Onni Group acquires Arts District land for resi development: sources

The violet street lot and Philip Rahimzadeh, who heads Core Development Group
The violet street lot and Philip Rahimzadeh, who heads Core Development Group

Vancouver-based developer Onni Group is not slowing down its prolific acquisition spree in Downtown Los Angeles. In fact, it is expanding its territory into DTLA’s hippest corridor.

Onni has purchased a 38,266-square-foot development lot at 2143 Violet Street in the Arts District from Core Development Group for an undisclosed amount in an off-market transaction, The Real Deal has learned.

Brandon Gill, Brandon Burns and Jae Yoo of CBRE represented Core Development in their original acquisition of the site in April 2014 and in this sale to Onni. The buyer represented itself, sources said.

Onni did not respond to requests for comment, and the CBRE brokers declined to comment on the buyer’s plans for the site. But sources familiar with the deal said Onni plans to build some kind of residential development. The land does not appear to be entitled, though this could not be confirmed. Sources said Onni got a good deal on the plot and is likely willing to hold onto it while the chaos surrounding Measure JJJ and Neighborhood Integrity Initiative plays out.

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Onni’s DTLA portfolio includes ground-up developments, such as Level Furnished Living and a 50-story apartment tower under construction nearby.

“They saw this as an opportunity to make a mark on one of the most sought after
neighborhoods in Downtown where progress has been made very rapidly over the last few years and to expand their territory with this strategic purchase,” CBRE’s Gill said. “We were in escrow while the Warner Music deal was announced. It definitely helped move this transaction forward.”

Core, headed by Philip Rahimzadeh, has capitalized on early Arts District acquisitions. They sold the four-acre site at Palmetto & Mateo to a partnership between ASB and Blatteis & Schnur in 2014, which is now being developed into the At Mateo development. Core also developed the Art House at 1200 South Santa Fe Avenue, a project with 53 live/work lofts and ground-level commercial space, which is fully leased.