Not all the news on the residential real estate front is bad these days, especially if it involves apartments.

NMS Properties Inc., a Westwood-based multifamily developer and property manager, took just a few months to fully lease its Olympic Studios project in Santa Monica at 2001 and 2029 Olympic Blvd.

The 100-unit first phase of the development, which opened in December, was fully leased by March. The smaller 65-unit second phase, which opened June 1, was fully leased by the middle of July.

Neil Shekhter, head of NMS, believes that the quick leasing of the properties is indicative of both pent-up demand in Santa Monica, and the project's unique features and affordable rent.

The complex is built on land zoned for light industrial use, so units needed to be constructed as tiny lofts ranging in size from 350 to 375 square feet to meet zoning requirements. As a result, some of the units rented for as little as $1,110 a month, despite full-scale kitchens and big windows intended to give them a more spacious feel.

"In Santa Monica today there is really no new product in this price range," Shekhter said. "I believe in any rental market you can make a product that works for that particular market."

Shekhter's other Santa Monica apartment project isn't as affordable, though, and the leasing reflects that.

Luxe@1539, a $20 million project on Fourth Street across from Santa Monica Place, opened in early July and its 62 units are only 65 percent leased. Shekhter has made some price concessions on monthly rents, which are $1,749 for a studio and up to $2,879 for larger units. He said a year ago the rents would have been 10 percent to 15 percent higher.

Shekhter is betting that the location across from the mall will allow him to fully lease the property in the next month.

"The economy is soft but there is still high demand for quality housing," he said.

Santa Clarita Sale

A Westlake Village family has sold a 93,228-square-foot industrial facility in Santa Clarita that once housed its now-defunct business. The $9.87 million deal with buyer Side Yard LLC closed Sept. 3.

The family, whose name was not disclosed, had long used the 26455 Ruether Ave. property as a showroom for its furniture business. However, the family closed the business last year because of slow sales and then leased the site to Racer's Edge, which operated an indoor go-kart track that also went out of business, according to broker Gary Cohen.


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