class="date">Mar 22, 2010
Building Momentum: Downtown L.A. condo tower racks up sales despite tough market.
The condominium market is still in the dumps, right? But if you look at the luxury Evo condo tower in downtown Los Angeles, you might think it’s a bit more nuanced than that. Despite the tough market, 193 of the South Park building’s 311 units were sold in 2009, making it one of the fastest selling condo buildings in the country. What’s more, 15 more units were sold in January and February. Of course, prices were chopped by 30 percent from precrash highs. But developer South Group said it has raised prices by as much as 20 percent from lows hit last year, and it is hopeful it can sell the remaining 81 units before the year is out. While no one is ready to call it a seller’s market, news of the Evo sales is encouraging in the midlevel and high-end condo market that has been decimated over the last few years. “We aren’t done until we are done, but we are definitely proud of the fact that we’ve sold as many as we did,” said Rhonda Slavik, sales and marketing director for South Group, a partnership based in downtown Los Angeles. “It was scary. People had worked on the project for so long; we knew we had a great project to sell and this was clearly out of anybody’s control.” The evidence is not just anecdotal that there has been a slight pickup in the market. Condo sales rose last year as developers slashed prices. The trend continued in February, when 1,393 condos were sold in Los Angeles County, nearly 50 percent more than in February 2009, according to HomeData, a data supplier based in Hicksville, N.Y. The median price of $295,000 is about where it was a year earlier – well off the $460,000 high hit in mid-2007. At the same time, there has been a documented reduction in inventory as condominium projects have been taken off the market and converted into apartment buildings. And, of course, developers have stayed on the sidelines, with little to no construction expected for the next few years. As a result, the California Association of Realtors reports that in January there was a 5.4-month supply of condos on the county market at the current sales rate. That compares favorably with a 7.8-month supply one year earlier. A figure of six months generally indicates a balanced market. “A confluence of factors – namely supply constraints because of very little construction and properties put into the rental pool – has created a bit more pricing pressure,” said Paul Habibi, a lecturer at UCLA’s Ziman Center for Real Estate who has developed several local apartment and condo projects. Most luxurious Slavik said the current market is a welcome change from the dark days of late 2008 and early 2009, when the economy teetered on the brink and the project foundered. The 24-story building hit the market in September 2008 – the same weekend Lehman Bros. collapsed, triggering the financial meltdown. Evo is the tallest and most luxurious of three adjacent projects developed by South Group, a joint venture of two Portland, Ore., developers, Williams & Dame Development Inc. and Gerding/Edlen Development Co. The others are Elleven, an 11-story project that sold out in 2006, and the 19-story Luma, which sold out in March 2008. Evo, at 1155 S. Grand Ave., was planned to be a step above its two sisters. It features a 24th-floor open-air lounge, a sixth-floor pool deck and amenities typically reserved for Wilshire Corridor condo properties, such as concierge and bellman services. Units include terraces, oak floors, exposed concrete walls and stainless steel European appliances. The original plan called for Evo to be nearly sold-out by the September 2008 opening. The worst case envisioned was that perhaps 20 percent of buyers wouldn’t get approved for loans and those units would be sold later. But the reality was far worse. At one point, about 200 units had been presold, but as the economy cratered, people backed away from the deals, despite deposits and executed contracts. Ultimately, no more than a dozen units were sold to original presale buyers. But unlike other developers – some of which lost projects to their lenders – South Group decided to drop prices in February 2009 so it could establish sales momentum. The cuts were about 30 percent across the board, consistent with other projects that reduced prices. For example, one unit originally priced at $400,000 was cut to $299,000. “We needed to get fast absorption, we needed some velocity,” she said. “We released smaller units so that price per square foot would be attractive.” In the spring, about 20 units were sold each month. By midyear, South Group had strung together several impressive sales months, with two units each selling for more than $3 million. By the end of 2009, the developer was able to begin raising prices. This February alone, three one-bedroom units sold for more than $700,000. “We are able to hold our ground a bit more (on pricing),” said Slavik. But all the price cuts have come at a cost. Slavik said she doesn’t believe South Group partners Williams & Dame and Gerding/Edlen will make a profit on the development. However, Westport Capital Partners LLC of Westport, Conn. – an equity investor in the project – may turn one. ‘Trickle-up effect’ Evo wasn’t the only project in the midlevel to high end to sell well last year after cutting prices. Market Lofts, a 267-unit building atop a Ralphs supermarket in downtown, and a 77-unit, midrise loft building at downtown’s Concerto development sold out their inventory in 2009 at reduced prices. According to Habibi, success with