High-Rise Apartment Tower in the Works in LA Neighborhood Near Downtown

Project Proposed for Koreatown Amid Severe Los Angeles Housing Shortage


By Jack Witthaus CoStar News March 24, 2022 | 3:12 P.M.

One of the most active neighborhoods for apartment construction in Los Angeles has lured another project as demand surges for multifamily housing in the city and across the state.

An unnamed developer has proposed converting a roughly 1-acre site at 640 S. Berendo St. near the Wilshire/Vermont Metro stop into a 22-story apartment project, according to city of Los Angeles documents. The development would feature 343 units, including 38 affordable units, on what is currently a surface parking lot, with the 33,000-square-foot building already on-site expected to remain.

The project applicant is Berendo Inc., whose application was filed by attorney Wayne R. Johnson, according to city documents. However, the property owner is Elevation Advisors, an entity related to active Koreatown owner and developer Jamison Properties, according to documents filed with the city and state.

Representatives with Jamison and Berendo did not respond to CoStar News' request to comment. Koreatown is one of the densest neighborhoods in Los Angeles, and the downtown-adjacent area is about to get denser. The Koreatown apartment market has roughly 3,100 units under construction, or about 11% the apartment construction in greater Los Angeles, according to CoStar data. The Koreatown market saw more than 2,500 apartment units built in 2020 and 2021, the two busiest apartment construction years in the past decade for the neighborhood.

The Koreatown apartment market's average vacancy rate has shrunk to 4.6%, which is near the greater Los Angeles average of 3.4%, according to CoStar data. However, rents tend to be more affordable in the neighborhood, where the average apartment costs $1,827 per month, below the greater L.A. average of $2,129.

Nearly 500,000 low-income renter households in Los Angeles County do not have access to an affordable home, revealing the need for housing in greater L.A., according to the Los Angeles County 2021 Affordable Housing Needs report. Almost 8 in 10 extremely low-income households are paying more than half of their income on housing costs alone.

Jamison's Southern California real estate portfolio includes roughly 18 million square feet of medical, office, retail and apartment space with a market capitalization of more than $3 billion, according to the company's website. Jamison has built more than 4,100 apartment units since 2013.

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