Carmel Partners cuts sweet-as-caramel deal for site of South LA’s first high-rise

Carmel Partners CEO Ron Zeff and a rendering of the project at 3321 South La Cienega Boulevard
Carmel Partners CEO Ron Zeff and a rendering of the project at 3321 South La Cienega Boulevard

It’s been a long time coming.

Multi-family developer Carmel Partners doled out almost $111 million for the Southwest Los Angeles site of its megaproject adjacent to the La Cienega/Jefferson Expo Line station, which was already approved by the city, The Real Deal has learned. The acquisition closed more than a year after Carmel submitted the city planning documents for the development, which will include South L.A.’s first high-rise. 

The San Francisco-based firm acquired the 11-acre site from radio broadcaster Cumulus Media, according to the deed document from CoStar.

Prudent developers will often initiate the planning and entitlement process for a piece of property before they close the sale of it, according to someone close to but uninvolved in the deal.  

Carmel paid roughly in line with per-square-foot averages for land in the Central L.A. industrial submarket, where the project sits according to CoStar. But the gargantuan size of the parcel makes it remarkable in the submarket. Occupied by the KLOS and KABC radio stations, a 60,000-square-foot single-story industrial structure also sits on the lot.

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Carmel made waves last year when it proposed the 1,218-unit, multi-structural Cumulus Transit Oriented Project, one of the biggest in the L.A. pipeline. Its tallest building would be a 30-story, 300-foot residential tower. The apartments would include 609 one-bedrooms, 487 two-bedrooms and 122 three-bedrooms. Office space, general retail and a 50,000-square-foot grocery store would complete the rest of the campus’ 300,000 square feet.

Not everyone was happy when the city approved the project. Opponents said the tower would be too tall and the development too dense for the area. Some cited concerns over gentrification. In a lawsuit filed in June, the Crenshaw Subway Coalition and Friends of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative alleged that city officials violated state and local laws by approving it. The City Council amended zoning and height restrictions to permit the high-rise.

In May, Carmel proposed a 600-unit condo development for a two-acre site in the Arts District, The Real Deal reported. And for the residents of the first phase of Carmel’s Eighth & Grand apartments, rent is free for the first five weeks and parking for 12 months.

Neither Carmel nor Cumulus could be reached for comment.