buildings such as Evo could have a trickle-up effect to the new ultraluxury condo buildings in Los Angeles, such as the Century and the Carlyle in West L.A. Condos at those building are priced well-above $3 million, with some units at more than $10 million. “You basically have a shift in the buyer pool where more people can get into the market and that has a linkage in all ends of the market,” said Habibi. The top end of the luxury market could still use a lift. For example, at the W Hollywood Hotel & Residences in Hollywood, presales were suspended last year after only about 40 out of 143 planned units were presold. Some have price tags that top $5 million. The hotel opened with a huge fete two months ago and later this month the condos will be complete. At that point, sales will start up again at prices that have been slashed about 30 percent from the original numbers. Russell Filice, a broker with Sotheby’s International Realty Inc. handling sales there, said one low-end unit that was once marketed at about $800,000 is now priced at $530,000. But he believes pricing has hit bottom. “I think people waiting for phenomenal buys who didn’t buy in 2009 probably missed those deals,” he said.
class="date">Jan 16, 2010
Buyers Find Value In Evo's Great Sales Team
Downtown Los Angeles is again making real estate news. Why? Downtown real estate agent Michelle Velky and her team sold and closed nearly $120 million in downtown Los Angeles last year alone. Two of these sales set sub-sequent records for sales in down-town Los Angeles at $3.1 million and $3.2 million. But Velky does not work alone. Her team includes the highly experienced downtown sales experts, Tommy Nguyen, Jamie Nemetz, Bridget Reeves and Genevieve Bornstein. Together the team closed more than 200 homes in 2009 far outperforming any other team in Los Angeles Buyers looking to purchase luxury real estate in Downtown LA need to look no further than Velky and her team - proven downtown Los Angeles experts. “Buyers can take advantage of the numerous benefits in today’s market. Our sales team is extremely knowledgeable about the buying process and can provide our clients tremendous insight into how they can benefit from these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.” When asked why her team has been so successful in this market, Velky noted that first and foremost she and her sales team understand their clients needs and have an unmatched knowledge of Downtown Los Angeles and South Park. According to Velky, she and her sales team have been advising buyers on the unique benefits and features of Evo. “We love selling Evo” she said. “It’s is the ultimate in high rise urban living.” For example, Velky points out that Evo is the only completed and move-in ready new construction high rise in Downtown LA. All of this is coupled with breath taking floor to ceiling views of Staples Center and LA Live. Velky explained that Evo offers unmatched amenities and services for luxury downtown LA properties. This resort-style amenity collection include the signature Aqua, the sixth-floor sun deck and pool surrounded by lush landscaping and furnished social gathering areas; Two-Forty rooftop lounge with an outdoor terrace and fire-place overlooking the downtown skyline and Tempo is Evo’s state-of-the-art fitness studio on the 24th floor with floor-to-ceiling views of the horizon. In addition to the seen viable amenities, Evo offers full time concierge service, bell service and towel service at the pool and fitness center. She also noted that Evo buyers have also been drawn to the awe-inspiring modern aesthetics of the building’s designer interiors and natural hardwood floors, sleek cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, stone countertops, outdoor decks, and spacious walk-in closets. Of course the unmatched location just steps from the L.A. LIVE and STAPLES CENTER has been identified as one of the biggest motivating factors for recent buyers. This world-class location provides everything from Lakers games to The Grammy’s to world tour concerts at Nokia Theatre. South Park also has a growing list of hot spots including Corkbar, Katsuya, J Lounge, Flemming’s Prime Steakhose and Wine Bar, Rivera, ROCK’N FISH, Lawry’s Carvery, The Farm of Beverly Hills and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill, just to name a few. “It’s an incredible place to have in your backyard and is one of the most walkable, vibrant, engaging, and livable neighborhoods in the all of downtown Los Angeles,” said Velky. “Evo is in the center of it all.” Velky explained that buyers have been highly motivated when they learn that Evo is not only one of the most sustainable, smart and eco-friendly buildings in California, but also the only LEED Certifi ed Silver high-rise residence in all of Los Angeles. According to Velky, all of these elements along with her sales team have made Evo the best-selling high-rise in all of Los Angeles. “Why are we successful? Despite 2009 being a really challenging year for real estate, our team was able to achieve success by being a true resource to our clients. When it comes to selling the very high end lifestyle, clients want the very best service and meticulous followup, and only the most relevant market information,” said Velky. Velky added that with less than 100 of the original 311 homes remaining, there are limited purchasing opportunities remaining, so you should inquire as soon as possible. You can learn more and experience Evo in person by calling their sales team at 213-622-5400 to schedule a personal showing or by visiting Evocondos.com.
