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[IMGCAP(1)]LOS ANGELES-The New York City-based Related Cos. has reached 100% leasing on the developer’s new 128-unit Hikari apartment complex, a public-private project in the Little Tokyo district of Downtown LA that it completed in partnership with the City of Los Angeles Redevelopment Agency. Some 20% of the units are designated as affordable housing, with the rest market-rate.

The Hikari, at 375 E. Second St., was designed by Thomas P. Cox architects and was the first market-rate multifamily project developed in its historic Little Tokyo neighborhood, notes Bill Witte, president of the Related Cos. of California. Witte says that the development presented the challenge of creating a mixed-use, mixed-income apartment project on a small, irregular site at an extremely high-density location.

[IMGCAP(2)]The Hikari’s 128 units, which average 743 square feet, were built on a site of less than an acre, Witte explains. David Smith, principal and director of design for Thomas P. Cox, says that the complex has transformed what was formerly a parking lot into an integral part of a growing neighborhood. Smith adds that although the small site presented challenges, the design accommodates 20 different floor plans and is commanding some of the highest rents in the Downtown area. The ground-floor retail space also was quickly taken up with long-term leases by a tenant roster including Fed-Ex and Johnny Rockets.

Although the Related Cos. is now involved in several market-oriented projects in Los Angeles, this was the company’s first and thus it “has special significance for us,” Witte says. H explains that it served as a project model that used tax-exempt bonds to finance mixed-income housing that Related is now using in San Francisco and New York.

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