Wednesday, February 11, 2015
Wilshire Office Towers Becoming Apartments
Jamison Services, one of Southern California's largest office landlords, recently filed plans with the City of Los Angeles to convert two of its numerous Wilshire Boulevard office buildings for residential use.
The first of these properties is a 13-story tower located near MacArthur Park. A case filing from the Los Angeles Department of City Planning indicates that the renovated building at 2500 Wilshire Boulevard would contain 248 residential units, in lieu of its current 230,000 square feet of office space. The developer also states that the project will utilize exemptions from "density limits, floor area, yard requirements and [a] site plan review."
The mid-rise structure, completed in 1969, would likely face competition from a second mixed-use development planned across the street. The New York-based Somerset Group, owner of the parking lot at 2525 Wilshire Boulevard, is currently pursuing construction permits for a seven-story residential-retail complex on the property.
One mile east into the heart of Koreatown, a 12-story tower at 3345 Wilshire Boulevard is also slated for residential conversion. Plans filed with the city indicate that Jamison Services has requested a zoning variance which would allow for 202 residential units within the 150,000-square-foot building. This total is significantly greater than the 150 dwellings currently permitted by code.
The two projects are representative of a change in strategy for Jamison Services, which has faced flagging occupancy rates in the wake of long term changes in the office market. Rather than fight the tide, the company has instead opted to capture Angelenos' insatiable appetite for urban housing by converting its weaker performing buildings to apartments.
Jamison Services has also begun investing in ground-up projects, including twin condominium towers near Staples Center and a 16-story development on a parking lot abutting the Wilshire Professional Building.