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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Third time’s a charm? Greenland taps Polaris Pacific to replace the Agency at Metropolis

Polaris will handle condo sales at the megadevelopment; Elliman was first brokerage on the project
By Natalie Hoberman | February 22, 2019 08:00AM

Garrett Frakes, Mauricio Umansky and a rendering of the Metropolis project

First it was Elliman, then the Agency and now?

Greenland USA tapped Polaris Pacific to lead condo sales at the $1 billion megadevelopment in Downtown, the third brokerage on the project, The Real Deal has learned.

Polaris Pacific replaces the Agency, which had replaced Douglas Elliman. Polaris Pacific, a sales and marketing firm based in San Francisco will be tasked with selling the remaining condo units at Greenland’s Tower I and Tower II. The 736-unit Tower III is still under construction and expected to be competed in the fall. It remains unclear when sales will begin.

The most recent switch is the latest sign of trouble for the Metropolis project, whose three towers hold 1,500 units combined. Elliman had led condo sales until it was let go in Fall 2017, with the Agency hired a short time later.

Since last February, Greenland — the American arm of China-based Greenland Group — has listed for sale its unfinished Tower III and 18-story Hotel Indigo, which is part of the development.

In an emailed statement about the latest brokerage change, the Agency Development Group managing partner Mike Leipart said the firm is “proud to have represented Metropolis.” He added that the project was “the fastest selling development in L.A.” while the Agency had the assignment.

Winston Yan, executive vice president at Greenland USA’s L.A. operation, said his firm is “excited to partner with Polaris Pacific.” He said the company “has an unparalleled 30-year track record in delivering results at best-in-class new developments across the western United States.”

Metropolis, which will span 3.3 million square feet when completed, has been on a long road since Greenland bought the dirt at the South Park property five years ago for roughly $150 million. The firm has built three of the four properties, and recently secured a $310 million loan to complete the fourth.

Greenland first tapped Douglas Elliman, a newcomer in L.A. at the time, to sell condos at the project in 2014. When the Agency took over the listing three years later, Susan de Franca, CEO of Elliman’s new development division, said her team at Elliman had sold over two-thirds of the residences at Tower I.

In August 2018, with the Agency leading sales, a reported 80 percent of the units at the 308-unit Tower I had been sold. The Agency said it would be moving on to handling sales at the 514-unit Tower II. Greenland then tapped Lapchih Fan, an agent at LF8 Real Estate, to sell the remaining 60 or so units at Tower I.

It was unclear how many condos the Agency sold at Tower II.

Oceanwide Plaza, another megaproject in L.A. being developed by a Chinese firm, has stalled amid financing issues. Earlier this month, contractors working on the $1 billion development in Downtown filed legal claims against the developer Oceanwide Holdings for tens of millions of dollars in unpaid work.