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Refurbished 1950s Santa Monica Apartment Complex Sells for $70 Million
By Jorge Casuso
October 4, 2021 -- A refurbished 38-unit apartment building that was the subject of a bitter battle to keep affordable housing in Santa Monica has sold for $70 million, the selling agent announced Monday.
Built in 1952, the former rent control building at 301 Ocean Avenue was sold by the Malibu-based Marquis Property Company, Ltd. to an Asian private investor, according to CBRE, which represented the seller.
Eric Chen, who represented the buyer in the deal, said the new owner "is planning to hold this property as a long-term investment."
"They view this asset as a generational asset, and they appreciate the complete renovation the seller had completed to transforming it into the most unique and high-end building on Ocean Avenue,” Chen said.
In 2013, Marquis Property purchased the three-story, 37,989 square-foot complex built by former Santa Monica Mayor Clo Hoover and her husband for $21 million.
The property was "completely remodeled and rebuilt between 2015 and 2017, including reducing the number of units from the original 47," according to CBRE’s selling agents Laurie Lustig-Bower and Kamran Paydar.
Rental rates start at $3,800 per month for garden and studio apartments, $7,000 for one-bedrooms and $10,000 for two bedrooms, according to the leasing agent.
Penthouse apartments go for between $14,000 and $15,000 per month.
The original property was developed by Hoover, the City's first female mayor, and her husband, Chester A. Hoover, shortly after World War II for a booming middle-class. The couple substantially modified it in 1958.
The prime oceanfront location at the northern end of Ocean Avenue led to pitched battles as property values skyrocketed in a city run by liberal rent control advocates.
In 2007, a Texas developer tried to tear down the complex and replace it with luxury condos, which would have marked the first condo complex in two decades on Ocean Avenue.
But preservationists and affordable housing advocates mounted a fierce battle that included a failed effort to landmark the building
The property was bought by Trammell Crow, which used California’s 1986 Ellis Act to withdraw the building from the rental market. Between 2008 and 2009 the new owner evicted all the tenants from the 47-unit complex.
In 2016, the City granted an occupancy permit for the one-acre site, paving the way for Marquis to overhaul the property as a 38-unit luxury apartment complex ("Pitched Battle Over 1950s Ocean-Front Apartment Building in Santa Monica Ends Quietly," August 17, 2016.")
The major overhaul paved the way for the recent sale of the property, which includes a fitness center, courtyard, yoga studio, business center and around-the-clock concierge service.
“This beachside community is spectacular in every way,” said Paydar. “Its high-quality amenity package, unmatched location and ocean views provide the new buyer with a truly special asset in Southern California.”
Said Lustig-Bower, “We are pleased to have achieved a record-setting price for the seller and to have assisted an international buyer in acquiring this trophy asset.”
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