$2B Mixed-Use Redevelopment Planned in Los Angeles

While policy-makers and elected officials ponder how to provide affordable housing to the booming population of Californians–expected to grow by six million residents between now and 2030 in Southern California alone–Fifteen Group Land & Development L.L.C. plans to redevelop a 1930s era apartment complex into a $2 billion mixed-use community that will increase the availability of apartments, homes and retail space. Located in Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles, the project is planned for the current Wyvernwood Garden Apartments. The firm purchased the land in 1998 and acquired an adjacent complex in 2006 for a total of 70 acres. Plans include redeveloping the site to include 4,400 residential units, 300,000 square feet of retail space as well as nine acres of publicly accessible open space. Construction could begin as early as 2010 and take up to 10 years to complete. The plan calls for 1,200 rental units, of which 660 units would be rented at affordable income levels, in addition to 3,200 for sale condominiums. Part of the project will be planned as senior housing. Construction will be conducted in phases, allowing tenants to remain at the property until their units are required for demolition. Tenants who wish to remain at Wyvernwood may be relocated to a comparable apartment during construction and then have the opportunity to move into a new apartment. Wyvernwood is a market rate-apartment complex that is subject to the City of Los Angeles’ Rent Stabilization Ordinance. Under the proposal, Fifteen Group will agree to a covenant 15 percent of the new units as affordable housing under the city’s affordable housing guidelines. Fifteen Group worked with the Los Angeles office of the urban design firm Torti Gallas and Partners and the Los Angeles-based landscape architect Meléndrez to design a community that meets the standards for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND). “We’ve taken over two years of sensitive planning time rather than rushing headlong into something,” Mark Sanders, CEO of 15 Group told CPN. “We think we’ve come up with a plan to add a lot of housing with elegant density and provide the community with much needed retail as well. We want to create a resident base that has an environmentally sensitive design and is something Los Angeles can be proud of, we can be proud of and that can be duplicated.” Sanders said the city desperately needs housing. “I don’t think housing and density can be added haphazardly,” he said. “That really makes this special. We have been very good listeners to what the city planners want to see with density. We’ve paid close attention to what they are looking for and tried to incorporate things that our urban planners think can make a great deal of sense. This city has a legitimate housing shortage, despite the upheaval in the mortgage markets and we’ll continue to have housing shortage.” Fifteen Group Land & Development L.L.C. is the development affiliate of Fifteen Group, the real estate-focused private investment firm based in Miami Beach, Fla.