The Witkoff Group may hold a diverse portfolio that includes hotels, residential properties, commercial buildings and operating businesses, but locally the New York-based firm is betting on an apartment property: the recently debuted Park Santa Monica.
The development is a 294-unit luxury rental complex that features four interconnected buildings with a 1-acre rooftop park and the only rooftop pool in the city.
As the design half of the Witkoff firm, Lauren Witkoff, executive vice president of sales and marketing at the organizaton, said she has a good work relationship with CEO Steve Witkoff, her ex-husband.
“Steve is great at making deals, he’s a visionary,” she said. “The design was not his cup of tea. I spend a lot of time thinking about it.”
Lauren Witkoff has a lot to say about the look and features of a project such as Park Santa Monica, which was visualized by David Mann of MR Architecture and Design.
“We see each project as a unique opportunity,” Witkoff said. “With Park Santa Monica, we try to bring this vertical-living design to L.A.”
Located at 500 Broadway at the site of a former Fred Segal store, the development comes loaded with amenities.
“We’ve got workspaces, a beautiful spa and gym,” Witkoff said. “We have these four rooftops and each one is a different amenity space.”
There is the Field, which has open green space with a dedicated outdoor fitness center; the Garden, with fire pits, lounges and outdoor game tables; the Oasis, which features the rooftop pool with cabanas and private bar; and the Farm, which boats a Sonoma-style outdoor chef’s kitchen and bar plus a shaded dog run. All of it comes with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and downtown.
A private members club for select residents unlocks programming that includes personal training and surf lessons. Other perks include a Himalayan pink salt room, spa facilities and treatment rooms.
Over the years, the Witkoff Group has done a lot of condo projects in New York, including 150 Charles in the West Village, 10 Madison Square West in the Flatiron District, and 111 Murray Street in Tribeca.
“We ended up putting in a Drybar and people loved it,” Witkoff said of the latter. “People would call it the Drybar Building. Sometimes you have a small idea and it just takes off.”
Witkoff Group entered the Los Angeles market in 2019 with The Edition West Hollywood, a hotel/condominium hybrid that contains 20 condos.
“When we came in with the Edition, it was the first condo complex with a hotel component,” Witkoff said. “We sold out the units. It was very successful.”
The Witkoff firm tried something different with Park Santa Monica.
“This is our first ground-up rental project,” Witkoff said. “It’s a project we’re really proud of. We sort of took a chance and we’re very happy with the results.”
Witkoff noted Park Santa Monica’s address just five blocks from the beach.
“It’s a great location,” she said. “It’s very hard to build in Santa Monica. We bought the project from another developer. It was already entitled. We redesigned the entire inside to make it much more luxurious.”
Construction took three years prior to its opening in January 2022.
Rents at Park Santa Monica are among the priciest in the city, ranging from $4,000 to $26,000 a month.
“They have a higher level of design than you’d normally find in a rental building,” she said. “We put more thought into the kitchens and the bathrooms. Nicer appliances, nicer kitchen cabinets, nicer bathrooms.”
Witkoff said Park Santa Monica is a standout project for her and has already inspired another luxury rental project in Brooklyn — a 600-unit building called The Brook.
“We’re able to take some of our experience and put it into this new project,” Witkoff said. “We’re even going to have an outdoor pool there.”