LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Development of the long-vacant two-acre property at the southeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue will begin this week with the groundbreaking of The Vermont, a 464-unit high-rise apartment complex with retail space and dedicated public open space along Wilshire Boulevard. The project is the largest residential development to be built in Los Angeles since the beginning of the latest real estate downturn.
The partnership of Jerome Snyder, Michael Wise and Lew Geyser comprises the backbone of the J.H. Snyder Development Company. Having long believed in this location and the project, they have persisted through the last two years of challenges and hurdles to entitle the project, assemble a nearly $200 million capital stack and now to pull their building permit and proceed to construction.
“Given the economic challenges of the past several years, we are thrilled to begin construction on a mixed-use community of this scale and quality,” said Jerry Snyder, Senior Partner at J.H. Snyder Company. “This is a significant investment that will transform the long vacant two-acre dirt lot into the new heart of one of LA’s most energetic neighborhoods. It feels great to move a significant, job-creating project forward at a time when new construction activity of this scale is rare.”
Washington Capital Management, which manages investments for union pension funds in Washington State, is the lead equity investor in the $200 million project. Snyder, one of Southern California’s most prolific residential and retail builders, also infused equity into the project. At the end of 2011, JP Morgan closed on a construction loan and Bentall Kennedy closed on a mezzanine loan, clearing the way for the development team to break ground on the project.
“We are excited to see The Vermont move forward, especially in light of the difficult lending environment we face today,” said Kacy Keys, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at J.H. Snyder Company. “It took a very complex financial structure, the ongoing support of Councilman Herb Wesson and the backing of our great partners Washington Capital Management, JP Morgan and Bentall Kennedy to make The Vermont a reality. Their willingness to be a part of The Vermont through the ups and downs of the past year speaks to the quality of this project and the confidence they all have in J.H. Snyder as a developer.”
The development team plans to begin construction this week, with an estimated completion date in 2014. When complete, the LEED-certified project will be comprised of a mix of residential, retail and recreational uses. Features will include two high-rise towers surrounding a quarter-acre central courtyard; approximately 40,000 square feet for ground floor retailers including restaurants, a grocer, bank, dry cleaner and coffee house; as well as public underground parking. Residents of The Vermont will also have access to a full-service concierge, shared lounge-style workspace, a pool, high-end gym and spa exclusively for their use.
“There is a strong and growing need for high-quality apartment homes and retail in the Mid-Wilshire area, and we hope to be able to meet some of that pent up demand with The Vermont,” said Michael Wise, Senior Partner, J.H. Snyder Company. “This project has been a long time coming, so we are excited to be moving to the next stage in the development process and to be that much closer to injecting new life into this already vibrant community.”
The groundbreaking comes a year after the Los Angeles City Council and Community Redevelopment Committee voted unanimously to approve The Vermont, praising the project team’s outstanding effort to incorporate the local community into the planning process and deliver a generous community benefits package.
The investment is expected to create more than 1,800 union construction jobs at a time when the industry is hurting. As part of the project build-out, J.H. Snyder Company will make a $1 million contribution to help fund a community center in the area and contribute efforts towards the creation of 96 affordable housing units elsewhere in Koreatown. The firm has partnered with Korean Churches for Community Development and AMCAL housing to begin identifying sites for affordable housing. The Vermont will also feature 77 non-reserved public parking spaces in the garage as well as 12,000 square feet of public open space along Wilshire Boulevard.
“I applaud the hard work of J.H. Snyder and the company’s capital partners in moving this critical project forward,” said Council President Herb Wesson. “The Vermont will be a welcome addition to the community, and we look forward to seeing this incredible project come to fruition,” he said.
About J.H. Snyder Company
Currently a $1.5 billion enterprise, the J.H. Snyder Company has built more than 41,000 residential units, four million square feet of office space and more than two million square feet of retail development in its nearly 60 years of operation. As one of the nation’s leading builders and innovators the J.H. Snyder Company is consistently involved in signature developments that define and change Southern California communities for the better.