier location in the city," Casden said. He intends to file applications for construction permits shortly and estimates that construction will take about 15 months.

Saks is a participant in the proposed development, Casden said, which is named the Residences at Saks Fifth Avenue Beverly Hills.

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