After almost three years in escrow, Meta Housing Corp. has finally closed on a 152,000-square-foot office building in Chinatown it plans to convert into senior housing.

The West L.A. for-profit affordable housing developer bought the building, at 808 N. Spring St. near Alameda Street, for $9 million last week from Kor Group, a Beverly Hills residential and hospitality property developer and manager.

“It is a catalyst for revitalization of that area of Chinatown,” said Tim Soule, senior project manager for Meta. “We are taking an eyesore away from the community.”

The nine-story building, only a block from the Metro Gold Line, is vacant and already zoned for apartments.

In fact, Kor, which developed the Pegasus Lofts in downtown Los Angeles, bought the property for $9.2 million in 2005 with plans to build a luxury condo complex. The company demolished the interior and completed a $1 million lead and asbestos abatement. But when it failed to secure long-term parking nearby and the economy began to turn, Kor abandoned the plan and listed the property in 2008.

Meta entered escrow on the property nearly immediately, but took more than two years to secure funding as the economy grew bleak. In the process, Kor defaulted on its loan on the property.

The new 123-unit project, known as Chinatown Metro Apartments, is being financed by a number of entities including a private lender, and state and local sources such as the city of Los Angeles Housing Department’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The development also will receive tax breaks.

Meta plans to begin renovations at the end of year and to open the building in early 2013.

The developer has built dozens of affordable housing complexes across Southern California. Among the most notable are downtown L.A.’s 80-unit Adams & Central Mixed-Use Development, which won the National Association of Home Builders’ best affordable apartment community award last year.

Albert Shilton, a Charles Dunn Co. senior managing director in Century City, represented Meta. Kor represented itself in-house.

Great Deal

A local family got such a good deal on a 29-unit apartment building without rent control in Sherman Oaks that it had barely closed escrow before offers for the property began rolling in.

The family’s Lever Apartments LP, which owns five apartment complexes in Los Angeles, bought the Kester House, at 5421 Kester Ave., for $5.45 million this month from an investor partnership that owns more than two dozen local commercial and multifamily properties.


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