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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Berkshire Group is renovating One Santa Fe to better “blend in” with neighborhood

The firm may be responding to scathing architectural criticism of the massive residential complex
June 27, 2016 09:30AM

The One Santa Fe Complex at 300 South Santa Fe Avenue in the Arts District, and Berkshire Group CEO Chuck Leitner

The One Santa Fe Complex at 300 South Santa Fe Avenue in the Arts District, and Berkshire Group CEO Chuck Leitner

Los Angeles’ own “Death Star” may be getting a softer new look.

One Santa Fe, the contentious 434-unit apartment complex widely considered to be the linchpin of gentrification in the Arts District, will be renovated to better blend in with the neighborhood, its new owner Berkshire Group announced Friday.

The Boston-based investment firm acquired the 70-year ground lease for the property, at 300 South Santa Fe Avenue, for around $200 million earlier this month, The Real Deal first reported.

Berkshire’s decision to redevelop the property is a surprise, considering how recently the property debuted. Construction wrapped up just last year. The property is often dubbed the “Empire State Building on its side” because it’s wider than the height of the original Manhattan landmark.

But, from the get-go, some of the neighborhood’s long-time residents have been critical of One Santa Fe’s dramatic rectangular design, courtesy of architect Michael Maltzan, which some say clashes with the area’s historic feel.

“DTLA, and in particular the Arts District, is one of the most exciting submarkets in the country,” Berkshire SVP of family acquisitions Eric Schrumpf told GlobeSt.com. “We want the property to blend in with and remain true to the original nature of the Arts District.” [GlobeSt]Cathaleen Chen