The Flat, an apartment building just west of the Pasadena (110) Freeway in downtown Los Angeles, has been sold by the lender that took over the property after the developer went bankrupt.

Chinatrust Bank, a Torrance-based consumer and business bank, sold the 750 S. Garland Ave. property to multifamily investor SA Properties Holdings LLC for more than $20 million in an all-cash transaction. The exact sale price is not known, but the building had been listed for $27 million.

The 206-unit project was developed by 750 Garland LLC – a group headed by developer Bret Mosher – and opened in 2006. The bank initially tried to sell the note on the property this year, before the developer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the spring. After the developer could not restructure, the bank foreclosed and took over the property in early September and sold it. The deal closed at the end of September.

The six-story, 82,700-square-foot project was 93 percent leased at the time of the sale and is largely home to students of nearby schools USC, the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and Loyola Law School. The property includes an attached four-story parking building and houses Blue Velvet, a trendy restaurant. It was originally built as a Holiday Inn in 1968.

“The borrower, even though he lost the property, did a wonderful job in the renovation,” said Phillip Sample, a senior vice president at Grubb & Ellis Co., who represented the seller. “It is very unique. There are very few student housing projects in the downtown market.”

Sample believes that the sale could be a harbinger of banks unloading more foreclosed properties. So far, they haven’t done so, at least partially because of a desire to not sell at the bottom of the market.

The bank, SA Properties and developer 750 Garland all did not return calls seeking comment.

Chris Cooney, Chris Caras and Sandi Mann of Grubb & Ellis also represented the seller.

Universal Update

Two weeks ago, NBC Universal Inc. reaffirmed a commitment to a $3 billion plan to further develop its 391-acre Universal City property, home to Universal Studios.

The studio said it had refined the plan to include new roads and a shuttle bus system, and make the proposed residential housing more pedestrian friendly.

But the news came just as talk heated up that NBC Universal parent General Electric Co. might unload its broadcast and entertainment unit, prompting speculation on the development’s fate.

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