How we think about apartment design

When you’re designing apartment buildings, you need to resolve the following tension: You want the units to be cool enough to attract tenants today, while making them timeless enough to attract tenants for decades to come.

We have settled on what I like to think of as “authentic Socal minimalism”:

  • “Authentic”, because we avoid using any material trying to be something else… no fake wood, no fake cabinets, no cheap hardware masquerading as fancy, etc;
  • “Socal”, because we emphasize informal, open floorplans with indoor-outdoor flow, so residents can enjoy our amazing weather; and
  • “Minimal”, because we keep the stylistic flourishes to a minimum, to allow tenants to put their own stamp on these homes AND to keep the units from looking dated as tastes evolve.

Since we put a lot of thought into this stuff, it’s super cool when we see tenants embrace our aesthetic and use it as a canvas for their own creativity… like these tenants did at a really cool, small building we manage in East Hollywood.

Finishing up a five unit

Just finished a cool five unit building in an area we know really, really well. It’s actually the third building we’ve done on the same block!

To be honest, we knew this deal was a great one the moment we got it under contract… it was so good that the broker tried to chase us out of the deal during escrow (presumably because he had so many other buyers willing to pay more).

It’s one thing to go under contract on a deal that feels like a home-run on the numbers. It’s another to actually execute.

In this instance, Jon had to wrestle with structures that were were built prior to the imposition in LA of recognizably modern building codes in the 1920s. This means designing around an asymmetric building, which meant that all the units had to be unique.

That meant more work for him… but I the units came out pretty well, though, right?

(Note: Unlike a bunch of buildings I’ve seen lately, these ceilings were done with permits… which requires a whole bunch of specialized engineering, structural and roof work.)

One unit left at our brand new complex on Ave 50 in Highland Park

Think we still have one unit left at the small building we just built on Ave 50, right near all the cool stuff in Highland Park.

It’s a 3/2 with two parking spaces, laundry, AC, etc. for around $3000.

Figueroa there is probably the most interesting retail corridor in the city right now… loads of new shops, coffee, bars, etc.

Here are some pics:

Email this guy if you want to jump on this.

Competing with cowboys

We spend a lot of time looking at rental listings to ascertain market pricing for apartments of various types in different neighborhoods.

Recently, we’ve seen a lot of renovated product come onto the market.

Out of interest, I often check to see who owns the buildings and whether they’ve pulled the relevant permits for the renovations.

Very, very often, the answer is “no”.

This drives me crazy, because we are scrupulous about complying with city laws, even at great expense, and it’s ridiculous to have to compete with people who cut corners.

So far, I have refrained from doing anything about my frustration. But it’s getting harder and harder.

4424 Burns is done

Yet another renovation project. This one is walking distance to Virgil Village / Sunset Junction.

The building is a mix of 3 bed / 2 bath and 1 bed / 1 bath units.

The 3/2s, pictured below, are really impressive. I think they’re the best 3 beds we’ve ever done… great ceiling height, great windows, all the modern conveniences (AC, w/d, etc.), parking, outdoor space. Oh, and they’re rent stabilized, meaning that, once you live there, you live there.

We’ve opened the property up for pre-leasing while we finish the last few details. If you’re interested in getting to the head of the line, email kayla [at] adaptiverealty [dot] com.
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