Developer uses art to entice downtown LA tenants

The owners of a new apartment complex in downtown LA are tapping artists for help marketing their building, OLiVE DTLA. They’ve launched a competition for an artist in residence, who would live at the complex for six months and engage the residents in the art-making process. This Thursday, June 22, they’ll announce the winner of the competition.

This is the latest example of a growing trend for real estate developers to bring street cred to new development by bringing in artists. So who is gaining here, and are there losers? Or do we simply have a more colorful city?

DnA producer Avishay Artsy spoke to Wolff Company director of marketing Amber Huntley-Ruiz; Street Art House co-founder Justin Fredericks; Crewest Studio co-founder Scott Power; and artists Lindsey Nobel and Joseph Lee.

OLiVE DTLA is a 293-unit mixed-use project located downtown at 12th between Olive and Pico, a few blocks east of Staples Center. It costs between $2,000 and $4,000 for an apartment there. Amenities include a pool, rooftop common areas with firepits and barbecues, a 24-hour fitness center, and private underground parking. The artist in residence would get a two-story, rent-free loft and $2,000 a month for supplies. The Wolff Company, the building’s developer, says it’s at about two-thirds capacity already. There are typically vacancies in the first year of a building’s life, so the artist’s apartment is essentially free for the developer.

The Wolff Company is based in Scottsdale, AZ. Their developments are mostly in the Western U.S., and they have another project across the street from OLiVE DTLA called G12, at 12th and Grand. They also have properties in Anaheim and Oxnard. But this is the first time they’ve tried having an artist in residence.

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Chris Alexakisart, gardens