UPDATED: Feb. 9 at 2.30 p.m. Emaar Properties is about to test whether slow and steady really does win the race when it comes to real estate sales.
The Dubai firm is finally rolling out the final 22 condo units at its 34-unit Beverly West complex nearly a decade after the project first made its debut, the company told The Real Deal.
Emaar first began construction on the Wilshire Corridor tower in 2008, only for the Great Recession to force condo prices into nosedive. But, while some other developers were forced to convert their projects to rentals, or sell in distress, Emaar was able to hold on, thanks to its reliance on “internal financing,” sources said.
Now, with prices back on a high, the company thinks it’s time to take its finger off the pause button and will place the remaining condo units on the market this week. It’s been four years since the developer sold its last unit at the project.
“The cost of elongating the development was significant, but we as a brand wanted to remain in this market and take the risk and assume the additional costs,” said Eric Jencks, director of planning and design for Emaar North America.
Jencks said he believes the project, the company’s premiere North American deal, is now in a stronger position than ever. The company is best known for developing the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the tallest structure in the world.
“We’re going to be without any competition for years,” he said. “At this point, we are the only product that’s brand new, a tower where there’s been no concessions made, no leasing efforts, that’s strategically placed.”
The most expensive unit at the project is a 4,158-square-foot, $12.15 million condo with three bedrooms. The asking price pencils out to $2,922 a foot.
That’s a return to the heady days of 2008, when the top two floors of a Century City residential tower still under construction sold for $47 million, or $2,848 a foot, to Candy Spelling, the widow of TV mogul Aaron Spelling.
By comparison, the average price per square foot for luxury condo units was $966 in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to a report by brokerage Douglas Elliman.
The most expensive condo unit ever sold in L.A. was a 3,500-square-foot penthouses at the Sierra Towers, which sold just over a year ago for $5,000 a foot.
The other units at Beverly West start at $3.5 million for a 1,709-square-foot apartment.
“The placement of L.A. as a global marketplace, it’s reached a feverish pitch,” Jencks said.
Emaar tapped Hilton & Hyland to market 17 new condos, as well as five penthouses that will debut later this year.
Jeff Hyland, president of Hilton & Hyland, told TRD that the high prices were justified by the lack of competition in the condo market, the privacy of the complex and the unique views.
“We’re the last grandfathered high-rise along the Wilshire Corridor,” he said.
Related Companies’ 42-story Century tower used to champion the best Northwest views in the area, he said, but another developer is planning two new adjacent towers which could obstruct those vistas.
Hyland anticipates 60 percent of takers will be from the local market — such as empty-nesters and divorcees — while the remainder will come from abroad.
“We’ve had a lot of lookers from Asia,” he said.
In many ways, L.A.’s condo market is still in its infancy.
“New development is in its early stages compared to New York or South Florida,” Susan DeFranca, the CEO of new development marketing at Douglas Elliman, told TRD last year, “But there is increasing interest in condominiums due to the convenience and lifestyle.”
Correction: In an earlier version of this story, TRD incorrectly identified the most expensive condo unit ever sold in L.A. It was a penthouse at Sierra Towers, which sold for $5,000 a foot in 2016.