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Are Angelenos Already Living Without Cars?

Project Location: Los Angeles
May 26, 2017
Author: Kelsi Maree Borland - Globe St

Kevin Farrell

LOS ANGELES - Century West Partners is building near transit and is already seeing a significant portion of their tenants living without a car.

A carless L.A. may be closer than it seems. Century West Partners’ CEO Kevin Farrell says that in their K2LA project in Koreatown, only 85% of the residents own cars. In their Santa Monica projects, while many residents own cars, 70% do not use their cars daily to get to work and run errands. This is interesting for a city that is only starting to grow its public transit lines. With residents already willing to shed their wheels, L.A. could reduce its reliance on cars sooner than we think.

“We have focused heavily on transit-oriented sites because we know this market wants to be close to transit,” Farrell tells They don’t want to live in their cars. When we are building in markets like Koreatown, we are a block away from transit. In Chicago, about half of our residents own cars. In Koreatown, we feel like we have hit a homerun because only 85% of our residents own cars. 15% of our residents don’t even own a car, which means they are taking the train and the bus and walking to work. We are finally seeing a break in the car mentality of L.A., and it will continue as long as we can build apartments near transit.”

Century West focuses on all markets of Los Angeles, but has a special interest in Koreatown because of its proximity to transit. “It comes down to really good real estate that works for the demographic that is renting,” says Farrell. “Koreatown has always been one of the densest neighborhood in L.A., but what they didn’t have is luxury units. In the last cycle, mostly condo units were built there.”

Compared to Chicago, the other market where Century West builds, L.A. has some catching up. “The rents are very similar, but the biggest difference is that we build high rises for the most part in Chicago. We don’t have the same seismic concerns, so costs for high rises are comparable to mid-rises. Transit is huge in Chicago, and that is how you get to .45 parking spaces per resident,” says Farrell, adding that Chicago is different because there is one central business center and in L.A., there are many business centers.

The growth in Los Angeles is just starting, and Farrell points out that a lot of the new product hasn’t traded yet, and may not for some time. “A lot has gotten built, but not a lot has traded yet,” he adds. “There is a lot of interest in investing in Los Angeles, especially among the pension funds, which look for long-term holds in great markets. We expect there to be a lot of interest in our projects, like K2LA.”

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