SOURCE: Amerland Group

October 20, 2009 11:00 ET

Renters Snatching Up Affordable Downtown Los Angeles Apartments at Rosslyn Lofts, as Leasing Activity Exceeds Expectations

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - October 20, 2009) - With more than 160 of its affordable Micro-Lofts® leased in just three months and applications pending on another 38 units, the window of opportunity to find a home at the Rosslyn Lofts at 451 S. Main Street in downtown L.A. is closing. All affordable apartments at fully renovated former hotel building offer desirable features like modern kitchenettes, all-new fixtures, exposed brickwork, finished concrete floors, and free utilities and high-speed Internet access.

"Leasing activity has absolutely exceeded our expectations since the time our 250 affordable units hit the market in early July; the phones have been ringing off the hook," said Jules Arthur, a principal at San Diego-based The Amerland Group, which partnered in the development with Paul Buxbaum, chief executive officer of Buxbaum Group, a turnaround investing and consulting firm based in Agoura Hills. "Rosslyn Lofts has clearly struck a chord with people seeking hip, yet affordable, housing in a convenient downtown setting."

To date, residents signing leases for the renovated units include artists; retirees; employees of downtown offices, retail stores and restaurants; municipal workers; as well as graduate students and part-time undergraduate students. Tenants range in age from 18 to 73.

Among the 297 apartments at Rosslyn Lofts, 259 qualify as affordable housing -- targeting households earning between 35% and 60% of the Los Angeles area's median income. The 38 larger units on the building's top three floors have all been rented at market rates. Rents on the remaining affordable Micro-Lofts® range from $789 to $832, including all utilities and hard-wired, high-speed Internet. The remaining units that are being released are located on the higher floors, many with sweeping views of the city.

"Unlike some developments in which approximately just 20% of the units are affordable, Rosslyn Lofts will offer a true blend of incomes along the lines of the mixed-income housing developments commonly found in New York City," Arthur noted.

All apartments in the controlled access building include newly equipped kitchenettes, all-new plumbing and electrical wiring, large closets, new bathroom fixtures and window treatments, finished concrete flooring, exposed brickwork, heating, and ceiling fans. In addition to Internet access, all units are wired for phone and cable access. Select floor plans include sweeping city views. The building's spacious lobby provides a comfortable meeting area for residents, and the retail space beneath includes several art galleries. Other amenities include on-site laundry facilities.

This badly needed influx of quality, affordable housing in the city's historic district is the fruition of a $20 million renovation carried out by Rosslyn Lofts Housing Partners L.P., which purchased the former Rosslyn Hotel in October 2007 for $24.5 million with the intent of transforming it into a residential building that would cater to the city's underserved downtown workforce. Built by the Hart brothers in 1913, the concrete-and-steel building was known for decades as the "Rosslyn Million Dollar Fireproof Hotel." Frequently featured in both Hollywood and international films, it was designed by John Parkinson, architect of Union Station, City Hall and the LA Coliseum.

In addition to the aforementioned features, the renovation incorporated "smart building" technology and alternative-energy sources where possible, and the new owners restored and relit the historic rooftop neon sign that reads "The Rosslyn Million Dollar Fireproof Hotel."

The Rosslyn Lofts are located in the heart of an emerging cultural hub that has experienced a renaissance in recent years, with numerous office buildings being converted to luxury lofts, and a plethora of new art galleries, eclectic restaurants, hip bars and renovated historic theaters -- including the Orpheum, home of "American Idol." Other points within close proximity include City Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Staples Center, The Standard Hotel, Union Station, the USC Campus, and Olvera Street.

The building is also in walking distance of the downtown's new financial district and just three blocks from the Pershing Square metro station. For those with cars, the site is convenient to major freeways and limited parking is available in the building's underground parking deck.

The trend toward revitalizing downtown cores with loft and condominium developments has taken a hit nationwide as a result of the economic downturn and credit crisis. According to Arthur, downtown L.A. had made significant progress with its revitalization efforts, but has continued to offer relatively few options for renters seeking quality housing in the range of $500 to $850 a month -- essentially the middle ground between the city's lower-income single-room-occupancy (SRO) hotels and its upper-income luxury condos. "Rosslyn Lofts helps fill that critical void," he concluded.

For leasing information, call (213) 503-6171 or visit www.rosslynlofts.net.