New Uber-Luxury Condos Begin to Multiply in Beverly Hills

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Another new uber-luxury condominium project in Beverly Hills has finally received the green light, this one coming after more than half a decade wading through the entitlement process. 

GPI Companies and Nahla Capital’s project at 9908 South Santa Monica Boulevard received unanimous approval from the Beverly Hills Planning Commission to clear the last hurdle in a six-year marathon approval process. 

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The four-story building with about 90,000 square feet will house 17 custom residences ranging from 3,000 square feet to 7,000 square feet, as well as eight swimming pools, according to plans proposed at the commission meeting. Prices will start at $3,000 per square foot, a source told Commercial Observer.

The mixed-use project will also feature ground-floor retail, per GPI’s website. The developers will break ground in the second quarter of 2022, with the project delivered to market in five years, the source noted. It is not clear yet whether the project will be associated with a hotel brand.

The development at the former site of the Friars Club was first filed in 2015. Four years later, the Beverly Hills City Council cleared the way for a zoning change to accommodate a mixed-use development, per the Beverly Press

A spokeswoman for GPI confirmed the approvals for the project were complete but declined to comment further. Nahla didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The condo project is just one of three major new developments that are transforming the Beverly Hills luxury housing stock, after the Mandarin Oriental Residences and One Beverly Hills.

New condos are a big departure from the typical housing stock in Beverly Hills, known for its lavish, sprawling mansions. But more people have been downsizing and scooping up luxury apartments that have long appealed to international buyers.

“We have experienced a market of homebuyers for these types of real estate opportunities that wish to sell their larger homes in Beverly Hills, or surrounding West Hollywood neighborhoods, for new, amenity-rich condominiums requiring less maintenance than their current single-family residence,” Jim Jacobson, senior vice president at Douglas Elliman, said. “In many cases, these purchases are second or third homes where the condominium environment offers a lock-and-leave opportunity. In large part, many of our buyers in luxury condominiums have homes in our other key markets—New York, Aspen, Florida, Texas, etc.”

Pre-selling has commenced at Mandarin Oriental Residences at 9200 Wilshire Boulevard, the first standalone condo project for the Hong Kong-based hospitality brand. The 323,000-square-foot, seven-story project will feature 54 units, all with outdoor space. The development is being financed by a joint venture between Shvo and Deutsche Finance America, per announcements from Shvo and the Mandarin. Units will range from 1,400 square feet to 6,000 square feet, according to Pieter Berger at MVE + Partners, the architect for the Mandarin residences. 

Other amenities include a fitness and wellness center with a variety of spa and beauty treatments, a high-end beauty salon, a library, lounge, and a 40-foot rooftop swimming pool complete with an adjacent bar and lounge featuring chef Daniel Boulud. In addition, Boulud will have a public restaurant at the base of the building, and offer in-home dining experiences. Unit prices start at $3,000 per square foot and closings and move-ins are expected in the second quarter of 2022.

Mandarin’s Adelina Wong Ettelson said now is a good time for a residential project because “L.A. hasn’t seen a significant real estate development such as this one in a decade.” 

“We continue to see a growth in branded residences and they generally achieve a premium on average of 35 percent-plus over equivalent, non-branded properties,” she said.

She added that residents will be able to “experience what our guests at our hotels enjoy — intuitive and attentive service imbued with our Oriental heritage.”

The Mandarin is targeting “ultra-high-net-worth individuals, power players and international investors” in its marketing efforts, according to Ettelson.

In July, CO reported Alagem Capital Group and Cain International kicked off the development of One Beverly Hills — a 17.5-acre, luxury mixed-use project at the intersection of Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards. One Beverly Hills will encompass the existing Beverly Hilton and Waldorf Astoria hotels with two new residential towers and one new 10-story, all-suite luxury hotel that will include shared ownership condominiums. Last month, CO reported that Aareal Capital and Goldman Sachs loaned $500 million on the megaproject.

Property amenities will include eight acres of botanical gardens, a 130,000-square-foot private members club with a state-of-the-art spa; a clubhouse with a private restaurant; wine tasting room and cellar; screening rooms; bowling alley; and a fitness area with private training rooms, an indoor lap pool, indoor basketball and pickleball courts, and an outdoor fitness facility.

While international buyers had been the primary buyers of branded residences and high-end condo units, there has been a dampening in the market as the pandemic made travel prohibitive. But Jacobson is optimistic about international buyers reemerging in Los Angeles.

“We anticipate the international buyers coming back and further boosting an already robust luxury and branded condominium market,” he said. “As an international destination [with a] lack of inventory, Beverly Hills will continue to benefit.”