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(Don Jergler is editor of Real Estate Southern California.)

LOS ANGELES-L.A. Live developer Tim Leiweke on Tuesday railed against the idea that now is a bad time to invest in commercial real estate. Leiweke, president and CEO of Anschutz Entertainment Group, made his comments at the Southern California Investor Symposium hosted by Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Leiweke said that now is the time to be aggressive with commercial and residential development. “This is the best time to be thinking two or three years ahead of the curve,” he said.

It’s a recurring theme for the developer, whose $2.5-billion L.A. Live mixed-use complex near the AEG-owned Staples Center is expected to contribute to Downtown Los Angeles’ revitalization and highlight its status as an entertainment hub. In fact, Leiweke gave a similar speech two years ago in Downtown Long Beach encouraging development there and citing L.A. Live as the centerpiece of the Downtown L.A. renaissance. For the record, AEG also developed the Nokia Theatre, which will host the Emmys and the “American Idol” finale. L.A. Live is set to include a 1,000-plus room JW Marriott and a 123-room Ritz-Carlton hotel, luxury condos, several restaurants and clubs and possibly more hotels. Completion is set for 2010.

Leiweke noted that sales of the two hotel projects, office space and residential are going strong, and there are thousands of bookings several years out. As for the residential portion, “Two-thirds of the 224 condos have been sold,” he said.

Contrary to home prices nationwide and in the Southern California region, prices for condos in the project have not fallen, Leiweke said. “When we started they were selling at $880 per sf and now they’re at around $1,200 per sf,” he explained. “We’re not going backwards.”

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