Rick Caruso plans to build luxury apartment building near Beverly Center

Rick Caruso applies for city permission to erect apartment building at La Cienega and San Vicente boulevards

Developer Rick Caruso's super-swanky apartment building near the Beverly Center in Los Angeles may soon have a newer, bigger counterpart.

Caruso, who also developed the nearby Grove shopping center, has applied for city permission to erect a $155-million building with 154 units at the busy intersection of La Cienega and San Vicente boulevards.

The new 19-story tower called 333 La Cienega would rise across the street from 8500 Burton Way, an 87-unit complex completed in 2012.

A typical unit at 8500 Burton Way rents for about $12,000 a month and one furnished penthouse rents for $40,000 a month. The building has a Trader Joe's store and a restaurant on the ground floor.

"The first building has been successful beyond our expectations," Caruso said. "We have achieved incredibly strong rents."

The complex is fully rented and has a waiting list, which prompted Caruso to get to work on another building in the neighborhood he calls a gateway between Los Angeles and Beverly Hills.

Apartments at 8500 Burton Way run about $8 to $10 per square foot per month, more than quadruple the average Los Angeles rent and the highest outside New York, Caruso said.

The new building would replace a retail center at 333 S. La Cienega Blvd. that last housed a Loehmann's department store. It would fill the triangular block surrounded by San Vicente, La Cienega and 3rd Street.

Architects Hetzel Design and MVE & Partners designed both buildings. Like the existing building, the new one would have a grocery store and upscale restaurant at street level.

The one- and two-bedroom units would have high ceilings, hardwood floors, gourmet kitchens and private patios and balconies, Caruso said. There would be public open space at street level including a large fountain at the southern tip.

Tenants in the existing building are a mix of fashion designers, entertainment industry executives, doctors, celebrities and "heads of state from different parts of the world," Caruso said.

"It's very eclectic," he said of the tenant mix, "sort of the rich and famous of all categories."

About half of them have a primary home outside Los Angeles, in many cases overseas, he said. "It's a second home to many."

A key factor in the building's appeal is hotel-like service, Caruso said. There is a driver and car to help tenants run errands or get to the airport. A concierge will secure concert tickets or see to it that tenants' grocery lists are fulfilled and the food is stocked in their pantries.

"We shop everywhere," Caruso said. "If you want a salad from the Polo Lounge, we'll bring you a salad from the Polo Lounge. People want to be pampered."

Caruso hopes to secure city permission to build by early next year. He hopes to open 333 La Cienega by fall 2017 and move on to build other luxury projects.

"We are looking for more sites to do these," he said.

roger.vincent@latimes.com

Twitter: @rogervincent

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