Multifamily construction across the country may be seeing delays, but Carmel Partners is set to open the 31-story residential tower ARQ in Los Angeles’ Cumulus District by the end of the year. The company announced that leasing will begin this summer, as demand for luxury units continues to rise in Culver City and neighboring West Adams.
ARQ is a Solomon Cordwell Buenz-designed project, with interior design provided by Rodrigo Vargas Design. Located near the Expo Line light rail stop at the intersection of Jefferson and La Cienega boulevards, ARQ will encompass 300 units as well as a number of luxury amenities which, according to Managing Principal Andy Sands, will address residents’ key concerns such as health and wellness. Sands shared with Multi-Housing News what his favorite project features are, as well as why he believes Cumulus District will promote a new idea of living in L.A.
How did you adjust your protocols to prepare for the new project opening amid these challenging times?
Sands: In the early stages of the pandemic, California deemed residential construction an essential business, allowing the Cumulus District project and ARQ to move forward. The health and safety of our associates remained our foremost priority. Therefore, during this unprecedented pandemic, we have greatly increased our current safety measures to include an elevated protocol that requires daily wellness and temperature checks for all staff, strict hand-washing and increased personal hygiene practices, along with mandatory face coverings or masks which must be worn while on-site. In addition, proper sanitary equipment was provided to all staff.
Why did you choose the corridor between Culver City and West Adams for developing Cumulus District and ARQ?
Sands: Culver City and West Adams are two neighborhoods that are going through an incredible renaissance at the moment due to the influx of fast-growing tech, media and entertainment industry companies and jobs. Cumulus District not only provides a much-needed housing supply to accommodate the area’s growing workforce, but it also offers a community focused on accessibility and an enhanced quality of life. Our intention with the project was to develop a destination within the heart of this micro-neighborhood that reflects how Los Angeles is transforming, while celebrating the history of West Adams and Culver City.
What’s the story behind the project’s name?
Sands: Cumulus District is named after its historic location set on the former Cumulus Media broadcast site. With this in mind, the names of both residential buildings—ARQ and VOX—are inspired by Cumulus’ radio heritage, and reflect the legacy of entertainment and media that continues to thrive in the neighborhood. The name ARQ is derived from the abbreviation in the radio industry of “automatic repeat, request.” VOX, meaning voice, is the name of the midrise residential building whose design will focus on integrating music, sound and movement throughout.
How is ARQ different from what’s being built in the L.A. market right now?
Sands: ARQ is situated atop Cumulus District in the center of this new development. At 31-stories, ARQ is the tallest free-standing structure in the area, transforming the West L.A. landscape.
The project encompasses a suite of amenities like rooftop pools, coworking spaces, entertainment and media rooms and transitional indoor/outdoor spaces. In addition, it will include 100,000 square feet of retail space featuring a Whole Foods along with a well-balanced range of restaurants and bars, boutique retail and health and wellness studios.
What are some of your favorite features of this project?
Sands: From the sixth-floor clubhouse to the spectacular 31st-floor rooftop deck, the building’s amenity spaces are designed to foster social encounters and enhance connectivity and safe interaction among residents. My favorite features are the versatile outdoor spaces including the resort-style pool deck and the rooftop sky lounge, as both of them offer a sense of place, as well as panoramic views of L.A.’s cityscape.
What can you tell us about ARQ’s design, and how is the building addressing key issues such as sustainability and health and wellness?
Sands: ARQ’s modern design is meant to encourage a seamless flow between the indoors and outdoors. Amenities include a state-of-the-art fitness center, yoga and spin room with an outdoor fitness deck; a Junior Olympic-sized pool and cabana deck; and a rooftop splash pool, terrace and spa, with a lounge and dining area. Long before the pandemic, ARQ was designed in such a way that it will cater to social distancing, featuring design elements such as transitionary spaces, intimately scaled settings, expansive indoor and outdoor lounge areas and private balconies.
Sustainable design elements integrated into the building include a solar-ready roof design with EnergySmart Roof for cooling and for reducing heat island effect, plumbing fixtures with low-flow rates for increased water conservation and outdoor potable water use, and irrigation controllers for the landscape. Additionally, five percent of the private residential parking spaces have electric vehicle charging stations.
The mixed-use project, Cumulus District, is also designed for the environmentally conscious citizen. Tell us how you’ll achieve this.
Sands: Cumulus District is pioneering a new idea of L.A. living, untethered by the limitations of transportation and commuting obstacles that stunt other neighborhoods. Centrally located between L.A.’s Westside and coastal beaches and DTLA’s urbanism, the project is steps from the Expo Line and allows residents and visitors to sidestep traffic in favor of walkability and eco-friendly commute opportunities.
Unique to L.A., the design of Cumulus inspires pedestrian activity within the community by incorporating Zocalo, a one-acre outdoor park set in the heart of the development and surrounded by a well-balanced mix of retail and dining opportunities. Once completed, our hope is it will serve as a popular neighborhood hub for community events and social gatherings.
What impact do you expect ARQ to have on L.A.’s multifamily market?
Sands: With Amazon, Apple and Sony studios just blocks away and Silicon Beach corporate campuses a short commute over, ARQ fulfills a significant lack of housing needed within the West L.A. neighborhoods. In high-density cities such as L.A., we continue to see a high demand for housing and a low supply. ARQ’s 300 rental units, paired with the innovative destination of Cumulus District, are expected to serve as a catalyst for the area that will not only attract people from other neighborhoods and provide a community meeting place for existing residents, but will function as a model for other mixed-use developments in neighboring cities.
Tell us your predictions on how leasing the building will go this year?
Sands: Since ARQ started to take shape, we have seen significant interest from prospective tenants. Moreover, as Cumulus District will house another residential building option next to ARQ, VOX, which will be delivered in 2021, tenants will have their choice of living in either a luxury high-rise with unobstructed views of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean or in a more casual mid-rise that is inspired by culture and found objects.
How do you think demand for luxury units in the L.A. area will shift in the upcoming quarters considering the economic slowdown?
Sands: There continues to be a shortage of housing in Los Angeles and we are confident that there will be continued demand for thoughtfully designed luxury housing that brings together unique indoor and outdoor amenities close to transportation and growing employment centers.