COVER STORY, APRIL 2006
ADDRESS FOR SUCCESS
New multifamily developments combine location and luxury.
Brianne Gloski and Brian A. Lee
By the looks of many new residential developments in the West, multifamily living isn’t just a stage before home ownership. These properties give residents amenities aplenty without distancing them from the charm and attractions of the surrounding cities.
Old Town San Pedro will soon be home to its first high-rise residential waterfront community once Vue breaks ground in June. The $175 million development is the vision of Raffi Cohen, the president of Galaxy Commercial Holding LLC, who has owned the Vue site since 2000. Located at Fifth and Palos Verdes streets, just a short drive across the Vincent Thomas Bridge to Long Beach, the 318-unit, 16-story project is within close proximity to Old Town San Pedro’s restaurants, art district and of course, its port and waterfront.
Offering plush amenities inside and tremendous views outside, the $175 million Vue will be the first high-rise residential waterfront community in Old Town San Pedro, California.
“One of Galaxy’s development philosophies is looking for and identifying up and coming areas and then contributing to that process of development not only of the specific site but seeing what other things in the area can contribute to a really great living experience,” says Rhonda Slavik, marketing manager for the Vue. “And San Pedro was perfect for that.”
Vue is named for its ocean, harbor, Palos Verdes Peninsula and city views and offers 27 floor plans in one-, two- and three-bedroom formats, ranging in size from 700 square feet to more than 1,713 square feet. Amenities include a landscaped courtyard designed around a pool with private cabanas, a rooftop sky deck on the 16th floor, a lounge, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a Yoga and Pilates studio, a controlled access system and a five-story parking structure with parking for 725 vehicles. Each unit is designed to include private terraces and balconies to take advantage of the amazing views.
“[We’re] very focused on amenities and a great finish level that will be attractive to buyers not only now but be relevant 10, 15, 20 years from now and be located in a very iconic, recognizable building,” says Slavik.
Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Galaxy is developing Vue in a joint venture partnership with The Carlyle Group and has looked to Kobi Moses, principal of Santa Monica, Calif.-based GMP Architects, for the design of the project.
“Together they came up with the identity and feeling of the building that they wanted and it’s taken off from there,” Slavik says.
One of the most unexpected events of the development process is the heightened interest level from prospective buyers. Advertising began in the last week of January, and after four weekends the interest list includes more that 1,200 people. Slavik is surprised by the interest list. “Normally marketing would fall under that category [of biggest challenges], but our interest list has been so strong, we feel it’s a really good indicator about how sales are going to go.”
Demolition of an existing structure on the Vue site is scheduled for May, and Galaxy and Carlyle will begin building the high-rise property in June. The project is slated for an early 2008 occupancy.
This is Galaxy’s first project in the San Pedro/ Long Beach area and its first for-sale housing, ground-up project. The company was attracted to the project because of its location as one of the last unknown waterfront areas in California.
“People have seen values in the properties increase dramatically in the last 2 years, from downtown Los Angeles to San Diego,” says Slavik. “Long Beach has undergone a huge revitalization and a lot of that is carrying over to interest in San Pedro because it’s so close. It has a lot of the same characteristics that you would want [in a neighborhood], all the basic, great things you need for a good urban living experience.”
Optima Camelview Village
More than 500 of the luxury condos at Optima Camelview Village in Scottsdale, Arizona, have been sold already, with the resort-style community set to open in late spring or early summer.
Optima Camelview Village, featuring the unique design of architect and Optima president David Hovey, will consist of 11 separate buildings ranging from six to seven stories high. Located just north of Scottsdale Fashion Square between Scottsdale Road and Goldwater Boulevard, the development will offer homes ranging in size from 800 to 5,000 square feet. Prices began in the $300,000s and have gone as high as $5 million.
“Optima focuses on infill architectural developments that will offer a refreshing change and vitality to an existing community,” says Hovey. “The location of Optima Camelview Village is just north of one of the nation’s fastest growing affluent cities with numerous luxury resorts, golf courses, entertainment and shopping.”
The designer/developer is creating the community according to the green-roof guidelines required by LEED, and the 14-acre community will be free of asphalt as all the parking will be underground.
Other amenities include a private 24,000-square-foot fitness center, outdoor putting green, racquetball/basketball courts, three swimming pools, three spas, a business center, a party room and a retail component that caters to residents’ needs.