class="date">Nov 12, 2009
Evo Celebrates Milestone 200th Sale with Pool Deck Party, Surprises Residents by Adding New Luxury Concierge Service.
LOS ANGELES, California (November 12, 2009) – Evo, the best-selling condominium in California, celebrated its landmark 200th sale Thursday night with an extravagant party for residents, media and VIP guests. The party was hosted throughout Evo with festivities on its sixth-floor pool terrace, rooftop Two-Forty lounge and spectacular 3,500 square-foot penthouse. The pinnacle of the evening was a display that symbolized Evo as a bright spot in downtown Los Angeles’ real estate economy. All 300 VIP guests held fire sparklers in the air as helicopters captured the moment from the sky. Adding to the festivities, Evo also announced the addition of new luxury services including concierge services by Beverly Hills Concierge, bell service, and towel service for the pool terrace and fitness center. “Evo’s uniqueness – from its LEED Silver-certified status, high-style spacious studios, premium two-bedroom homes, to opulent multimillion dollar penthouses with breathtaking views – is appealing to a wide range of buyers. We have something for everyone,” said Rhonda Slavik, sales & marketing director for developer The South Group. “Evo represents the most significant recent surge in residential sales in Southern California. This success has inspired confidence in a new wave of city-seeking, environmentalist home shoppers searching for a modern, luxurious, urban lifestyle at a reasonable price.” Architecturally stunning, Evo’s sleek and stylish silhouette rises 24 stories over South Park at the corner of 12th and Grand in downtown Los Angeles. Evo began sales of its 311 condominium homes in November 2008, in less than 12 months the building has sold more than 200 units. As downtown’s only new construction high rise available for move in before 2010, Evo is expected to reach full occupancy by year-end 2010. Evo is currently more than 60% sold-out with over $123 million in total sales. Home prices range from the mid-$300,000s to $3.6 million with floorplans ranging from 749 to over 3,500 square feet. Only one- and two-bedroom soft loft condominiums and two-story live+work townhomes remain. “Two-Forty,” Evo’s exclusive resident lounge, offers inspiring views from the 24th floor. About Evo Each residence at Evo features high-end amenities and rich refined finishes such as natural hardwood floors and wood cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, designer countertops and fixtures, expansive operable windows, decks, Juliet balconies, walk-in closets, four levels of secured parking and a 24-hour lobby attendant. A large open-roof terrace plaza with a lap pool, plasma televisions and shared food preparation area sits atop the sixth floor. Complementing Evo’s exclusive resident lounge “Two-Forty” on the 24th floor is “Tempo,” home of Zen Fitness, the resident-exclusive, state-of-the-art fitness center managed by health celebrity Juliet Kaska. Another important feature is the eco-conscious approach taken to Evo’s design. It is actually downtown Los Angeles’ first LEED Certified Silver high rise. This rating from the U.S. Green Building Council ensures the building meets strict environmentally friendly guidelines, many of which can be seen in energy-saving features found throughout the building and homes. These systems help to dramatically reduce water, electricity and utility use, which lowers your HOA fees and decreases your home’s impact on the environment. In addition, the materials inside the homes were chosen to create a healthy living environment with excellent interior air quality. On top of all this, you are just two blocks away to the world-class entertainment venues at L.A. LIVE and STAPLES Center. This gives you instant access to a long list of renowned restaurants, nightlife, theaters, concerts, sporting events and a truly cosmopolitan living experience. This South Park location is definitely downtown’s hottest new neighborhood and is quickly becoming the envy of the city.