LOS ANGELES-Developers are either under way or have unveiledplans for 900 multifamily units that range from a 151-unitconversion of a hotel to brand-new luxury apartments and eightaffordable housing complexes by one developer―among thema 21-unit ground-up condominium development. The projects are anindication that, while construction remains stalled in some sectorsbecause of the recession, notably the office market, multifamilyhas managed to maintain some building momentum.

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The largest single project in terms of number of units is theconversion of the 85-year-old Ford Hotel at 1000 E. Seventh St. inDowntown Los Angeles into a 151-unit residence for low-incomesingle residents. Construction is under way on the $12 millionconversion of the six-story building, which is being developed bythe non-profit SRO Housing Corp. of Los Angeles and designed bySanta Monica-based Killefer Flammang Architects. The conversion isa LEED-equivalent project, according to Bob Timmerman, KFAprincipal and project manager. Funding for the $12 million projectwill be provided by the Community Redevelopment Agency, MentalHealth Services Act, Affordable Housing Program and taxcredits.

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One of the most unusual of the developments is a 21-unitcondominium project by Westwood-based developer California Landmarkon a former utility company parking lot on Prosser Avenue, justsouth of Santa Monica Boulevard and west of Beverly Glen, adjacentto the developer's corporate headquarters. California Landmarkpresident and CEO Ken Kahan describes it as "one of our smallestprojects in the last fifteen years," but adds, "We’re nonethelessvery happy to get a shovel in the ground." Kahan says CaliforniaLandmark plans two additional new projects in Los Angeles earlynext year.

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In the case of its new project, "The fundamentals are strong,”Kahan says. “Construction costs are down. The location is great. Wehave a wonderful design. And subcontractors with whom we havelongstanding relationships are hungry to get back to work and areputting their A‐Team on the project.” Wells Fargo Bankoriginated the construction loan, one of its first for amultifamily condominium development since the meltdown in capitalmarkets in 2008.

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The largest number of units announced by one developer is the486 affordable apartments that Agoura Hills-based AmcalMulti-Housing Inc. has under way or in planned for eight separateprojects in Los Angeles, Orange, Fresno and Kern counties. Federal,state and local agencies, as well as the American RecoveryReinvestment Act, will contribute to funding over $112.4 million indevelopment costs for the construction of the eight complexes.

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The eight projects include the 75-unit Andalucia and the 56-unitMosaic in Los Angeles, the 98-unit Montecito seniors complex inPanorama City, the 34-unit Mirandela seniors complex in RanchoPalos Verdes, the 36-unit Royale family complex in Westminster, the56-unit Santa Fe complex in Bakersfield, the 81-unit Cordova familycomplex in Selma and the 50-unit Summer Hill family complex inFresno.

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The Mosaic is Amcal's newest mixed-use work force housingdevelopment and is under way in the Pico‐Unionneighborhood west of downtown Los Angeles. The project, whichreplaces an abandoned commercial building, will feature twostreet-level retail spaces along Pico Boulevard in addition to its56 affordable units. Designed by Killefer Flammang, the new complexis scheduled to open in 2011 and will be a part of Pico-Union’srevitalization, according to Amcal CEO Percy Vaz.

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Another Los Angeles complex now under way is the 70-unit Villasat Gower at 1726 N. Gower St. in Hollywood, a $30.5 million projectset aside for the formerly homeless and low-income families. It isbeing built on land owned by the Community Redevelopment Agency ofthe City of Los Angeles and leased to developers. The project,designed by Killefer Flammang, will include extensive socialservices for access to health and dental care, mental health care,after school tutoring, job training and more.

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Yet another Los Angeles project under way is the $29.6-millionSeventh and Coronado Apartments at 2614 W. Seventh St., anaffordable housing development partially funded by the CRA. It isbeing developed by the Los Angeles Housing Partnership, along withCRA/LA, the City Council and the Community Foundation Land Trust,which gave a 99-year ground lease for the project. Located near theWestlake MacArthur Park Metro Red Line station, the project isdesigned to meet LEED Silver certification requirements. Theproject is 100% smoke-free and is near another smoke-freedevelopment that is already completed, the 57-unit Seven Maplesseniors complex.

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In Encino, Jan Development plans a first-quarter 2011 opening ofa 125-unit mixed-use apartment and retail project called LegadoEncino, according to NAI Capital brokers J. Richard Leyner, DouglasCole, Emily Jori and Michael Sharon, who have the retail listingfor the 17,000 square feet of retail at the project at 16710Ventura Blvd. The four-story complex will feature retail space from1,200 square feet and up, with a space of 5,000 to 7,000 squarefeet for a restaurant.

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