LA developers add ammunition to luxury amenities arms race

Instead of lower rents, developers will offer over-the-top amenities to attract renters

Hankey Investment Company’s W. Scott Dobbins and Circa
Hankey Investment Company’s W. Scott Dobbins and Circa

Developers and owners of Los Angeles’ new class of high-end rental properties have stepped up the amenities arms as they battle to attract and retain wealthy tenants.

Hankey Investment Co. has added custom cabanas to a 2-acre park at Circa, while Cusumano Real Estate Group will deliver groceries from a ground-floor Whole Foods to tenants’ refrigerators, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Richard Green, director of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate told the Times that the amenities race is fueled by competition for a small pool of well-heeled renters who are willing to pay a premium.

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“New luxury stuff is having some trouble leasing up, so they have to compete with one another,” he said. “Their calculus is that it’s more profitable to compete on amenities than by cutting rents.”

Dog parks have become a must-have. Hankey’s W. Scott Dobbins said that a third of all tenants at Circa in Downtown L.A. have dogs. Circa’s dog park has grooming facilities and two separate dog runs for large and small breeds.

Developers are also dressing up the usual amenities, like gyms. Circa’s gym is in its own building and each morning a refrigerator is stocked with eucalyptus oil-scented face cloths.
Rents for a one-bedroom at Circa start at $3,000, but can go much higher for larger units. A penthouse goes for $25,000 per month.

Developer Walter N. Marks is incorporating many high-end amenities into a planned tower in the Miracle Mile District. Marks is planning the usual entertainment amenities like a billiards room, but also a two-lane bowling alley and virtual reality room. [LAT]Dennis Lynch