L.A. Apartments Ask Manhattan Rents For Rolls-Royce, Botox
With its 40 stories and monthly rents of as much as $25,000, a new Los Angeles apartment tower is reaching Manhattan’s heights. And its amenities may make New Yorkers jealous: a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce, in-house Botox and your latte brewed to order before you even ask for it.
In a city known for sprawling mansions, the 283-unit Ten Thousand, scheduled to open in January on the border of Century City and Beverly Hills, is testing the market for high-end living with high-rise views. It follows the success of the nearby 8500 Burton Way, which opened almost four years ago as one of the city’s first ultra-luxury rental buildings and is now fully leased with rents of $12,000 to $40,000 a month.
“Our sense, based on the reception we’ve got, is that this market is deep,” said Roman Speron, vice president at Crescent Heights, which is developing Ten Thousand. Wealthy renters “just don’t want to take care of the hassles that everyday life brings, and they want someone else to take care of it for them.”
While the $8,500 starting rent at Ten Thousand isn’t unheard of in New York, it’s uncommon in Los Angeles, where a mortgage payment of that amount could pay for a $2.1 million villa with six bedrooms and guesthouse in the Hollywood Hills. But for a wealthy millennial, an international visitor or a bicoastal executive, Ten Thousand’s two- and three-bedroom rentals provide an alternative to a five-star hotel or buying a mansion and hiring a team of servants. And local traffic, now the worst in the U.S., has made proximity to the area’s shops, dining and jobs a luxury.
Almost a quarter of renters in Los Angeles have the credit scores and incomes necessary to buy a home, but are leasing instead, according to a study released Thursday by Zillow. The real estate website ranked the city fourth in the U.S. for tenants qualified to be homeowners.
The glass-and-concrete Ten Thousand building rises above Santa Monica Boulevard, a thoroughfare that connects Hollywood and the Pacific Ocean. While it sits in a car-heavy zone where pedestrians are rarely seen, the building is a 15-minute walk to the luxury boutiques of Rodeo Drive and just blocks from Century City’s office towers and its Westfield shopping mall.
Los Angeles, known internationally for its sprawl, is building up. Developers have transformed the city’s downtown into an area with 50,000-plus residents, more than double the number in 2000, through ground-up construction and conversions. Regional planners also are encouraging more high-rise development along L.A.’s growing subway and light-rail lines. (Modern high-rises are designed to withstand earthquakes, using concrete with metal bars that resist crushing and stretch to absorb a temblor’s energy.) Still, the Ten Thousand tower may be more an outlier than symbol of a trend, said D.J. Waldie, author of “Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir” and writer of essays on urban and suburban Southern California.
“Broadly speaking, the patterns of development in L.A. suggest a more vertical city,” Waldie said in an interview. “This building, though, seems aimed at a slice of the 1 percent that don’t have much of a connection to the rest of Los Angeles. This building does seem like an island unto itself.”
Indeed, Ten Thousand will have enough amenities that residents won’t need to venture out if they don’t want to. The building will have boardrooms tenants can use for business meetings and a full bar for relaxation when the workday is done. Staffers will walk tenants’ dogs or pick up groceries.
Other perks for renters include the house Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Cadillac Escalade; a team of four butlers; and a wellness studio where doctors can be called on to inject Botox. An indoor lap pool has underwater speakers, and a private one-acre park features a chef’s kitchen, dog-run lawn and theater with an 84-inch screen and fire pit.
“There’s a bit of an amenities arms race, where each building wants to have the latest, greatest and newest features to outdo each other,” said Krishna Rao, an economist at real estate listings website StreetEasy.
Among Ten Thousand’s features are “predictive” technologies synced with residents’ iPads and smartphones that allow staffers to know when they might need to retrieve tenants’ vehicles, start brewing their lattes or surprise them with a personalized cake for a child’s birthday. The elevators will identify residents based on their key card or phone and automatically shuttle them to their floor, even making sure those with allergies don’t share a car with pets.
“Things will magically get done for you,” said Nikolay Tevekeliyski, the building’s general manager.
Developer Rick Caruso, whose 8500 Burton Way has even higher rents, said the biggest challenge for Ten Thousand will be getting its almost 300 units filled. The eight-story Burton Way building had just 86 units and a waiting list, enabling it to be fully occupied immediately after its 2012 opening, he said.
But once Ten Thousand -- which has about 2,000 people on its “interest” list, according to Crescent Heights -- is fully occupied, it will be successful because there’s a shortage of luxury rentals, Caruso said. He said he hopes to build another luxury apartment tower too.
Rents at 8500 Burton Way, where residents’ average household income is almost $1 million, are in line with the most expensive buildings in Manhattan not attached to a luxury hotel. The median asking rent at the priciest such property, 456 Washington St., was $17,495, according to a StreetEasy analysis of active listings throughout this year. At 8500 Burton Way, the amenity list includes room service, dog walkers, grocery shoppers and access to a chauffeur and Mercedes-Benz S550 for trips to the airport or shopping.
“This is a better option than staying in a hotel because, when they come back here, they come home where the laundry is done and the kitchen is stocked,” Caruso said.
Rao of StreetEasy said that while the rents at 8500 Burton Way and Ten Thousand are relatively high for Los Angeles, tenants won’t be looking at competing options within the area but rather at Manhattan and other pricey locales globally as reference points.
“A lot of people who are in these price ranges are not tethered to one city or one location,” Rao said. “And they expect the same level of service wherever they are.”