$150M Transit-Oriented Adaptive Reuse Project Opens in California

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate Editor Los Angeles—Milbank Real Estate, a Los Angeles-based developer and real estate investment firm, recently opened its newest condominium, The Roosevelt, a 222-unit adaptive reuse project. The transit-oriented development is situated directly above the Seventh Street Metro station.Bank of America provided the construction loan for the $150 million project, which will also be receiving a tax credit from the Los Angeles Conservancy.“Over the last few years, there has been a trend of either converting some of the older office buildings into residential or building brand-new units into downtown L.A. to create a residential neighborhood in downtown,” says Aaron Yashouafar, CEO of Milbank Real Estate.The landmark building, distinguished by Beaux Arts architecture, was originally built in 1927 as an office building. “The exterior façade is registered as an historic element, as well as many of the marble details inside the building,” notes Yashouafar. The renovation of the 300,000-sq.-ft. building included gutting it, replacing all mechanical equipment, cutting floors to add two levels of parking—in addition to the already-existing two levels of sub-grade parking—cutting slabs to create some two-story lofts and adding to the building’s original roof line for the project’s 16 penthouses. The majority of the marble in the corridors has been preserved, and the entry doors have either been restored or made to match the original historic doors, Yashouafar explains.Designed by Killefer Flammang Architects, the Roosevelt offers 49 floor plans, ranging in size from 850 to over 2,800 sq. ft.  All residences have been designated as live/work units and are designed with this use of space in mind, Yashouafar tells MHN. In addition, the penthouses at the 16-story development are available in one-, two-, three- and four-levels and range in size from 1,250 to 2,700 sq. ft.  All residences feature Bosch appliances, Bontempi cabinets, Sub-Zero refrigerators and Kohler fixtures. Home prices range from $480,000 to $2.5 million.Community amenities include 24-hour valet parking, a fitness center, a rooftop deck with a pool, lounge area, cabanas and an eight-ft. wide fire pit, in addition to a community wine cellar and personal storage facilities. “The biggest obstacle we notice we have in finalizing sales is qualifying buyers for financing,” admits Yashouafar. “We have worked out some special programs with our preferred lender, and we are working with another lender to finalize unique financing for our buyers.” Despite this, The Roosevelt is currently 30 percent sold.Yashouafar attributes the property’s location, finishes and amenities to its strong sales in a deteriorating economy. “We are pleased that, in the beginning of the design, we made the decision not to cut corners on the quality of the finishes and materials, even though it might not have seemed reasonable and sound.”Additional plans for the project include two restaurants, a coffee shop and a market.