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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Robert Herscu’s HQ Group builds co-living concept
in Culver City

Developer is converting motel into 35 micro-units

A rendering of the project at 5630 Sawtelle (Shubin + Donaldson Architects) and Robert Herscu (HQ Creative)

Office developer Robert Herscu is taking on the co-living trend. His HQ Creative, the team behind 13 boutique creative office conversions in Los Angeles County, is transforming a former motel at 5630 Sawtelle Boulevard in Culver City into a 35-unit “creative living space” designed by Shubin + Donaldson Architects, the developer told The Real Deal.

Rendering of a unit at We Are Best Day (Shubin + Donaldson Architects)

Dubbed “We Are Best Day,” the two-story, roughly 11,000-square foot space will have 300 to 350-square-foot micro-units centered around a courtyard. Residents’ units will have their own bathrooms, furniture, storage, flatscreens, and smartphone controls. The residents will share common spaces, including kitchens, a laundry room, living rooms and a wellness garden.

On the exterior of the Googie architecture-inspired building, a steel plated mesh landscape cage will create walls of greenery.

Rendering of the courtyard at We Are Best Day (Shubin + Donaldson Architects)

The shuttered Westchester Hotel was in drab condition when HQ Creative acquired it in Dec. 2015 for $4 million, according to CoStar.  

“We are turning it into something high end,” he said. “We’ve done it for the past five years with creative offices so it’s not a hard transition. What we do with office — we build out everything from the kitchen fixtures to the furniture — is akin to what is done in high-end homes.”

The rates at We Are Best Day will be more affordable than a hotel, but more expensive than average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the area, Herscu said. Exact prices have not been set. The lease periods will be flexible enough for out-of-town visitors as well as longer-term tenants who seek the co-living life. There will be an events program for residents and for “alumni” who lived there previously, Herscu said.

While co-living has blown up in New York and San Francisco, it is relatively new to L.A.. Another developer to take on the co-living trend is New York developer Simon Baron, who partnered with co-living company Ollie to turn Downtown L.A.’s infamously spooky Hotel Cecil into 301 micro-apartments