Los Angeles Business Journal

Apartment Community Welcomes New Owner

ACQUISITION: 25-acre Baldwin Hills property sells for $60 million. By Bethany Firnhaber Monday, September 30, 2013

Bargain hunters willing to buy in bulk might do well to look to Baldwin Hills.

Earlier this month, Crenshaw Village, a nearly 25-acre apartment community of 669 units in 65 buildings, was sold to Calabasas real estate company Upside Investments Inc. for $60 million. That’s less than $90,000 for each unit and about $92 a square foot.

Woodland Hills’ Jones & Jones Management Group Inc., which handles more than 25 apartment buildings across Los Angeles County, owned Crenshaw Village for more than 30 years before opting to sell earlier this year. The property, originally offered for $62.5 million, was on the market for 30 days; the sale closed Sept. 19.

Built in 1948, the sprawling multifamily site has management offices at 4220 Santa Rosalia Drive and is made up of four apartment communities: Buckingham Apartments, Hillcrest Apartments, Santa Rosalia Apartments and Santo Tomas Apartments. A variety of sizes and configurations – from studio to three-bedroom units – command rents between $875 and $1,425 a month, according to CoStar Group Inc.

Ron Harris, Paul Darrow and Michael DiSimone of Institutional Property Advisors, a downtown L.A. division of Marcus & Millichap that focuses on multifamily properties, represented the seller.

Harris said that development dollars being poured into the surrounding neighborhood made the portfolio an attractive buy. Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, for example, a regional mall blocks from Crenshaw Village, completed a $35 million upgrade a little more than a year ago. Nearer still is a site where Kaiser Permanente plans to build two medical office buildings. And the city is scheduled to begin construction soon on the $2 billion Crenshaw light-rail line, which will bring a station to Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. boulevards.

“The property’s tremendous potential is further enhanced by the large amount of public and private investment taking place in the immediate area,” Harris said.

Century City real estate investment banking firm George Smith Partners Inc. secured two loans totaling $42.6 million for the buyer.

Construction Commenced

Developer Ron Simms tore down the old Mann National Theatre in Westwood, one of the last single-screen cinemas built in the country, nearly six years ago.

Now, after haggling with community advocates for years over what to build in its place, construction has begun on an 80,000-square-foot mixed-use project.

The four-story development at 10925 Lindbrook Drive in the heart of Westwood Village is expected to cost about $11 million to build and will include 34 apartments above 5,250 square feet of street-level retail. The residential component of the project is a first for owner Simms Commercial Development, which hired West L.A. architecture firm Nadel Inc. to design the building.

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