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July 16, 2005

Club California in Westwood is going condo

More Los Angeles condo-conversion news. Any UCLA alums from the past twenty years would probably recognize the name Club California Apartments, or "Club Cali" as it was more frequently called. This is the apartment complex on Roebling Avenue, right on the cusp of the commercial/retail/restaurant section in Westwood. Well, Club Cali is going condo. The renters (primarily students) have been given their walking papers, and as current leases expire the construction will begin on the individual units. Quick stats: the complex was built in 1973 and has 209 units. Here is some detail on the financing for the project from multihousingnews.com:

Hypo Completes $81M for Condo Acquisition, Conversion

Los Angeles—Hypo Real Estate Capital Corp., the New York-based subsidiary of Hypo Real Estate Bank International, closed on an $80.9 million loan to Westwood Commons LLC for its acquisition and condominium conversion of Club California, a 209-unit apartment development located in this city's Westwood section.

Westwood Commons is a joint venture between Dan Furlan's Construction Rehabilitation Services Inc. and Maisel Presley Inc. Over the past 10 years, each of these two entities, according to Hypo, has built a strong track record in the condo conversion industry.

Built in 1973, the three-story apartment building offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom layouts and an average unit size of 703 square feet. Onsite amenities include an outdoor pool, BBQ area, exercise room, game room and parking garage. The complex is a short walk from UCLA and the heart of Westwood.

"Hypo Real Estate Capital Corp. plans on continuing to expand its leadership position in the condominium-conversion marketplace in California and across the U. S.," said Evan F. Denner, head of real estate finance for Hypo Real Estate Capital.

You can read more about the conversion and its affect on UCLA students at this article from The Daily Bruin, Roebling complex sends off tenants. I think this will be an interesting project to watch. Westwood has been searching for its identity for over a decade now. Does it want to be a real "college town," or does it cater to an older crowd with high-disposable incomes? (The Palomino restaurant, Napa Valley Wine Bar, EuroChow, etc). The Club Cali condo conversion will infuse more disposable income into the area, but the price will be the losing a little of that college feel. If any Bruin Alumni are out there, I'd be curious to see your comment on this project, and if you would consider buying a condo there when they become available.

Los Angeles Apartments
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Posted by ultimatela at 02:35 PM | Comments (3)

July 09, 2005

Los Angeles condo conversions, be careful out there

A couple of weeks ago I stumbled onto an open house for an apartment building to condo conversion project in West Los Angeles. Here are the datapoints that I came away with: One bedroom/one bath units with approximately 950 sq. ft are going for the mid $500,000s. Two bedroom/two bath units with 1,400 square feet are going for low $700,000s. So we are talking $500+ per square foot, and don't forget a couple hundred a month on HOA fees. This was an early 1970s building. Certainly not a special property, no great views, no nice common areas to speak of. They were doing their best to add nice wood flooring and stainless steel appliances, but still, $500+ a square foot? Generic neighborhood, south of Santa Monica Blvd and east of Bundy. You could expect to find a decent one bedroom apartment in the area for $1,100-1,200/month. The broker commented that the property was originally built to be condos in the the 1970s, but the market went south at the time and the property ended up being apartments until now. Interesting way to lead a sales pitch I thought, as what exactly prevents the market from going south on condos again?

Prospective buyers should think twice before jumping into a deal like this. The fact that real estate is being fueled by creative financing (interest-only loans, etc) has been documented extensively in the media, so I won't belabor this point (just do a google search). What is not discussed enough in my opinion is the nature of condos, and how they could be particularly subject to a price correction. The argument given by the real estate bulls is that the supply of real estate is limited, and in SoCal especially we are built-out and "they aren't making any more of it" (meaning land). While this could be true for single family homes, it is not true for condos. The potential supply of new condos that could come on the market is limitless. Take a drive around town. Whenever you see an older single family home or aging duplex with just a little extra land, you are looking at a potential tear-town project with 10+ new condo units coming on the market. So if you are buying one of these new condos or condo conversions, make sure that you want to live there for awhile and that the property is special in some respect. That is the best way to preserve equity in a condo market that is historically fickle. And if you decide to rent instead of buy, take a look at our Los Angeles Apartments page for rental ideas.

Los Angeles on the Net - www.ultimateLA.com

Posted by ultimatela at 09:07 PM | Comments (1)

Anna's Italian - new restaurant entry

We have a new additional to our restaurant page, Anna's Italian on Pico, near the Westside Pavilion. I have been on the lookout for a new pizza place to try on the Westside. While Anna's fits more under the general category of classic and friendly Italian food (spaghetti, etc), they do make a very good pizza. The crust is medium thickness, with fresh ingredients. Give Anna's a try, and check our Los Angeles Restaurants for more great ideas for eating out in L.A.

Los Angeles on the Net - www.ultimateLA.com
Los Angeles Restaurants, Bars & Clubs

Posted by ultimatela at 06:03 PM | Comments (0)