Whether it's a long-term lease or a six-month corporate rental you're looking for, there's a whole new world of luxury apartment options available in Southern California today. Once considered primarily housing for the young and those in transition, apartment living is an increasingly popular choice with affluent empty-nesters, bi-coastal professionals, and even those wealthy enough to enjoy multiple residences around the world.

Nowhere is this trend more in evidence than Los Angeles' trendy Westside (specifically, Santa Monica), where luxury rental accommodations are enjoying huge popularity as primary residences and second home retreats. One good example of the exclusive addresses now available on the beach is 1221 Ocean Avenue, a 16-story oceanfront apartment community with 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean. The building offers 1,100 to 2,300 square-foot floorplans, custom-finished interiors, and country club-level amenities and services, and has captured the attention of a new generation of affluent renters.

Although monthly rental rates in the best parts of Santa Monica, including the 1221 Ocean Avenue property mentioned above, start at a heady $6,000 and rise to the $17,000's for penthouse suites, they remain steadfastly popular. More than 25% of 1221 Ocean Avenue's 120 apartment homes, for example, have been leased in its first three months on the market. Since furnished apartments can be arranged, many residents in upscale Santa Monica buildings find such locations to be the ideal solution for corporate guest quarters. In fact, many of the best Santa Monica buildings are geared specifically with business inhabitants in mind, providing residents with unrestricted access to executive business centers equipped with computers, fax, copiers and color printers. 1221 Ocean even features a conference center featuring teleconferencing and video playback equipment.

Among the key attractions of the finest Santa Monica residential buildings is privacy. The 1221 Ocean Avenue property, for example, is located on the bluffs above Santa Monica Beach, just footsteps from one of the most elegant beachside esplanades Southern California has to offer. Such luxury highrises combine all the benefits of a five star resort hotel with the comforts, and privacy of a home. That makes such properties desirable alternatives to the luxury condominiums and beachfront hotels with which they compete.

Also fueling demand for homes in the one-of-a-kind apartment community is its proximity to one of California's fastest growing micro economies. A new commercial media district, extending from Interstate 405 west to the Pacific Ocean, has drawn many of the world's most influential entertainment, music and high technology companies to the area. This new multi-media juggernaut, coupled with Santa Monica's already compelling leisure attractions and relaxed, resort-style atmosphere, has helped fuel a dramatic resurgence in demand for well-appointed Westside rental options.

Janice Hohman is with Irvine Apartment Communities (IAC), a Newport Beach-based owner of more than 70 innovative apartment communities in California. Among other properties, the company owns and manages the 1221 Ocean Avenue property mentioned in this article. More information is available at the company's website: www.RentIAC.com.

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