LOS ANGELES—Laramar, a Chicago-basedmultifamily investor and owner, is focused onexpanding its portfolio in high-density urban submarkets, accordingto Matt Levy, VP of acquisitions in Laramar's L.A.office. In an earlier story, GlobeSt.com reported that Laramarpurchased a 14-property multifamily portfolio for $45 million fromWilliam Holdings. The portfolio has propertieslocated in the Hollywood, Koreatown and Los Feliz neighborhoods,and is a good illustration of Laramar's broader investmentstrategy.

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“We are in a very competitive marketplace, and we areattracted to being in high-density urban locations,” Levy tellsGlobeSt.com. “This portfolio in Hollywood, East Hollywood, LosFeliz and Koreatown certainly represents our urban strategy, whichis to create critical mass in some of the best urban locations, notjust in Southern California but in some of the most significantmetropolitan areas, such as San Francisco, Denver, Chicago,Minneapolis and Miami.”

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These submarkets have seen their share of activity this month,including the massive sale of the Vermont apartmentbuilding in Koreatown. Laramar's interest in these neighboringsubmarkets is the prime job centers, including several majorhospitals, which provide a built-in tenant pool. “I believe thatthese are markets that have been strong for a long period of time,but as we see continued growth in Southern California and LosAngeles, both for job sectors and as movement back in to urbanareas, these submarkets are precisely the areas where youngprofessionals want to be,” he says. “Given the affordability gapthat exists in Los Angeles between home ownership opportunities andurban rental opportunities, we can attract and provide ahigh-quality living experience in close proximity to these variousjob bases.”

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To help attract tenants and young professionals, Laramar plansto conduct a multi-million value-add renovationprogram over the next several years as leases roll.

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“We want to have a balance between providing approachablehousing, meaning that the workforce will still be able to live inthese properties, and improving the quality of these properties,”says Levy. Each property in the portfolio has a 98% occupancy,which will guide the renovation process; however, according toLevy, “in rent-control properties there is a 30%turnover at a minimum on the average every year.” He adds, “This isgoing to be an organic process, but we will certainly look to plansome of the renovation program upfront.”

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.