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New LA Multifamily Casting a Wide Net for Renters

Multi-Housing News  |  Jan 23, 2015

By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer

Simi Valley, Calif.—Diversified real estate development and management firm Decron Properties Corp. will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 27 to recognize the grand reopening of the newly renovated River Ranch Apartments.

Since October 2012, when Decron purchased the Simi Valley property for $70 million, the 397-unit apartment community has undergone interior and exterior renovations totaling almost $14 million. Residents will savor a state-of-the-art fitness center, upgraded clubhouse with communal kitchen and large-screen entertainment center, two pools and spas and new playground equipment.

Renovations to the apartment homes themselves have resulted in upgraded cabinets and countertops, wood vinyl flooring throughout, modern lighting accents, new appliances and new in-unit washers and dryers.

“Several years ago, we identified what we believe is an unmet niche: high-quality, affordable rental properties,” Decron Properties’ chief operating officer Eric Diamond told MHN. He adds the company defines affordable in this context as appealing to middle-income people who make a good living, don’t want to buy a house but are still desirous of a very comfortable residence.

“We’ve pinpointed a strategy for identifying assets or communities in line with that strategy, and an upgrade plan for enhancing those communities and meeting the needs of renters,” Diamond added.

The renters to whom Los Angeles-based Decron Properties’ communities appeal vary widely. “We’re throughout Southern California, and you see young singles right out of school with good jobs, young families starting out, and established people whose children have moved out of their homes,” Diamond said. “There are common themes with all of those groups, [which are] affordability, quality, location, access to transportation or freeways and access to jobs.”

Ability to readily commute to work is a huge issue. “People want to get to work and live near their jobs,” he says. “And people are prepared to pay for quality.”

A recent Los Angeles Times analysis found that Los Angeles renters endure the least affordable rents in the United States. The city’s median rent is 47.9 percent of median income. Forty-five minutes from Los Angeles and Pasadena, Simi Valley offers convenient commuter access to Southern California urban centers, as well as lower rents.

“We’re right of the 118 Freeway, a major freeway giving people access to all over Southern California,” Diamond said. “We’re not that far from the Metrolink, which serves Simi Valley, and brings commuters right into downtown Los Angeles and points in between.”

Simi Valley, with a population of just a bit more than 125,000 people, “is a great town,” Diamond concluded. “It offers great home ownership opportunities but also a great rental market. We believe we’ve raised the bar, offering a superior product at a comparable price.”

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