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Apartments aimed at creative tenants going up in West Hollywood

Two luxury apartment buildings under construction in West Hollywood at a cost of more than $150 million are aimed at creative tenants making a living on the go.

March 20, 2013|By Roger Vincent, Los Angeles Times
  • The six-story Huxley luxury apartment complex is rising in West Hollywood at the southeast corner of Fountain Avenue and La Brea Avenue where a Jons grocery store used to be.
The six-story Huxley luxury apartment complex is rising in West Hollywood… (Anne Cusack, Los Angeles…)

Two luxury apartment buildings are under construction in West Hollywood aimed at mobile, creative tenants who make a living on the go, often tapping on their laptops in coffee bars and other hangouts.

The goal of developers Essex Property Trust and the Monarch Group is to rethink apartments for people who don't work 9-to-5 in a traditional office — a generally younger demographic found in abundance in West Hollywood.

Named the Huxley and the Dylan, they are being built on two busy intersections on La Brea Avenue at a cost of more than $150 million. They replace a fast-food restaurant and a grocery store, adding to growing density on the east end of the city.

In an appeal to the young and socially networked, the apartment complexes are designed to encourage interaction among residents and support activity "programming" such as classes in bartending and flower arranging.

"It's about providing a sense of community and the belief that if you do that correctly, the people it appeals to will find you," said Mike Leipart of Beverly Hills real estate marketing firm the Agency. "Hotels have been doing this for years."

"You can walk into any Starbucks and you see a lot of people working," Leipart said. "It's still a relatively new trend in how we behave. This is going to be a reflection of that."

Residents may multi-task in courtyards, rooftop pool decks or clubhouses at the Huxley and the Dylan. The six-story complexes designed by Newman Garrison + Partners will house shops and restaurants at ground level when they are completed next spring.

The Huxley is rising at the southeast corner of Fountain Avenue and La Brea where a Jons grocery store used to be. The Dylan site, at the northwest corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and La Brea, last held a Carl's Jr. and is across the street from the West Hollywood Gateway shopping center, built in 2004.

The new apartments are named after writers Aldous Huxley and Dylan Thomas, Leipart said, though some people mistakenly think the Dylan is named for musician Bob Dylan and he is loath to correct them.

Dylan, he said, "is just a fun name."

Downtown L.A. apartment building sold

A humble century-old apartment building in the shadow of the Ritz-Carlton hotel has sold for more than $3 million as the neighborhood around Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles proves to be a magnet for investors.

Los Angeles real estate investment firm TRG plans to turn the three-story brick building at 916 Georgia St. into small apartments it calls "micro lofts."

The small units are intended to house people who work in downtown's burgeoning bar and restaurant scene but can't afford much of the housing in the neighborhood, TRG Principal Rubin Robin said. He decided on that strategy after chatting up numerous waiters, bartenders and other hospitality workers.

"They want to be close to work but can't afford high-rise prices," he said. Monthly rents at the Georgia Street building will probably be $1,200 to $1,700 when the makeover is complete early next year, he said.

TRG said it will spend $1 million on improvements including a gym, a spa, a screening room and a roof deck. The building's 600-square-foot units will be reduced to 29 from 32.

The apartment building, completed in 1912 when downtown's South Park was primarily a residential neighborhood, is just north of the $2.5-billion L.A. Live entertainment complex and two high-rise hotel developments underway on Olympic Boulevard.

A similar 100-year-old three-story apartment building a few blocks away, at 1130 S. Hope St., sold for more than $2 million in 2011 to developers who plan to turn it into a $31-million boutique hotel.

The acquisition is the first in TRG's plan to invest up to $50 million in downtown housing over the next 18 months. The company has lost tenants from its Westside apartment buildings because they moved downtown, Robin said.

"People want that more urban feel," he said. "You don't have that anywhere else in the city."

Furniture firm buys Inland Empire warehouse

Furniture importer and distributor Coaster Co. of America paid $29.6 million for a new warehouse and distribution center in Fontana as the Inland Empire keeps attracting industrial businesses.

Coaster bought the 420,000-square-foot building in the Southwest Industrial Park from developer Overton Moore Properties of Gardena. The building is one of three recently completed in Fontana and Moreno Valley by the developer.

"Low-cost financing is attracting users to buy versus lease throughout Southern California," Chief Executive Timur Tecimer said.

The Inland Empire is one of the most active industrial real estate markets in the country, he said. Warehouses and other industrial properties totaling more than 8 million square feet were completed in the region last year.

roger.vincent@latimes.com

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