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  • Jason Tuvia

Burgeoning Koreatown Development Reflects Growing Demand

Updated: Apr 5, 2019

Latest Development Reflects Neighborhood's Growing Demand

Driving through the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, it’s impossible to miss the new construction going up, especially when it comes to apartment projects.

One of the latest to throw its hat in the ring is Koreatown-based developer Jamison Properties LP, the largest property owner in the neighborhood. The company just broke ground on a $300 million, 25-story multifamily project at 2900 Wilshire Blvd. in partnership with Los Angeles-based real estate investment and development firm Hankey Investment Co.

“As the Los Angeles housing market continues to be impacted, additional rental units will help provide much needed homes in a very desirable location,” W. Scott Dobbins, president at Hankey Investment Company and lead of the development team, said in a statement. “As Koreatown’s housing market continues to flourish, 2900 Wilshire provides a golden opportunity to revive an otherwise long-time vacant site, bringing much needed housing to the community.”

The planned development marks the second joint venture for the two companies, which also teamed up to build the $500 million Circa in South Park in downtown Los Angeles. That project was completed last year. The newest offering will feature a curved design and will offer 644 residential units ranging from studios to three-bedroom, two-story penthouses. Rents will range from $2,000 up to $10,000 per month. There will also be 15,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor, a one-acre rooftop park on top of the podium, a swimming pool, gym and clubhouse, a business center, dog park and Zen garden.

Los Angeles-based architectural firm Large Architecture, downtown Los Angeles-based design firm Dianna Wong Architecture + Interior Design, Century City-based engineering firm AECOM, and Koreatown based firm Wilshire Construction will all consult on the project, which is expected to be completed in early 2021.

Jamison Properties is Koreatown’s most prolific developer, with more than 1,000 units under construction, according to CoStar records. It has 21 multifamily projects currently under construction, including the 2900 Wilshire development. The developer manages a portfolio of about 18 million square feet in Koreatown. The company completed its first ground-up construction project a year ago with the 72-unit, seven-story Maya at 535 S. Kingsley Dr.

About 2,000 residential units are now under construction in Koreatown, according to CoStar Market Analytics. Koreatown’s average apartment rents for units constructed after the recession are around $2,500 a month, according to data in CoStar's latest multifamily report on the neighborhood.

The primary factor driving developers to build in Koreatown is its close proximity to downtown Los Angeles and its central location near transit, according to Steve Basham, a senior market analyst covering the Southern California region for CoStar Market Analytics. “It’s also an older, densely populated neighborhood with a high percentage of renting households,” he said.

There are also other reasons the neighborhood is so hot, according to experts.

“I think it’s because Koreatown is such a vibrant district that has gotten more diverse over the past decade,” Vincent Chang, associate market director of research at global real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield, said in an email. “It has a high concentration of nightclubs, bars and many other 24-hour establishments, which can be a huge draw for the younger demographic.”

Chang also agreed the centralized location is ideal for local workers and said the prospects look good for future growth, adding that, “This area can handle much more additional housing development as newly built apartments have been getting absorbed quickly."

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