Los Angeles Mixed-Income Community 100 Percent Leased

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorLos Angeles—Hikari, a 128-unit public-private partnership between The Related Companies, MacFarlane Partners and the City of Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency, is now 100 percent leased. Built with RDA funds, the mixed-use, mixed-income apartment community is located in LA’s Little Tokyo district and was developed on an urban infill site of a parking lot. Designed by TCA (Thomas P. Cox: Architects), Hikari was built on a triangular site of less than an acre in size, allowing for a high-density project of five residential stories above one level of retail. The building’s architecture references its location and the heritage of Little Tokyo, while also maintaining a more contemporary look, explains David Smith, principal and director of design for TCA. The site also includes some large-scale elements that reference Japanese theater masks, he tells MHN.According to Gino Canori, vice president-development, Related California, the target demographic for the project is mostly young professionals and students from Southern California Institute of Architecture and the University of Southern California.“Hikari has the advantage—compared to the majority of downtown competitors—of being situated within walking distance to bars, restaurants, entertainment and local businesses,” Canori tells MHN. “Customers love the cool and sleek design of the lobby, media center, business center and pool area. They also enjoy the boutique size [of the property] and personal attention to detail from our on-site staff.”Because of the site’s shape, the project offers 20 different floor plans and features studios, one- and two-bedroom units. Monthly market-rate rents range from $1,500 to $3,095. In addition, 20 percent of the residences are reserved for low-income residents, and average monthly rents for these units are $638.Units feature open kitchens and glass and light that draws attention to the skyline views, Smith says. “Once you decide that you’re not pursuing the traditional older renter, it allows you to do things that Gen Y renters don’t have a problem with, as long as it’s done well,” he tells MHN.Site amenities include a pool, fitness center, resident lounge, business center and underground parking. In addition, the 11,600 sq. ft. of retail space includes such businesses as Fed-Ex and Johnny Rockets. The site is also within walking distance to various bus stops and the Red Line subway.“With the resurgence of L.A. as a place where people want to live, I think that everyone agrees that the diversity of the residents—not only economically, but also where they come from—really adds to the vitality in every form, in terms of the shops available and what people are interested in,” says Smith. “Putting some affordability in is a really laudable idea, and Related should get a lot of credit for that.”Financing for the project was provided through tax-exempt bonds, tax credits and a subsidy from the Community Redevelopment Agency.