Apartment, retail complex underway near Culver City

Construction has kicked off on a $63-million apartment and shopping complex near a light-rail station on the edge of downtown Culver City as developers move to capitalize on the new Expo Line.

The six-story project is being built by Santa Monica apartment landlord NMS Properties. The development at 9901 Washington Blvd. in Los Angeles, across the street from Culver City, will be known as NMS@Culver City. It will house 131 units over restaurants and shops.

The complex is across from the Kirk Douglas Theatre and Sony Pictures Plaza office building.

“We find the redevelopment program and streetscape emerging along Washington Boulevard in Culver City extremely attractive and believe our project will further enhance the streetscape renaissance occurring there,” said Jim Andersen, president of NMS Properties.

The apartments are scheduled to open in spring 2014. The site was formerly occupied by Culver Plaza, a movie theater and retail center with three levels of below-grade parking. The underground garage will be seismically upgraded and reused with the new complex, architect Wade Killefer said.


Upper floors of Culver Plaza were surrounded by a colorful 7,000-square-foot mural called “Syncopation” by artist Ed Massey that came to be a neighborhood landmark after it was installed in 2004. The mural was removed before demolition and moved to Westside Neighborhood School, an independent elementary school in the Playa Vista area of Los Angeles.

Massey supervised sectioning and reconfiguring of the mural into pieces that have been attached to the exteriors of the school’s two buildings, a school representative said. The 15 panels are covered with opaque plastic sheeting in anticipation of an unveiling ceremony Thursday.

Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of real estate development linked to Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Expo Line are in the pipeline in Culver City. NMS and other developers are also targeting future station sites in Santa Monica and other stops along the light-rail line for construction of new mixed-use residential projects.

VF to move offices to downtown L.A.

VF Corp., one of the world’s largest apparel companies, will move the headquarters of its Splendid and Ella Moss clothing lines to a historic industrial complex in downtown Los Angeles.

The clothier agreed to lease 80,000 square feet in Alameda Square near Alameda Street and Olympic Boulevard, said real estate broker John Zanetos of CBRE Group Inc. The 10-year deal is valued at about $18 million.

VF will convert raw warehouse space into offices in preparation for a move. The lease marks the beginning of an effort by landlord Evoq Properties Inc. to renovate long-vacant industrial buildings in the 1.5-million-square-foot Alameda Square and convert them to offices for tenants in creative businesses, Zanetos said.

The company is expected to move to the new location early next year. Its Southern California offices are currently south of downtown Los Angeles, Costar Group said.

“Downtown really has become an attractive area for a younger and more collaborative work environment, with the residential population growing, access to public transportation and an amenity base that has just exploded in the past few years,” he said.

Alameda Square was one of the most ambitious private developments of early 20th century Los Angeles, connecting the city’s port with its downtown by rail. When the complex opened in the World War I era as Union Terminal Annex, it was the second-largest wholesale terminal in the world. Only Bush Terminal in New York was bigger, The Times reported.

More than 100 wholesale and manufacturing firms conducted their entire business there, and such giants as B.F. Goodrich Rubber Co. and Owl Drug Co. had large-scale operations on site. It had a bank, hotel, barbershop and restaurants. The vast majority of fruit and produce business for the region was conducted there.

Recent generations of Angelenos may recall the property as the former facility for food company S.E. Rykoff & Co. Two of the four large remaining buildings are occupied by clothing manufacturer American Apparel Inc.