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MacFarlane Moving Forward With Residential Towers In Downtown LA

Vastly Scaled-Back Project Overlooking Pershing Square Slated to Begin Construction Next Year
July 1, 2014
The downtown Los Angeles residential building boom continues, with MacFarlane Partners acquiring a prime parcel overlooking Pershing Square for construction of high-rise and mid-rise towers totaling more than 600 apartment and condominium units and 17,000 square feet of retail.

After a long development drought, nearly 100 building projects are under way in the downtown L.A. market, many of them high-profile residential, hotel and office high-rises. The Park Fifth project at the northeast corner of Fifth and Olive Streets "reflects our confidence in the strong market for apartment properties downtown, which continues to experience a significant increase in rents," according to Greg Vilkin, MacFarlane Partners managing principal and president.

The transit-oriented development on the 99,000-square-foot site kitty-corner to the historic Millennium Biltmore Hotel is still under design, but plans call for a much smaller project than that envisioned by the site’s previous owner, Africa-Israel USA.

The project totaling 600,000 square feet of residential space and retail will incorporate the company's signature smart growth and new urbanism concepts, Vilkin added.

Negotiations for the purchase of the site began about a year ago. The project is now fully entitled and was approved by the city this past spring.

Previous plans approved in 2008 during the recession by AFI-USA, primarily a builder of luxury residential in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami and Phoenix, called for residential towers of 76 and 44 stories connected by another 15-story residential building with hotel, retail and restaurant space.

A Newmark Grubb Knight Frank team of Jimmy Kuhn in New York and Chris Cooney, Josh Levy and Matt Dobson in Los Angeles brokered the sale. The parties did not publicly disclose the sale price.

"Our design will create a spectacular ‘central park’ of more than half an acre of open space and amenities on the podium deck between the two buildings," said Jeff Berris, managing director, development of MacFarlane Partners. "You will not find this size of private landscaped space anywhere else in downtown Los Angeles."

Construction of the property is expected to begin in mid-2015.

For more information on this transaction, please see CoStar COMPs #3056443.

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