California Landmark Group Invests $75M in M-F

Los Angeles-based California Landmark Group will invest $75 million in urban infill multi-family developments in Southern California over the next 12 months.

CLG Hollywood Apartment Rendering

Saying multi-family has recovered faster than any other sector in Southern California, Los Angeles-based California Landmark Group is investing $75 million in urban infill, apartment developments over the next 12 months.

We have tremendous available capacity in terms of dollars and manpower to really it ramp it up to levels that are more like 2005, 2006, CEO Ken Kahan told Commercial Property Executive.

He said they are buying both entitled and untitled land, noting that his firm is successful and creative in dealing with untitled properties.

We’re fielding as many deals as we can in the markets we’re focused on, he said, citing downtown Los Angeles; Hollywood; Koreatown; Irvine; San Fernando Valley; Orange and Ventura counties and Santa Barbara.

He also said his company has a keen understanding of developing urban infill sites.

We can acquire parcels literally as small as half an acre and build a great project and get 75 to 100 units. There are other sites that are not nearly as dense and we are building two-acre sites, Kahan said, noting that the typical project size will be 100 to 250 units but certain locations could see developments with as few as 75 and others with about 300.

While the group will target the younger demographic that wants to live in a downtown environment and be close to work and nightlife, Kahan said they are also seeing older renters who are tired of the suburbs and long commutes.

The new push for multi-family this year is in addition to the numerous projects California Landmark Group already has under construction or in the planning stages. Within the last six months, CLG acquired a three-building, 112-unit apartment portfolio in the Encino/Tarzana submarket of the San Fernando Valley and completed and sold a 21-unit West Los Angeles condominium project.  CLG is also building about 200 units in several mixed-use, multi-family developments in Hollywood, West Los Angeles and Brentwood. One of the projects is a 79-unit, $35 million, multi-family development at 7928 Hollywood Blvd. expected to be completed next year.

We recently put into escrow two more projects that we hope to close on in the next 90 days, Kahan said. We have the capital and we are actively looking.

In its second quarter apartment market report on Los Angeles County, Marcus & Millichap notes that young renters are being drawn to trendy, downtown areas like Koreatown. Most of the new multi-family units being built in the county will be concentrated in the greater downtown area. The real estate services firm estimates that builders will complete about 2,900 units this year, up from 1,680 in 2011. The report states that approximately 6,400 rentals are under construction with about 13,500 more in planning stages. Average asking rents are expected to rise along with the pent-up demand to $1,421 per month.

Kahan said CLG projects generally have market-rate rents. Published rents for some of the company’s developments range from $2,300 to $4,000 a month.

The developer said he doesn’t expect his firm to undertake any condominium projects with the capital it has available this year.

Today is not a time to be building a condo project in California. However it’s very conceivable that we’ll underwrite and develop those deals as well sometime in the next two years, he said.