Selling Downtown L.A. With Designer Showcases

Designer showcases for L.A. condos
A cold market (some might call it frozen) for condominium sales in downtown Los Angeles means that residential real estate projects have started to get creative with their marketing campaigns. Case in point: EVO's newly built glass-sheathed tower that rises up just blocks from L.A. Live and the Staples Center. This past weekend, four showcase condos on the 20th floor were unveiled; a fifth penthouse-floor condominium by designers affiliated with Modern Home + Living Magazine will open next weekend.

Completely tricked out with original art, custom light fixtures and furniture, the staged residences turned empty units into of-the-moment digs. "Many people have a difficult time visualizing a blank living space," explains Rhonda Slavik, director of sales and marketing for the South Group, which handles EVO's sales. "The homes in the designer showcase are almost exclusively over $1.2 million and it is important from a sales perspective that potential owners can see themselves living in the space," she adds.
Daniel Vandenbark of DEZINE went a bit Zen for his two-bedroom showcase using numerous eco-conscious materials like bamboo and natural hardwood to soften the glass and concrete space. Likewise, David Desmond's challenge was to match the expansive city views of a corner residence (above). Low-rise couches, a collection of glass-topped tables and Asian-accent pieces--like a Chinese porcelain lamp--stimulate the eye as much as the exterior view. Room and Board took on a studio apartment, enlivening it with rich textures, cream colored walls and a just-right amount of furniture.

Although EVO generated two of downtown Los Angeles' most expensive real estate sales in 2009, a $3.1 million sale in January and a $3.2 million penthouse sale last February, it was nonetheless a tough year for condominium projects. Two major adaptive re-use projects stalled out. The Brockman Building (home to the popular Bottega Louie restaurant on the ground floor) filed for Chapter 7 in April. The tony Roosevelt Lofts, situated in a classic Beaux Arts building outfitted with ultra-sweet amenities like an in-house wine storage space, tanning salon, 24-hour valet and an elevated rooftop pool, filed for Chapter 11. Between 50 to 70 of the building's 222 units will be sold at public auction sometime in April.

Concerto and 705 W. Ninth St. also face pressure from their lenders and are in Chapter 11 reorganization. Earlier this month, Rowan Lofts sold 63 units via auction (note there are several steps including financing that are between selling and closing). Per blogdowntown, starting prices of $195,000 to $490,000 were well below previous market rates. Just three years ago, $500,000 was the lowest price you could get to move in downtown. However, EVO's prices are not of the fire-sale variety. The building is 72 percent sold with current availability ranging from $355,000 for a 726-square-foot studio to $3.725 million for a 3,973-square-foot, 3-bedroom penthouse. Designer furnishings additional.
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