While downtown Los Angeles has been generating the most buzz when it comes to loft housing emerging in an urban setting, a Brentwood investor is planning a $30 million loft and retail project in Hollywood.
Jeff Greene, who already owns 1,800 residential units and about 300,000 square feet of commercial space around Los Angeles, intends to put up 121 luxury loft-style condominiums as part of a mixed-use project on his property at the southeast corner of Franklin and Highland avenues.
The development, at a hub of Hollywood's residential and commercial districts, could be a model for future projects and could signal a trend, suggested Dale Yonkin, one of the architects working on the project.
"The trend has been to build totally residential projects as far off the commercial spines as you can get," said Yonkin, executive vice president at Nadel Architects Inc. "It's sort of a turning away from the desire to turn your back on the commercial side of urban life and actually embrace it."
While embracing the urban nature of the neighborhood, the project is being designed to maximize the amount of open space.
The 194,000-square-foot project on the 1.7-acre property is to have six-stories of condos, ranging from 1,500 to 1,700 square feet per unit. The units would be priced between $450,000 and $600,000 and grouped on the southern side of the property closer to the existing residential neighborhood. The project would have an unusual amount of open space, Yonkin said. The residential units are to be set back 120 feet from Franklin Avenue. City zoning regulations require only a 15-foot setback.
The open space allows Nadel to be more creative with the landscaping.
"The landscaping is going to be sculptural in nature, as opposed to just creating shades and shadows," said Herb Nadel, president and CEO of the firm.
Also planned for the property is a two-story, 10,000-square-foot retail building that would be marketed to a restaurant owner, Yonkin said.
The project site sits in the shadow of TrizecHahn Development Corp.'s Hollywood & Highland leviathan, which has a mix of retail, cinema, restaurant and theater uses.
"These units really fit into the new Hollywood," Greene said. "It will be a little oasis in the middle of Hollywood."
Nadel said the location for Greene's unnamed project is "sensational."
"It's going to be built, literally, in the heart of Hollywood," he said. "You can even walk to the Hollywood Bowl from there, and it's accessible to the (101) Freeway within seconds."
Greene said the project would cost $4 million more than a typical project of the same size because of special geo-technical conditions at the property, which sits on the Hollywood Fault. Greene said he hired structural engineering consultant Englekirk Partners Inc., which worked on the Getty Center, to address those issues.
Nadel's expectations are high.
"My approach to the architecture will be very contemporary, something for the 21st century," Nadel said.
What that means is large, smooth surfaces, 10-foot-high ceilings, lots of glass, bright colors and cutting-edge interior finishes.
"This will not be your traditional Mediterranean-style architecture," Nadel said. "It'll be something that's unprecedented in terms of colors and architecture. When you look at that building you're going to say, 'Wow, isn't that neat?'"
John Tronson, chairman of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and a principal with Ramsey-Shilling Co. Commercial Real Estate Services Inc., said the project is coming at the right time.
"There's a lack of affordable high-end housing," Tronson said. "If you want something nice in Hollywood at the moment, you have to go to the hills, and God forbid if you don't have $3 million or $4 million."
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