The $250-million development
will feature 640 apartments.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA-Those who follow @GlobeStcom on Twitter and @GlobeStLIVE may have seen a post teasing the announcement, but GlobeSt.com has learned that Sonny Astani, founder and chairman of the Beverly Hills real estate firm Astani Enterprises, and parking giant L&R Group have closed escrow on the purchase of a three-acre site in downtown Los Angeles. The $29-million purchase paves the way for a planned $250-million development here.

The site is bounded by Olive Street, Grand Avenue, Pico Boulevard and 12th Street; and is located in downtown’s South Park, just east of the Convention Center and LA Live. Currently, the site consists of 117,500 square feet and is divided by an alley. The site is currently comprised of 15 parcels, which operate as surface parking lots.

The seller of the South Park site is the State Bar of California, which recently announced its $50 million purchase of an office building and parking lot at 845 S. Figueroa Street, where the State Bar intends to relocate its headquarters. 

Astani and the L&R Group plan to develop the site into 640 apartment units, which will be delivered in two phases, with the initial 300 units built being followed by a build of 340 units. There will also be 42,000 square feet of retail space. According to Astani, “This deal is the last unspoken acreage in the South Park area of downtown which is shaping up nicely as a live/work neighborhood that is close enough to USC.”

According to Astani, it is a wonderful time to be an L.A. developer. He cites the “working mass transit system” and “a generation of young Angelenos who are embracing it,” as supporting factors. 

Astani has been on a land spree of late, having bought three major sites in Downtown, Koreatown, and Hollywood since September 2012 with 2,500 units in $1 billion worth of mixed-use buildings in the pipeline for development. As GlobeSt.com previously posted, one of those developments calls for a $100-million mixed-use development on Hollywood Boulevard.

In the recent RealShare Apartments 2012 conference here in L.A., multifamily development was called “a bright spot on the horizon.” The development panel, moderated by John Condas, a partner at law firm Allen Matkins, included: Andrew Baker, vice president of development at Essex Property Trust; Scott Choppin, founder and chief executive of Urban Pacific Group of Cos.; Mark Humphreys, chief executive officer of Humphreys & Partners Architects; Paul Kurzawa, chief operating officer of Caruso Affiliated; and Bill Montgomery, president of acquisitions and development at Sares-Regis Group. To see the panel video, click here.