When a new, 404-unit luxury apartment building leased up in less than a year at pro-forma rents, Tom Wermers knew he was on to something.
The Artisan completed construction in 2013 and is the first phase of a mixed-use development in Corona, Calif. It served as a testing ground for the next phase of the development, The Metro, which broke ground late last year.
The entire development, estimated to cost between $150 million and $160 million, is a joint project between Wermers Properties and Watermarke Properties. It’s the first high-end, large-scale, luxury development in Corona, Wermers says.
“We are excited about being able to have this be a vital part of Corona,” he says. “We’re the first folks to come in and put product like this into this market.”
The Metro will include two additional apartment buildings, featuring 868 units, in addition to retail space and restaurants.
The location was selected about five years ago and the two companies began piecing together the parcels of land to make space for the giant project. But selecting the city was also based on familiarity of the local market, Wermers says.
“My partners are from Corona,” Wermers says. “They’re from Corona and know the area---that was an additional element to this. There are some roots here and there’s definitely an emotional tie between this project and Corona.”
The actual site was appealing because it’s located near the local transit system, Wermers says.
“You can walk from the buildings to Corona metro, and in 30 minutes, you’re in Orange County and in one hour you’re in downtown L.A.,” he says.
With rents continuing to soar in the Los Angeles metro area, a $500 to $700 rent difference can make a short commute look quite appealing, Wermers says.And even though the development isn’t located in downtown Los Angeles, that doesn’t mean the developer will be skimping on the amenity package. Wermers says the apartments will each feature everything you would usually get in an luxury L.A. building and more.
“We have solar energy and car charging stations and bike shops---a gaming center,” he says. “There will be a rooftop deck and parking structure and those generally don’t exist in Corona.”
The first units that will be available for lease-up at The Metro are expected to hit the market in early 2016.