“Opportunities are now open for LaTerra,” said Charles Tortelot, CEO of LaTerra. “We’re really taking advantage of two things, market opportunities, and we’re strategically working through our relationships and the locations we’re going to hit next.”
His son and company general manager, Chris Tortelot, added that multi-family assets – one of the types of products LaTerra is investing in – “are attracting a lot of capital” and are highly desirable at the moment.
In December, the company announced that it had purchased a 42-unit apartment building in West Hollywood called Terraces at La Cienega for $29.2 million. The property, built in 1990, is located at 1121 N. La Cienega Blvd. , one block from the Sunset Strip.
The company has plans to modernize the units and amenity spaces, including adding a new rooftop deck, as well as an additional 10 residential units. The ten new units will be attached housing units with one or two bedrooms added around the property.
“It’s rare that you can find a multi-family development, an existing project, that can accommodate ADUs, often because of the parking lot,” said Chris Tortelot. “This specific project had excess parking or a strong parking ratio. … As a result, we were able to identify areas to add 10 ADUs.”
He said the company is interested in doing more projects to which it can add ADUs.
Also in December, LaTerra acquired a fully qualified residential development site for $8.2 million in Perris in Riverside County. The 16.2-acre site is approved for 228 condos at 2,700 N. Perris Blvd.
Charles Turtlett said the purchase was part of the company’s push into more suburban areas.
“We’ve been to the suburbs for a bit,” he said. “We love Burbank, we love Westside of LA, but we went to the suburbs a bit more, which adds some balance to our portfolio.”
“It offers a different kind of project in terms of design and tenant profile,” he added.
However, Burbank is a major market for the company.
In November, it announced that it and Vancouver-based QuadReal Property Group had secured a $199 million construction loan for a project at 777 N. Front St. in Burbank. Funding was provided by BMO Harris Bank and Citizens Bank. Once completed, the property will have 573 apartments, 69 of which will be affordable.
Charles Turtlett described the loan as the largest in the company’s history.
LaTerra has also received approval for a $450 million mixed-use complex at the former Fry’s Electronics store in Burbank. LaTerra plans to build 862 residential units, 151,000 square feet of office space, and 9,000 square feet of retail space.
“People love the story of Los Angeles and the ‘tech’ boom,” said Chris Tortelot. “We love Burbank because there are a lot of jobs and not a lot of housing. It has the highest job-to-housing ratio in all of California.”
He added that only one apartment building has been built in Burbank in the past 20 years, which makes building there now incredibly desirable.
Charles Turtlett added that given the number of media companies in the Burbank area, he expects a media company to take over the development office component.
“Burbank is the media capital of the world,” Chris Tortelot said, adding that it has the lowest office vacancy rate of any city in the country.
“Our focus now will remain Los Angeles,” he said.
To reprint and license this article, click here.