Jamison’s latest Ktown project gets planning OK

127-unit project reflects trend with more than 80 percent studios

Jamison's Jaime Lee and a rendering of 626 South Kingsley Drive (LA City Planning, Connect Conferences)
Jamison's Jaime Lee and a rendering of 626 South Kingsley Drive (LA City Planning, Connect Conferences)

The City of Los Angeles planning department has approved a major mixed-use project from the prolific Koreatown developer Jamison Properties.

The project, which would rise seven stories and include 127 residential units, is located at 626 Kingsley Drive, in the heart of Koreatown. An entity affiliated with Jamison filed the project application in January, and the planning department granted its conditional approval in May.

Jamison CEO Jaime Lee did not respond to a request for comment.

Property records show that the developer bought the property for $6 million in February 2021, through an entity called 626 Kingsley Qoz. The seller at the time was a trust tied to Jang Hee Lee, who had bought the property in 1995 for $600,000.

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It was unclear whether Jang Hee Lee has any relation to the Lee family that operates Jamison. Dr. David Y. Lee, the firm’s founder, began buying up Koreatown properties in the 1990s, when property prices in the neighborhood were low following the 1992 riots. The company has since become an influential property developer in Los Angeles. Jamison has owned a large swath of Koreatown for decades— both commercial and residential buildings — and in recent years has also gone on a building spree, pursuing dozens of new multifamily projects in Koreatown and elsewhere, including the 13-story residential building “Gemma,” 23-story “Kurve” and eight-story “Crosby.”

Renderings for the firm’s Kingsley project show a contemporary, rectangular design with large balconies and a rooftop. Of the project’s planned 127 units, 108 are slated to be studios — an indication of rising demand, and developers’ profit calculations, for small apartments in central L.A. The other 19 units will be one-bedroom, while 14 units will also be set aside for extremely low income tenants, in line with Transit Oriented Communities program requirements.

The residential complex will also have a club room, meeting space and fitness center. The building plans include 350 square feet of ground level commercial space and 38 total car parking spaces.

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