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LOS ANGELES-A partnership of the Agoura Hills-based Buxbaum Group and the Amerland Group has acquired the Rosslyn Hotel in Downtown L.A. for $24.5 million and plans to convert the 12-story building at 451 S. Main St. into nearly 300 affordable and market-rate apartments. The partners estimate that the renovation will cost $20 million and will take two years to complete.

Targeting households earning between 35% and 60% of the Los Angeles area’s median income, the building’s 259 new affordable “micro-loft” units will be built on floors three though nine. The 38 units on the top three floors of the building will be rented at market rates.

Scott Rusczyk, vice president of business affairs for the Buxbaum Group, comments that one of the goals of the project is to provide “desperately needed affordable work force housing to Downtown Los Angeles.” Buxbaum is a turnaround investing and consulting firm that is headed by chief executive officer Paul Buxbaum, who is co-general partner of Rosslyn Lofts Housing Partners along with the Amerland Group.

Buxbaum previously partnered with Amerland last year to acquire the historic Alexandria Hotel, which the partners are now converting into a mixture of 463 affordable rental units and commercial space. The renovation of the Alexandria is about 60% complete, with construction running on schedule, Rusczyk says.

Jeremy Turner, director of construction management for the Amerland Group, comments that it is “extremely rare to see a project like the Rosslyn Lofts where over 85% of the units are affordable.”Most mixed-income projects consist of 80% market-rate and 20% affordable units, he points out.

Jules Arthur, a principal at the Amerland Group, notes that the landlord will pay for basic electric for cooking and heating on the affordable housing floors. All apartments will include kitchenettes, all-new plumbing and electrical wiring, new bathroom fixtures, heating, finished concrete flooring and ceiling fans.

The units will also have phone, Internet and cable access. “Our goal is to provide the Internet access free to tenants,” Arthur says.

Common area amenities at the building will include on-site laundry facilities and a community room. Plans also call for 8,070 sf of ground floor retail space to serve the needs of the neighborhood.

The Buxbaum-Amerland partnership acquired the Rosslyn from 111 Zuma Corp., which had constructed market rate apartments on floors 10 through 12. The building, which was an SRO hotel until about 2005, was vacant on the remaining floors.

Funding for the partnership’s acquisition of the building was provided, in part, through $28.5 million in tax-exempt bonds issued by the California Statewide Communities Development Authority. Additional financing was provided by Citicorp Municipal Mortgage Inc., as the construction and permanent lender; the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles as the supplemental construction lender; and Red Capital Group as the tax credit investor.

The renovation will incorporate smart building technology and alternative energy sources wherever possible, and the partners expect to restore and relight the historic neon sign that reads “The Rosslyn Million Dollar Fireproof Hotel” atop the hotel, which was built in 1913.

The hotel was declared “fireproof” after the original Rosslyn Hotel burned and was replaced by the current concrete and steel structure. The structure and its name received attention in 2000 when it became the setting for the Wim Wenders film “Million Dollar Hotel,” starring Mel Gibson and Jimmy Smits.

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