Historic downtown Los Angeles high-rise sold to Canadian investors

The National City Tower on Spring Street in Los Angeles was built in the 1920s for National City Bank.

A historic office high-rise in downtown Los Angeles that has been converted to an apartment building has been sold for $43 million to an affiliate of giant Canadian landlord Retirement Concepts.

The landlord bought National City Tower, which was completed in 1924 to be the headquarters of National City Bank of Los Angeles. It was redeveloped in 2008 as a residential complex with 93 units ranging in size from studios to three-bedroom apartments.

The new owners plan to spend an additional $1 million on improvements to the building at 810 Spring St., said Joe Moosa, president of Retirement Concepts Developments. Upgrades will include a new gym and media room in the basement and improvements to the tenants’ rooftop deck.

“We’ll just take it one more level up,” Moosa said.


Downtown Los Angeles will continue to improve, he predicted.

“We truly believe in everything the city is doing in rejuvenating downtown L.A.,” he said. “Five years from now it will be a destination on the West Coast that the world doesn’t have now. We are investing in that vision.”

The 12-story bank building was designed by architects Albert Walker and Percy Eisen, whose works include the James Oviatt Building and Fine Arts Building, both downtown, and the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. National City Tower was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 2007.

Beverly Hills investor Shahriar Afshani was the previous owner of the building, according to city documents.


Commercial tenants in the building include restaurants Terroni and Peking Tavern. Crane’s Bar serves drinks behind the former bank vault door.

“Global investors are recognizing that downtown Los Angeles is well on its way to becoming a true 24-hour city,” said Sklar Kirsh attorney Andrew Kirsh, who advised the buyer in the acquisition. “Buildings such as the National City Tower with character and a rich history are generating the most interest from buyers.”

Retirement Concepts is a private real estate investment group based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Its holdings include senior housing communities as well as apartment, hotel and office buildings.

The National City Tower units will remain market-rate apartments and will not be converted to senior housing, Moosa said.


Twitter: @rogervincent