Century-old apartment house near Staples sells for $3 million

A humble century-old apartment building in the shadow of the Ritz-Carlton hotel has sold for more than $3 million as the neighborhood around Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles proves to be a magnet for investors.

Los Angeles real estate investment firm TRG plans to turn the three-story brick building at 916 Georgia St. into small apartments it calls “micro lofts.”

The small units are intended to house people who work in downtown’s burgeoning bar and restaurant scene but can’t afford much of the housing in the neighborhood, TRG Principal Reuben Robin said. He decided on that strategy after chatting up numerous waiters, bartenders and other hospitality workers.


“They want to be close to work but can’t afford high-rise prices,” he said. Monthly rents at the Georgia Street building will probably be $1,200 to $1,700 when the makeover is complete early next year, he said.

TRG said it will spend $1 million on improvements including a gym, a spa, a screening room and a roof deck. The building’s 600-square-foot units will be reduced to 29 from 32.

The apartment building, completed in 1912 when downtown’s South Park was primarily a residential neighborhood, is just north of the $2.5-billion LA Live entertainment complex and two high-rise hotel developments underway on Olympic Boulevard.

A similar 100-year-old three-story apartment building a few blocks away, at 1130 S. Hope St., sold for more than $2 million in 2011 to developers who plan to turn it into a $31-million boutique hotel.

The acquisition is the first in TRG’s plan to invest up to $50 million in downtown housing over the next 18 months. The company has lost tenants from its Westside apartment buildings because they moved downtown, Robin said.

“People want that more urban feel,” he said. “You don’t have that anywhere else in the city.”


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