Hollywood continues to attract housing developers willing to pay princely sums to build projects in the community.

John Laing Homes has agreed to pay in the neighborhood of $16 million for a nearly two-acre site that consists of mostly surface parking and also includes the Open Fist Theatre at 1625 La Brea Ave., according to sources.

An unsuccessful bidder on the property said John Laing Homes agreed to pay close to the $200-a-foot asking price, which is nearly double the going rate for undeveloped Hollywood parcels.

Philip Simmons, president of John Laing Urban Division, confirmed the transaction but not the price. He said the company has initial plans for a 180-unit condominium project above about 14,000 square feet of shops and restaurants. The project will also include a 450-space underground garage.

The deal hasn't closed yet, but both sides have entered into a binding contract.

"We're making a strong push into L.A. with urban infill housing," Simmons said. "We feel that's where the market is heading."

Steve Ullman, principal of seller Grant Parking Inc., directed inquiries to John Laing Homes.

The homebuilder may also be among a number of bidders on a new Hollywood listing.

The Bolour Trust has listed the Security Pacific building, a 75,000-square foot office property at 6381 Hollywood Blvd., at the northeast corner of Cahuenga Boulevard.

* The full version of this story is available in the Feb. 14 edition of the Los Angeles Business Journal.

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