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LOS ANGELES-The Forest City Residential West division of Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises has opened its 264-unit, eight-story Met Lofts mixed-use apartment and retail development. The project, built from the ground up, is the latest example of how the Downtown L.A. housing market that began with the conversion of office buildings into apartments and condominiums has mushroomed into a trend producing developments consisting of all-new construction.

Designed by Johnson Fain architects, the project includes 11,000 sf of retail and a four-story exterior electronic art display. Forest City’s new development occupies a site at the corner of 11th and Flower streets in the Downtown L.A. South Park district, near Staples Center, shops, restaurants, museums, public transit and freeway access. Some 20% of its units are set aside for affordable housing.

Greg Vilkin, president of Forest City Residential West, notes that, as part of the city’s requirement that 1% of the value of a new project be spent on public art, Forest City commissioned Electroland to create the $1-million electronic art display that distinguishes the building.

Units at the Met Lofts range from approximately 700 sf for the lofts studios and up to 1,400 sf for the soft-lofts one- and two-bedroom units. Rents range from $1,670 to $4,700.

Amenities include a fitness training center, a billiards room, a movie screening room, a lap pool and landscaped courtyards with dining areas and barbeques. Many of the units feature private balconies or patios, and the parking is designed to provide direct access to each floor.

Kevin Ratner, SVP at Forest City Residential West, says that the 11,000 sf of ground-level retail space will be developed for tenants that might include something along the lines of a spa, market, bistro or coffee shop.

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