Housing Diversity creates complex capital stack for LA “micro apartments”

United Way, equity investors and crowdfunders put money into studio units with 265 sf

Housing Diversity Lands $49M to finish “micro” units in DTLA
Housing Diversity's Brad Padden with rendering of 1411 South Flower Street (Housing Diversity., GEtty)

Housing Diversity has secured a $34.9 million loan for a nearly completed, 227-unit “micro apartment” complex in Downtown Los Angeles.

The Seattle-based developer landed the loan to complete the eight-story Liv DTLA at 1411 South Flower Street, in South Park, the Commercial Observer reported. It replaced a vacant lot.

The company announced it secured a $34.9 million loan from United Way of Greater L.A. and a $13.6 million equity investment from Arctaris Impact Investors, based in Boston. 

The financial injection comes two years after the project secured $41.1 million from Lument Real Estate Capital, based in Ohio.

That adds to an original investment of $10 million raised for the building through crowdfunding platform Crowdstreet, plus $8 million of equity from high-net-worth individual investors, according to the Observer.

The 96,400-square-foot building is 85 percent complete on more than a third-acre near the Pico Boulevard Metro station and the Los Angeles Convention Center. 

Liv DTLA will contain 227 market-rate and affordable studio apartments, most of which would be around 265 square feet. Expected rents for the complex were not disclosed.

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The project, designed by Downtown-based Steinberg Hart, has five levels of wood-frame construction above a three-story concrete base. The contemporary brown building with divided balconies will include a rooftop deck, ground-floor courtyard and a breezeway.

Housing Diversity employs the city’s Transit-Oriented Communities program to build a larger building than zoning rules allow in exchange for 25 affordable apartments for extremely low-income households.

Liv DTLA also taps into federal opportunity zone tax breaks, which allow investors to defer taxes on capital gains. Some 66 units are projected to accept federal housing choice vouchers. 

Elsewhere, the Seattle-based team filed plans in late 2021 to build an eight-story, 92-unit micro apartment building at 603 South Mariposa Avenue in Koreatown.

A second Downtown project at 1317 South Grand Avenue will rise eight stories and include 151 apartments that average 325 square feet and will likely rent for around $1,600.

Housing Diversity is also building an eight-story micro apartment building at 1621 North McCadden Place in Hollywood. Plans call for 69 studio apartments that average 375 square feet and likely rent for around $2,000.

— Dana Bartholomew

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