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Downtown Sells Out

There may be a speculative bubble headed downtown L.A.’s way, but the buyers at three condominium projects still under construction don’t appear to be paying attention.


As developers of the new properties recently began pre-selling units, there was so much interest that asking prices rose as the number of available units dwindled.


ForestCityWest, a division of Forest City Enterprises Inc., sold 106 of the 228 residential units at 1100 Wilshire Blvd., a 38-story high-rise office conversion west of the Pasadena (110) Freeway. The average unit sold for $625 a square foot, which means a 1,000-square-foot unit would run $625,000.


(ForestCityWest will sell the units as the floors are completed.)


At the nearby Eastern Columbia building at Ninth Street and Broadway, Kor Group Inc. sold out the 80 units it released for prices averaging $535 a foot.

And Lee Group Inc. nearly sold out nearly all that remained of the 66 units in its Grand Avenue Lofts building, where condos sold for prices ranging from $400 to $600 a foot.


ForestCityWest and Kor Group hired the Ryness Co. to run their auction-like sales. Buyers were placed in groups of about 20 to select their units, with each group prioritized based on when they received pre-approvals.


“After each group, we would reassess pricing on what we have left,” said Sheridan Mantor, urban sales manager for Ryness. “We would adjust the remaining units upward, bring next group in and go from there.”


Kor Group has withheld selling a number of units in the Eastern Columbia building until after the project is completed presumably in anticipation of higher asking prices. Meanwhile, ForestCityWest intends to have a second, and possibly a third, round of sales.


The appetite for units has emboldened developers. Lee Group plans to begin offering reservations for 132 condos it’s carving on the top 11 floors of 801 S. Grand Ave.


The South Group, a partnership of Portland developers Williams & Dame and Gerding/Edlen, is expected to begin offering reservations for 230 units in their Luma condo tower sometime in mid-September. The firm already has reservations for nearly all of the 176 units in its first condo tower, Elleven.



*This story is from the August 8 issue of the Los Angeles Business Journal.

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