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Rental Development Park La Brea Getting Prettied Up

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Sure, you know about the mystery towers at Park La Brea. And you know about questionable deposit practices at Park La Brea. But did you know that the sprawling 176-acre mini-community/rental jambalya near The Grove is undergoing a steady years-long facelift? No? Wake up, then! Pay attention! Nadel Architects, the project's architect, forwarded a bunch of renderings. That's your new Clubhouse above. But can you bring your dog to it? We once heard no pets were allowed at Park LaBrea. Answers needed!

Via Lina Whitworth, Senior Designer - Associate, at Nadel:

"Park La Brea Project Narrative:

Developed back in the 1940s by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company as part of a national plan for urban villages, Park La Brea sits on approx. 176 acres and has the capacity to house about 11,000 residents, a little
less than all of Malibu’s residents! Amazingly, some of the current residents have lived here since the project opened. With (18) 12-story concrete towers and the 2-story ‘garden units’, Park La Brea has something for everyone.

When it was built, Park la Brea was LA’s first real apartment community and was the ‘address of choice’ for many of Hollywood’s emerging stars. Today, Park la Brea is one of the largest and arguably most valuable residential real estate properties in the City of Los Angeles.

The Prime Group, owner of the property since approx. 1995, approached us (Nadel) June 2005 with a plan to ‘re-brand’ their aging property and reposition it amidst the mushrooming of what is being referred to as ‘luxury’ yet crowded apartments. It was clear to us (Nadel) from the beginning that Park La Brea will never be the newest product on the market, nor will it be able to match some of the newly constructed competing properties.

However, one unique characteristic of Park La Brea is the sense of space in a crowded urban setting. While most apartment complexes are struggling to maximize density at 82 to 88 units/acre, Park la Brea has only 22 units per acre. Located in a bustling neighborhood, walking distance to the Grove and the Farmer’s Market, a sense of calm still pervades this gated community where residents can enjoy the peace and quiet of a park-like setting. Spanning everything between 3rd and 6th street, Fairfax and La Brea, the property is larger than Hancock Park and Mac Arthur Park combined.

What Park La Brea does have that no other property in its class can claim, is a true sense of Los Angeles history. We believe there is a desire for authenticity and a sense of lasting value, particularly in LA housing, and that
is what we strove to enhance. Park La Brea is one of the World’s few realized examples of Le Corbusier’s “towers in the park”, a master plan concept that has influenced the thinking of architects and designers for decades. By resisting the typical Los Angeles model of suburban sprawl, Park La Brea was able to create towers whose apartments enjoy incredible views in all directions while freeing the ground plane to feel like a continuous park that flows under the towers to create a cohesive identity throughout the property. Unfortunately, the portion of the property East of Hauser is bisected from much of the park and has been dominated by the necessary parking to a point that it feels more like “towers in a parking lot”. Ironically it is the separation of just these few towers that provided the opportunity for a new brand that will be perceived to be of greater value and quality than the balance of all the towers in Park La Brea. With the first phase of the improvements almost complete, and at least another 3 phases in the near future, a lot is going to change:

- An inside-out facelift for the towers, a new gate and a laser-cut decorative fence reinforce the historic nature of the buildings and their authentic Art Deco details.

- A major re-organization of the internal roads and parking lots has allowed us to not only gain valuable parking spaces, but also increase the amount of landscaped areas. A central ‘Grand Court’ inspired by the French Baroque Parterres, will dramatically improve the views looking down from the tower apartments.

- No other addition to the property will define the future image of Park La Brea as much as the new Clubhouse (Leasing Center, Fitness Center and Pool deck). Rather than trying to make these elements fit quietly with the existing architecture, we opted to make a statement by announcing a modern addition to the property. A very glassy 2 story fac?ade, a sculptural building shape and a dynamic pool that appears to break out of its elevated deck and disappear into a slot as a sheet of water will become the ‘hip’ ingredient in a more historic setting.

What was once a large oil field ..."