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24-story condo tower project in downtown L.A. is being revived

The downtown L.A. condo market stayed soft for years after the recession, but has finally come back to life
A downtown L.A. condo project at Grand Avenue and 11th Street will be built after nearly a decade's delay

A long-planned 24-story luxury condominium tower in downtown Los Angeles that fell victim to the housing crash is being revived by a San Francisco developer that recently acquired rights to the $100-million project.

The announcement Friday comes amid reports of a pronounced condo shortage as the resurging downtown area is drawing new businesses and residents.

Formerly known as the Glass Tower, the residential high-rise was planned and first approved nearly a decade ago for the northeast corner of Grand Avenue and 11th Street.

Two other condo buildings, including the plush Elleven tower completed in 2006, stand across the street from the site, but the previous owner of the Glass Tower was unable get work underway before the nationwide housing boom of the mid-2000s ended in a deep plunge.

The downtown condo market stayed soft for years after the 2008 recession, but has finally come back to life. There are only 10 new condos left for sale downtown at the moment and local real estate experts expect them to sell out long before any new product becomes available

Developer Trumark Urban said Friday that it has purchased the Glass Tower site a few blocks east of Staples Center and plans to start work on the 151-unit complex within a few months. By following the existing blueprints, the developer hopes to avoid restarting the city development approval process.

"We're consciously not redesigning it," said Arden Hearing, managing director of Trumark Urban. "We're racing to get in the ground by the end of the year."

The new complex will be known by its address — 1050 Grand — until it gets a new name, Hearing said.

Trumark Urban has contracted with architect Douglas Hanson of HansonLA, to "refresh" the design, Hearing said. The building will have a sixth-floor swimming pool with cabanas atop a parking structure, an indoor-outdoor kitchen and barbecues. It will also have a fitness center.

Shops and restaurants will wrap around the ground floor on 11th and Grand. There will be two-story penthouses on top. Some units will have balconies and corner units at the intersection will have floor-to-ceilings windows as part of an architectural feature that pops out the edge of the concrete and glass building.

The time is right to go build for-sale housing in the neighborhood, Hearing said.

"Downtown has 500,000 jobs, 50,000 residents and zero new condos," he said.

Hearing declined to say how much the units might cost when they are completed in 2016, but said they would be "ultra-sophisticated condos" aimed at affluent young professionals and empty nesters.

Trumark Urban has been watching Los Angeles for years, he said, and plans to launch another new condo development soon in downtown's historic core.

"We see what we think is the very early stage of creation of a world-class downtown, something L.A. has been missing for generations," Hearing said. "We are actively looking for more locations" to build.

The last of 224 new condos at the Ritz-Carlton Residences at LA Live sold for more than $4 million last month to a Chinese buyer. That opened the door for more residential development downtown, said Mauricio Umansky, chief executive of the Agency, which handled sales for developer AEG.

Condo prices fell during the economic downtown, but have now reached a level that would support new construction, according to Alan Mark of the Mark Co., a real estate consulting and research firm.

The median list price for resale condos in downtown Los Angeles reached $622,100 in May, compared with $369,000 in 2010, according to real estate brokerage firm Redfin.

roger.vincent@latimes.com

Twitter: @rogervincent

Times staff writer Andrew Khouri contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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