Koreatown street attracts multiple multifamily developers

Newport Beach businessman Reza Moalej joins building party on Berendo Street

Koreatown Street Attracts Multiple Multifamily Developers
A rendering of proposed building at 951. S. Berendo Street in Koreatown (Getty, Renderings via LA City Planning Department)

More construction cranes may rise on Koreatown’s skyline soon.

Newport Beach-based businessman Reza Moalej filed plans Sept. 29 to build a 77-unit multifamily building at 951 South Berendo Street — about a mile down the street from another developer’s project — according to City of Los Angeles Planning Department documents.

The new plans come just months after Hankey Investment Company submitted an application to build a 163-unit residential building at 638-642 South Berendo Street in Koreatown, 

The latest plans include demolition of a 98-year-old, 13-unit apartment currently located at 951 South Berendo, which Moalej’s company, 951 Berendo LLC, acquired in August for  $1.75 million, according to property documents. A roughly 57,000-square-foot building was proposed for construction on the site, which will offer 69 market-rate units and eight affordable units. The firm Corbel Architects is designing the project.

The proposed building will offer 122 parking spaces on two subterranean levels. Only 39 parking spaces are required for the building, which is given Transit Oriented Communities incentives, to construct higher density projects. Los Angeles’ light rail D Line runs through Koreatown.

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Taylor Avakian, an associate vice president for Matthews Real Estate Investment Services, said the city’s zoning in the district is favorable for developers who want to build a lot of units.  

“The zoning allows for a TOC density bonus — you can get up to 80 percent more units based on that,”  Avakian said.  

There are different tiers of TOC bonuses which range from a 50 to 80 percent increase for the maximum number of allowable units on a project.  Avalian co-represented the buyer and the seller on the deal to sell the older building at 951 South Berendo. 

Jamison Properties is one of the most high-profile developers in Koreatown. It has delivered 5,000 units in Koreatown since 2013. It has about 2,500 units in development,  Avakian said. The company finished building its 3100 West 8th Street project, at the corner of Berendo Street, in 2021.

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