Houston-based The Hanover Company is bringing its time-tested multifamily residential formula to the Seattle area with the development of a 20-story, luxury rental high-rise in downtown Bellevue, Washington. Located at 1020 108th Avenue, the property will consist of 129 residences averaging 1,238 square feet per unit.
“Residents will appreciate the contemporary exterior architecture with classic interior layouts,” says Eric Kenney, a development partner. “1020 Tower will boast almost 10-foot ceilings throughout the residences, a unique aspect in the Seattle/Bellevue market.”
Residents will be able to enjoy an Internet café and complimentary gourmet coffee and tea bar adjacent to the decorative entry lobby. There will also be a Hollywood-style screening room with stadium seating and surround sound, state-of-the-art fitness center, a gourmet demonstration kitchen, four levels of subterranean parking with secure resident access, and 4,627 square feet of ground-level retail.
The $70 million residential development is slated to break ground this month, with a completion date of March 2008. CollinsWoerman is the project’s architect.
3000 The Plaza
Sticking with a successful formula, Opus West affiliate OWR Development Inc. and Geoffrey H. Edmunds California Inc. are partnering once again to take residential vertical in Orange County. Located next to their first high-rise project in Irvine, The Plaza-Irvine, 3000 The Plaza will be a luxury, 15-story high-rise condominium complex and the first residential tower in the market to feature a rooftop swimming pool and large entertainment area. Its cachet doesn’t end there though.
“Unit sizes will be larger than many of the multifamily projects in Orange County and will emphasize large, open living areas,” says Opus West’s Matt Montgomery. “Each unit will come with its own wine locker located on the terrace level.”
3000 The Plaza will consist of 105 residences, ranging in size from 1,375 to 3,025 square feet and in price tag from $700,000 into the $2 millions. Layouts comprise one-, two- and three-bedroom plans. The property will have five levels of gated underground and above street-level parking, providing room for two spaces per residence. Groundbreaking for the McLarand Vasquez & Partners International-designed project is scheduled for June. Montgomery reports that 35 to 40 percent of 3000 The Plaza units have already been sold.
Hotel Condos Are Rising in Las Vegas
Although Donald Trump has his name on the marquee, the magnificent condominium hotel units in the 64-floor Trump International Hotel and Tower - Las Vegas will be owned by someone else — buyers who will live there full or part time.
All around Las Vegas, construction cranes are working on thousands of new condo-hotel rooms. This boom is not limited to the Nevada desert destination, but it is a major factor in the burgeoning hospitality industry in the busiest tourist town in America, where hotel occupancy averages more than 90 percent.
When the Trump Tower opens its lobby doors in 2007, individuals will have purchased condo units ranging in price from $500,000 to more than $5 million for studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. But ownership of these private residences will be transparent to guests, who will find the accommodations to be just like any other 5-star hotel with white-gloved doormen at the lobby, valet parking, gourmet restaurants, fitness centers, spas and an awesome view of Las Vegas.
“At a time when traditional hotel financing may be difficult to secure, developers can obtain upfront capital from buyers. For buyers, the condo-hotels offer a prime location with hotel amenities, and they could make money if the value appreciates, as well as from potential rental income,” says Jim Mace, a partner with Snell & Wilmer.
Other major condo-hotel developments in Las Vegas include the $600 million, 50-story Palms Place with 599 units; Las Ramblas, a condo-hotel with casino, nightclub and shopping location with 11 towers and more than 4,400 units; The Residences at the MGM Grand, a joint venture by Turnberry & Associates and MGM Grand, located next to the MGM Grand where the theme park was previously located; and the $5 billion MGM MIRAGE where plans for an “urban metropolis” of hotels, condos and retail shops are underway for the Strip.
Brian Hulse, a Snell & Wilmer partner, says there is a clear distinction between condominium ownership and timeshares. This is the purchase of a condominium unit, and the owner can use it full time, part time or never, and owners typically have the option to put their unit into a rental program when they are not using the unit. In addition, Mace points out that owners are assessed shared costs and pay monthly condo fees similar to traditional condominium developments.
Huge growth in the Las Vegas hospitality sector has fueled these projects, and Hulse believes they will find future application in other growing western markets, especially in Utah, Arizona, and Colorado, where mountain and desert resorts are prime locations for second residences and where visitors flock to destination hotspots.
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