Promenade Aims to Set Urban Life Style : Downtown Gets Its First Privately Developed Apartments in 16 Years

The $60-million, four-building Promenade Towers has the distinction of being the first privately developed apartment complex to be built in downtown Los Angeles in the last 16 years.

"It also offers Los Angeles the concept of a 'city within a city' in the midst of its own emerging downtown," according to Mark Bornstein, vice president of sales and marketing for Goldrich & Kest, co-developer of the project with Shapell Industries of Beverly Hills.

"In developing the Promenade Towers, we set out to create not only a residential apartment complex but a total life style for its residents. In essence, we have tried to anticipate everyone's personal needs by providing retail convenience and services as well."

"New York and other big cities have these contemporary urban communities but for Los Angeles the Promenade Towers complex is something relatively new and long overdue."

The fourth and final structure of the mixed-use community at 123 S. Figueroa St. was topped out in June, and completion of the complex is targeted for late October. Occupancy of the first building facing 2nd Street is set for mid-October, and the other structures will open in the late fall. A leasing office and four fully furnished models open on the site Monday.

One significant aspect of the residential project and its supportive retail system is the potential of a built-in population to boost the use of retail and entertainment activities in downtown Los Angeles.

The complex encompasses 849,298 square feet within in its four buildings and its five-level parking structure. Two high-rise buildings with 462 one- and two-bedroom apartments and 25,000 square feet of retail area have double heights (the north building with 17 to 19 floors and the south building with 15 to 17 floors); two four-story structures, one a residential building with 27 apartments, and the other containing 40,000 square feet of office space.

Promenade Towers was designed by Kamnitzer & Cotton-Abraham Shapiro & Associates on 4.26 acres of prime Bunker Hill property bordered by Figueroa, 1st, 2nd streets and the Harbor Freeway. The structures encircle a landscaped dual-level courtyard with outdoor dining areas. A cascading waterfall ties in to a large swimming pool, spa and sunning area adjacent to a fully equipped private health club for the residents.

Landscaping by Fong & Associates of Newport Beach features a combination of exotic desert plants and flowering subtropical plantings and palms. A two-story entrance lobby with canopied porte-cochere on Figueroa Street serves as the main entrance to Promenade Towers.

The complex adds significantly to the emerging Figueroa corridor on the west side of downtown, between Olympic Boulevard and 1st Street, that already has a strong core of commercial and residential buildings.

The project is near the Bonaventure and Sheraton Grande hotels, the World Trade Center, the Promenade Plaza and Condominiums, Bunker Hill Towers and such upcoming developments as Citicorp Plaza and California Plaza.

"We expect Promenade Towers to serve a need for people who no longer want to maintain a large home and are looking for hotel-style living that offers a full range of amenities," Bornstein said.

"And we expect the complex to also appeal strongly to young professionals who value this kind of life style and are tired of the long hours of commuting back and forth from home to office."

In order to broaden its marketing base, the developers have provided shared living opportunities in half of the units with two separate entrances for those unable to afford a single unit.

"We have called these the 'mingles' units, which provide each of the unrelated parties their own separate master suite and bath, in addition to sharing the remaining living quarters of the apartment. This avoids any dispute on who gets the best space; both have equal amenities with patio or solarium or balcony," Bornstein explained.

Rentals at Promenade Towers vary from $1,000 to about $1,300 for the two-bedroom units and up to $1,800 for penthouse units. One-bedroom unit rentals range from $700 to about $900 per month.

The project was financed through the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency revenue bonds and is aimed at expanding housing opportunities for a variety of income levels. It provides that 15% of the units be made available to moderate-income renters who qualify for a lower-than-market-rate rent scale.

The construction team includes Tutor-Saliba Corp., Sylmar, contractor; Feuer Corp., Santa Monica and C. W. Eccleston, Canoga Park, mechanical engineers; Pace Engineering, Encino, civil engineer; Purcell + Noppe & Associates, Chatsworth, acoustical engineer; Ditomaso & Associates, Van Nuys, electrical engineer, and R. T. Franklin & Associates, Burbank, soils engineer.

Matthew Russell has been named general manager of Promenade Towers and Debra Miller director of leasing. Russell previously managed the adjacent Bunker Hill Towers; Miller has been associated with Goldrich & Kest Industries for the past six years.

Goldrich & Kest/Shapell Industries are also partners in the development of California Plaza and the Promenade and Promenade condominiums. As pioneers in the development of downtown Los Angeles, they have spent in excess of $100 million in urban development there.

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