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Canadian Developer Adds to LA Portfolio With Apartment Redevelopment Site Purchase

Onni Group Has Dropped $220 Million for LA Properties in Past Two Months

By Jack Witthaus CoStar News December 9, 2021 | 12:34 P.M.

A Canadian developer with a penchant for Los Angeles real estate has added another property to its portfolio amid a national uptick in multifamily investment, part of a recent streak that saw it invest in a pair of suburban retail centers.

Onni Group, based in Vancouver, bought the roughly half-acre site at 11434 W. Pico Blvd. in West Los Angeles for $15 million in late November, according to CoStar data. The seller, developer Amoroso Cos., based in the Los Angeles suburb of Calabasas, purchased the property for $8 million in March 2018.

Amoroso and Onni Group representatives did not respond to requests for comment. The site, formerly a strip club, was slated by Amoroso for 102 Class A apartments with 11 affordable units. It is not clear what Onni's plans are for the site.

The project will add to the more than 1,200 apartments under construction in the Beverly Hills-Century City-UCLA market, according to CoStar data. The market's average asking rent is $3,080 per month, well above the greater Los Angeles average of $2,083 per month, according to CoStar data. The market's average vacancy rate is 6.7%, above the greater Los Angeles average of 3.6%.

The Pico Boulevard purchase joins a string of recent Onni deals in the L.A. area. The developer spent $68 million earlier in December for a 6-acre retail shopping center in Long Beach it plans to convert into apartments. In November, Onni bought the majority of the 1.2 million-square-foot Burbank Town Center for $136 million. The purchase included the buildings only, which are subject to a ground lease.

Beyond those purchases, the developer has built four apartment complexes in downtown Los Angeles and plans to redevelop the former Los Angeles Times Building as residential and office space. Red-hot multifamily sales, driven by strong rent growth, have been setting records nationally. In the third quarter, there were $78.7 billion worth of apartment sales in the U.S., the highest quarterly sales volume ever, according to Newmark's "U.S. Multifamily Capital Markets Report." In the past 12 months, $242 billion in apartment sales have occurred nationally, another all-time high.

"As more workers return to the office and the cost to own a single-family home continues to rise to historic levels, rental housing is anticipated to see strong demand," according to the report.

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