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Urban Partners Plans USC Complex

The $135-million apartment and retail project is slated to be completed by fall 2008.

July 26, 2005|Roger Vincent | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles developer Urban Partners announced plans Monday for an eight-story, $135-million student apartment and retail project to be called University Gateway across the street from the University of Southern California.

Construction on the 421-unit complex at the northwest corner of Figueroa Street and Jefferson Boulevard is scheduled to start next year and be completed by fall 2008. USC will lease 70,000 square feet on the ground floor for a student bookstore and fitness center, the developer said; other retail tenants will include a restaurant.

The building was designed by Pasadena architectural firm Togawa & Smith Inc. to house 1,656 students in two-bedroom, two-bath units. Monthly rent for the units, which can accommodate four students, is expected to be more than $2,800 per unit.

Auto dealerships occupying most of the 4-acre site will move to a new facility at the southwest corner of Figueroa and Washington Boulevard, said Paul Keller of Urban Partners. A theatrical set storage facility owned by USC also will be moved.

New York investor Blackstone Group will finance the project. Privately built student housing is a rapidly growing target for institutional real estate capital, said Frank Cohen, managing director of Blackstone.

Earlier this month, Blackstone also agreed to buy Lego Group's four family entertainment parks, including one in Carlsbad in San Diego County.

Development on South Figueroa is a crucial element of downtown's ongoing real estate revival, said Carol Schatz, head of the Central City Assn. "Figueroa ties the largest private employer in the city to the central core, and it is now L.A.'s sports and entertainment corridor."

University Gateway will be across the street from Galen Center, a 10,258-seat basketball arena and a separate athletic pavilion at USC expected to be completed in fall 2006.

Other projects by Urban Partners include the $171-million Caltrans office building completed last year in downtown Los Angeles and the $120-million Del Mar Station residential complex under construction at a Gold Line rail station in Pasadena.

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