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LOS ANGELES-The new 26-story 717 Olympic luxury apartment tower, a joint venture of the Hanover Co. and MetLife Inc., will soon open its doors in Downtown L.A. next to the Staples Center with 151 live/work units for lease. The JV has developed the new project in the middle of the L.A. Live entertainment complex that includes the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, the Grammy Museum and other entertainment, shopping and cultural amenities either planned or completed.

The new tower, slated to open in May, is the most recent entry in the Downtown L.A. residential and entertainment scene, which hardly existed a few years ago but has since grown to thousands of units of newly built and redeveloped apartments and condominiums as well as hotel and retail projects. Last year, for example, a development partnership headed by the Anschutz Co.’s AEG subsidiary kicked off construction of a $900-million, 1,001-room Marriott Hotel and Ritz-Carlton condominiums.

Like the Hanover-MetLife partnership, the hotel project has well-capitalized sponsors, including MacFarlane Partners as a development partner and Wachovia Corp.as a founding partner. The 54-story Marriott Hotel, which will be topped by 224 condominiums, will be the centerpiece of a new development near the Staples Center, which is owned and operated by AEG.

The 717 Olympic tower features units of one and two bedrooms, including penthouse apartments, that the developers describe as “equal to a luxury home or condominium.” It features a host of luxury amenities, including an Eighth Floor “Orbit Lounge” that opens to a landscaped rooftop terrace, a 24-hour fitness club, valet parking and dry cleaning, concierge services and other amenities typically associated with hotels.

The 717 Olympic project is one of a number of developments by Hanover and MetLife of mixed-use, low-rise, mid-rise and high-rise projects in Valencia, Pasadena, Irvine and Downtown San Diego. The partnership is also finishing construction on a 60-unit luxury apartment project called Viridian in L.A.’s Wilshire corridor.

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