LOS ANGELES-MacFarlane Partners of San Francisco joined Urban Partners LLC of Los Angeles in a venture to develop and own the $103-million Wilshire Vermont Station, a mixed-use transit project now under way in the Koreatown district.Urban Partners broker ground on the project in April, with construction work to date focusing on building the new bus plaza and on improving the existing MTA subway entrance. With MacFarlane Partners now on board, work will commence on the mixed-use buildings this month, with completion expected in July 2006. MacFarlane Partners, a real estate investment manager specializing in urban development and redevelopment projects, is investing in Wilshire Vermont Station as part of its joint venture with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) to invest in urban-infill properties in major metropolitan areas nationwide. The development will be built above a Metro Red Line underground rail station operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) at Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue.The development will comprise two connected seven-story buildings with a total of 449 luxury apartment units; 35,000 sf of ground-floor retail space; and a 660-space underground parking garage. The buildings will surround a central, ground-level public plaza that will include a rebuilt and improved MTA subway entrance that will be near a new bus plaza that has already been completed for the MTA on an adjacent parcel. David Dressler, a principal with MacFarlane Partners who oversees the firm’s acquisition and development activities in Southern California, describes the project as an example of the type of mixed-use urban developments in which the company invests. Paul Keller, a principal with Urban Partners LLC, says the company hopes the project will serve as a model for future transit-oriented developments in Southern California.The MacFarlane/Urban venture will operate the project on a long-term ground lease from MTA, with 20% of the apartment units to be designated for low-income residents earning no more than 50% of the area’s median income. The project is being financed through proceeds from the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds issued by the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles.The project is being designed by the Los Angeles office of Arquitectonica, a Miami-based architectural and urban-design firm.

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