Koreatown resi complex marks firm’s entry into Opportunity Zones

Clearinghouse Community Development wants to add more multifamily developments through the federal tax incentive program

A rendering of the project and Douglas Bystry, President and CEO of Clearinghouse
A rendering of the project and Douglas Bystry, President and CEO of Clearinghouse

A community development firm that operates in underserved neighborhoods will develop a multifamily complex in Koreatown, part of its initial push into designated Opportunity Zones in Southern California.

Clearinghouse Community Development Financial Institution is paying $13.8 million to develop the property, where it intends to build a 31-unit apartment complex, The Real Deal has learned.

The project, which is located at 744 S. Mariposa Ave., represents one of the Lake Forest-based institution’s first forays into Opportunity Zones. The federal program provides tax incentives for long-term investors for projects in low-income neighborhoods. Doug Bystry, president and CEO of Clearinghouse, said it plans to develop similar projects in designated Opportunity Zones throughout the U.S.

The vacant parcel along Mariposa Avenue will be developed into new studio and one- bedroom apartment units over two levels of parking. Public records show that Clearinghouse CDFI purchased the lot from the Lee Leo Family Trust for $3.1 million in January.

Lee Leo is the owner of Majestic Towers, a hotel group that includes the Wilshire Hotel in Koreatown.

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The main investment in the Koreatown property came from real estate investor APEX Pacific Partners Advisors. Part of the financing to buy the lot and build the complex also included two unnamed companies.

Some of the largest investors in Clearinghouse CDFI include Cathay Bank, CIT Bank, Wells Fargo and Western Alliance Bank.

Clearinghouse CDFI has previously worked to develop new guidelines to incentivize affordable housing development in Los Angeles.

Koreatown has seen a flood of multifamily development in recent years, with firms like Jameson leading the way.