Koreatown hotelier sells shovel-ready development site entitled for 252 units

The project would replace a strip mall some apartment buildings

Top to bottom: a rendering of the project and a photo of the site at 3170 West Olympic Boulevard (Credit: Google Maps)
The development site and a rendering of Choi Bo Sung's proposed 252-unit project (Credit: Google Maps)

A Koreatown hotelier has sold an Olympic Boulevard assemblage the firm it recently entitled for a 252-unit mixed-use apartment building.

Choi Bo Sung Inc. sold the properties — stretching along West Olympic Boulevard between South Serrano Avenue and Hobart Boulevard — to Bando Dela Corp. for $20.3 million, Los Angeles County property records show. The properties include some retail storefronts and small-lot residential buildings.

Choi Bo Sung Inc. filed for the seven-story 252-unit project in the fall of 2016 and received city approval for the project in April of this year. The firm released renderings of the project last fall.

The firm owns and operates the Rotex Hotel & Condo a few blocks away on Olympic. A representative could not be immediately reached for comment. Bando Dela Corp. has links to a San Diego individual named Dong Chul Shin as well as a Koreatown-based individual Wootaig Lee, who could not be reached for comment.

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A market exists in the city of L.A. for shovel-ready development sites with entitlements built in, thanks to the city’s often arduous and archaic entitlement process. Investors buy up property, secure entitlements from the city and flip it at a premium to a new developer who doesn’t want to deal with the risks involved in that process.

Its unclear if Choi Bo Sung Inc. planned to build the 252-unit project on Olympic or planned to sell the entitled property to another party. Choi Bo Sung purchased the development property in 2014 for $7.8 million, which suggests Bando Dela Corp. did pay a premium for the entitlements.
The entitlements for the property allow for around 33,300 square feet of retail space and 261 subterranean parking spaces. The plans call for 46 units set aside for “very low-income” renters, which boosted the number of units allowed from a base of 175.

Zackary Brothers, a Fashion District-based development firm that was part of the development team for the Downtown’s Circa project, is building a large multifamily project next door. The firm is also working on a 60-unit project in Westwood.