The Real Deal Los Angeles

Amid Koreatown building boom, developer revives apartment plan

Chae Young Ma filed a demolition permit to clear the way for a project that had called for 66 resi units
By Natalie Hoberman |
Research by Haru Coryne
November 26, 2018 01:00PM

722 S Ardmore Avenue, Los Angeles (Credit: Google Maps)

A decade ago, plans for a Koreatown apartment building included 66 residential units and a helicopter landing pad on the roof. But nothing materialized in the ensuing years, and eventually the property changed hands.

Now, the new owner, Chae Young Ma, appears to be moving forward with a development. Ma, who is the registered owner behind ESLM Property LLC, wants permission to tear down an existing three-story apartment building at 722 South Ardmore Avenue, according to a filing from the Department of Building.

Ma, who could not be reached for comment, acquired the property in 2014 for $4.7 million. Before that, records show Andy Ko wanted to build a 12-story complex with 66 residential units. It would also include a recreation room and basement parking at the property. Another feature would be a helicopter landing pad on the roof, according to the filing.

Despite securing approvals, Ko, acting through an LLC, never built anything on the site.

In Los Angeles, securing entitlements can be a lengthy process for many developers. That has helped foster a new market for entitled properties, where owners can sell their shovel-ready sites at a premium to new owners who would rather avoid dealing with the process altogether.

Many developers in the city are also flocking to Koreatown for its multifamily projects, considering the area’s dense developments and proximity to transportation hubs. Jamison is among the bigger apartment developers in the area, and in recent years has helped dramatically change the neighborhood’s offerings.