LOS ANGELES—May 12, 2004—CIM Group unveiled the Historic Gas Company Lofts at its South Village project during a cabaret-themed grand opening party last night for hundreds of Los Angeles residents, business and civic leaders. The former Gas Company headquarters buildings have undergone a historic restoration and transformation creating 251 modern loft apartments.
"We are preserving and building on the rich history of downtown Los Angeles with the detailed restoration of the Gas Company buildings that are the cornerstone of our South Village project," said Avi Shemesh, a founding partner of CIM Group.
The estimated $48 million Gas Company Lofts are the first phase of CIM Group's South Village, a major mixed-use development in the South Park area of downtown Los Angeles. The original Southern California Gas Company headquarters buildings, at 800, 810 and 820 South Flower Street, were designed by three renowned Los Angeles architects: Parkinson, A.C. Martin & Associates and Robert V. Derrah. Ground floor space in each has been transformed into a total of 22,500 square feet of retail and restaurant space, including a recently opened IHOP restaurant.
"Housing in downtown Los Angeles does not currently come close to meeting the demand. Our leasing office has a constant stream of people who want housing in this vibrant downtown core, close to restaurants, shopping, entertainment and the subway," noted Shemesh.
Guests at the grand opening toured the stylishly appointed model units created by award-winning interior and furniture designer Kerry Joyce. Units feature a variety of floorings and finishes including polished concrete, cork and bleached wood. Joyce used inventive materials to create room dividers such as simple card stock circles joined by clip rings and floor to ceiling mesh screens. All units have the original office doors and large windows, invoking recognizable elements from the '20s, '30s and '40s, and blending new features such as rich wood kitchen cabinetry and sleek stainless steel appliances.
South Village is a $247 million development bounded by 8th and 9th, Flower and Hope Streets. The 7.2-acre multi-block project is being developed in four phases and will include 1,200 units of rental and for-sale housing along with restaurants and other retailers. Currently under construction, the second phase, called Market Top Flats, features five levels of loft apartments above a 50,000-square-foot Ralphs supermarket and 10,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space. The 266 loft apartments will be built around a swimming pool atop the market with a central landscaped plaza. Grand opening is estimated for the third quarter of 2005.
Phase three of the development consists of 152 loft apartments and 25,000 square feet of retail space on the southwest corner of 8th and Hope Streets. The final phase will flank the supermarket on the northwest corner of 9th and Flower Streets and the vacant parcel on the northeast corner of 9th and Hope Streets facing Grand Hope Park. Two buildings with a total of approximately 520 for-sale condominiums and an additional 30,000 square feet of retail space are planned.
Equity funding for South Village, which is located in the Central Business District Redevelopment Project, came from the CIM Urban Real Estate Fund. The Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles has invested $11 million in the project.
The $676 million CIM Urban Real Estate Fund is managed by Los Angeles-based CIM Group, a full service real estate investor and operator focused on urban districts. The fund, formed in 2001 with investments from the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS), is designed to pursue urban infill projects. Each CIM investment is evaluated based on proven land use and design principles of successful urban districts, and focuses on the unique strengths of the location and the needs of the community. More information is available on CIM's website at: www.cimgroup.com.