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Reborn As Alta Lofts, Fuller Looks to Fill With Artists*

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San Fernando Road in Lincoln Heights as budding artists colony? So hopes Lee Homes. After taking over the stalled Fuller Lofts project earlier this year, the local developer has slapped a new name on the project--meet Alta Lofts--and is planning to market the 116 condos to artists when the development, a conversion of the old W.P. Fuller Paint Co. building, is finished this fall. Lee Homes is imagining Alta Lofts as a step-up for artists of the nearby (rental) Brewery Art Colony. Well, a step-up for artists who can afford $320 a square foot, what prices are expected to start at, according to Lee Homes chairman Harlan Lee, pictured above. “There are over 300 artists living at the Brewery,” says Lee, who is also a known art collector. “We believe a lot of artists would like to own. Is this space desirable for artists? We think so.”

Some background on the building: This was originally a Liveable Places property until Citibank foreclosed on the property last year when the building was about 3/4 finished. Citibank still owns the project, and hired Lee Homes to do all the construction and marketing on the five-story building, while Pugh & Scarpa is still retained as the project architect. It’s not clear what work Pugh & Scarpa is currently doing, but the company issued us a cheery-sounding statement: “At this stage, we are happy to see it finished.”

The most surprising element about seeing the project in person is checking out the large courtyard, a light well that was added by Pugh + Scarpa. There’s also an open-air fifth floor deck. Some type of outdoor furniture is planned for the ground floor, according to Lee. What about it when it rains? "It'll rain!" says Lee. (The man does not suffer fools.)

The light well makes for a very open feeling, but it may not be a building that provides residents a lot of privacy. On the other hand, the whole communal aesthetic? Excellent party space.

Units will range in size from 858 square feet to 1,526 square feet, and many of the spaces have alternating floor plans. As Lee points out---"All the spaces are strange in the way that they’ve been done"---but one can tell he believes that's not a bad thing.

Meanwhile, it’ll be interesting to see how Lee Homes markets the project to artists, who tend to organically gravitate towards a neighborhood or building, and may recoil at any forced marketing attempt. For now, this stretch of San Fernando Road is mostly known for the Salvation Army around the corner. It doesn’t seem Lee has figured out how he'll attract those artists yet, but he’s not afraid to admit the marketing plan "is still evolving."

As for this building, it’ll be finished by October, according to Lee. There’ll also be a retail component, which is expected to house a neighborhood-friendly space like a coffee store. Additionally, a small gym and movie theater space (for residents) will be housed on one of the lower floors. And yesterday, Lee Homes launched a web site for the project. UPDATE: Pugh + Scarpa are off the project. Via an email: "My name is Daniel Safarik. I am the director of marketing at Pugh + Scarpa Architects. We’d like to clarify the facts contained in an item Curbed LA posted on August 12th about Fuller Lofts being completed by Lee Homes. While Pugh + Scarpa, which designed the project originally, negotiated in good faith with Lee Homes to finish Fuller Lofts, Lee Homes decided not to retain Pugh + Scarpa to finish the project. Pugh + Scarpa is currently not involved in the project in any form. While the project is largely complete, it is unfortunate that Lee Homes has decided not to engage P+S to complete the project. We are hopeful that it will be finished successfully.”
· Fuller Lofts Lives! Lee Homes Takes On Lincoln Heights Project [Curbed LA]

Alta Lofts

200 N. San Fernando Rd., Los Angeles, CA