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Westlake's Park Wilshire apartments to get a makeover

A Sherman Oaks real estate firm plans to revamp an aging 1920s apartment building near MacArthur Park, the latest investment in a neighborhood that big investors long shunned because of high crime rates.

MWest Holdings acquired the Park Wilshire apartments in Westlake this month for an undisclosed sum. It plans to spend more than $1 million on renovations, including relighting the neon Park Wilshire sign affixed to the top of the 170-unit building.

“We feel it hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves,” MWest President Karl Slovin said of the building. 

MWest, which purchased the property from a Bay Area real estate investment firm, will renovate apartments as tenants move out.

Declining crime, along with rising land prices in adjacent neighborhoods, has sparked the interest of investors in the relatively cheap area sandwiched between booming downtown and Koreatown.

Developer Sonny Astani, for example, recently opened a luxury apartment complex with more than 200 units a few blocks east of MacArthur Park.

And MWest is wrapping up renovations to the lobby of the Wilshire Royale, a historic Westlake apartment building it purchased last year.

“We see the pressure coming from downtown, the pressure coming from Koreatown, and this middle area is now becoming ready for the investment of capital,” Slovin said.

The Park Wilshire was built as a residential hotel in 1924, a time when the neighborhood was one of Los Angeles’ toniest and the recreational landmark was called Westlake Park. 

In 1942, the park was renamed for Gen. Douglas MacArthur. After World War II, wealthy Angelenos and businesses left for the suburbs. The neighborhood fell on hard times in the following decades.

Westlake has grown far safer over the last decade. The area is home to one of the nation's largest populations of Central American immigrants, many of whom fled war in their homelands during the 1980s.

andrew.khouri@latimes.com

For more business news, follow @khouriandrew on Twitter.

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