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WOODLAND HILLS, CA-The Western Region of the Houston-based Dinerstein Cos. has unveiled plans for a $130 million, 438-unit LEED Silver-certified luxury apartment project called the Millennium Warner Center that is slated to be ready for occupancy by summer of 2010. Josh Vasbinder, Beverly Hills-based West Coast partner with Dinerstein, tells GlobeSt.com that the company closed recently on the land purchase for the development and expects to begin construction later this year or early next year to meet the target opening date of summer 2010.

The new apartment complex, which is one of a number of projects that Dinerstein has in various stages of planning and development in Southern California, is along Kittridge Street between Eton and Variel avenues, near the major cross streets of Canoga Avenue and Vanowen Street. All of the California developments are being managed through the Beverly Hills office of Dinerstein, a privately held, third-generation family-owned company that has been in business for 56 years.

The Dinerstein development site is the location of the former Woodland Hills swap meet, which Dinerstein bought from private investors. The Millennium Warner Center will be a series of four-story buildings wrapped around four stories of parking, all of it above ground.

The Millennium is a Dinerstein Cos. brand, which Vasbinder describes as “contemporary urban architecture.” The Millennium apartments include features like upgraded finishes and appliances, high ceilings and generally “a bit more of an urban design than your traditional apartment complex,” Vasbinder explains. The Millennium Warner Center will include units ranging from approximately 680 sf to 1,400 sf, and from one to three bedrooms.

In addition to its general location in a multifamily submarket where occupancy has been running in the 95% range for years on end, the specific location of the Dinerstein development benefits from proximity to the Westfield Topanga and Westfield Promenade malls, Vasbinder points out. He says that Dinerstein chose this location for its new development in large part because, “We believe that the Woodland Hills-Warner Center area has great long-term potential.”

Dinerstein likes the idea that Westfield is expanding and redeveloping its malls in the area, which will create “the largest contiguous mall in the state of California,” Vasbinder notes. He says the Millennium Warner Center will be “a stone’s throw” from more than three million sf of shopping, dining and entertainment.

The new Dinerstein project in Woodland Hills is part of a development pipeline for the Houston firm that also includes projects in the Riverside County city of Temecula and in San Diego that total about 1,500 units. “We are very bullish on the long-term prospects for Southern California and California in general. We believe it’s a great market with good fundamentals and high barriers to entry,” Vasbinder says.

Dinerstein’s equity partner in the Warner Center apartment complex is AIG. Comerica led a syndicate of banks that provided the debt for the development. Dinerstein was represented by Roobik Ovanesian, president of Cranbrook Realty Corp. of Glendale, in its land purchase for the development.

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