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Sales of Downtown L.A. Lofts a One-Day Affair

Sales of Downtown L.A. Lofts a One-Day Affair

 September 07, 2009

Source :: Los Angeles Business Journal
Date :: 09.07.2009
By :: Daniel Miller

Aquisitions: Concerto developer to use proceeds on site's tower phase.

REAL estate developer Sonny Astani sold all 77 lofts at His downtown project, Concerto--all in one day. The sales were significant because they give him a desperately needed cash infusion that will help him proceed with the rest of the $300 million project. 

He acknowledged that the buyers got deals. "Any time you sell 77 units in one day you are leaving something on the table," Astani said. "It's a small sacrifice I made." 

Concerto: Lofts in foreground

Concerto: Lofts in foreground

Astani found buyers for the lofts in the first building of the Concerto project at a sales event Aug. 29. The $31 million cash infusion will allow him to complete Concerto's second building, a 30-story upscale condominium tower, without depending on money from his construction lender. 

The project has been complicated by questions over Corus Bank of Chicago and its ability to provide the final 5 percent to 10 percent of a $200 million construction loan. 

"What lets me breathe easier is that I am independent of this situation, where I have to follow up with this bank: if they fund, if they don't fund or what happens if the FDIC steps in," said Astani, who heads Astani Enterprises Inc. in Beverly Hills . "I have more than enough to finish the project without private equity, community or government funding." 

The lofts range from about 750 to 1,700 square feet. Astani said they sold for an average of $375 per square foot. That's lower than he had planned when the project was first envisioned. The blended construction cost for both the loft units and the 271 upscale condo units in the tower is about $500 per square foot. 

Astani put $55 million of his own money into the project at Figueroa and Ninth streets. 

With the $31 million in his pocket, Astani expects to complete the tower by the end of the year. He could begin selling units there as early as next month. 

Corus' ability to pay out the loan was in question because of bad bets the bank had made during the real estate boom.