Universe Holdings acquires historic multifamily community in Hollywood for $6.9 million

Villa Valentino
Universe Holdings has acquired, Villa Valentino, an historic 18-unit multifamily community in Hollywood, CA for $6.9 million.

Universe Holdings has acquired, Villa Valentino, an historic 18-unit multifamily community in Hollywood, CA for $6.9 million.

Built in 1926, the property at 2000 N. Highland Boulevard and once home to Charlie Chaplin is registered as a Hollywood Landmark. It is also rumored that Led Zeppelin kept an apartment there in the 1970’s. It is considered one of the best remaining examples in Los Angeles of the Garden Court style of architecture that dominated the early 20th century. Garden Court apartment complexes are known for having concentrations of similar multi-unit buildings situated on a large and often irregularly shaped property. The designers relied on color; texture, light and shadow to create visual interest, with building entrances face landscaped courtyards rather than the street. Typically there are one or two large courtyards or greens at the nucleus of the complexes available to all residents.

The seller spent more than $1.5 million in capital improvements, including completely furnishing 13 of the units with the goal of turning the property into an Air B&B catering to people in the entertainment industry working in Hollywood. But new laws in the city restricting such usage, along with the onset of Covid 19, led the ownership to put the property up for sale.

Universe purchased the property at $380,000 per unit, well below the average sale price of between $500,000 to $1 million per unit for such assets in the market, making the acquisition a tremendous buy according to Universe CEO Henry Manoucheri.

“Our history of successfully acquiring and restoring historic properties has provided us the blueprint for success that we can use with Villa Valentino,” said Universe Holdings CEO Henry Manoucheri. “Our experience has shown us there is a big audience for these type of buildings in this market. I look at buying these types of historical buildings similar to buying great pieces of art. They are irreplaceable assets that we believe should be appreciated and valued.”

Villa Valentino is the eighth historic property that the Los Angeles-based real estate investment company has acquired. That includes its 2001 purchase of the Chateau Alto Nido Apartments. Opened in 1930, Chateau Alto Nido was Hollywood’s premier apartment hotel in the 30s and 40s, with many of its residents being well known actors of the day. Universe restored the property to its original splendor, protecting its rich history by restoring its floors, fixtures and lobby to the look as they did when the property opened.

The property features a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units, with five of the apartment homes subject to rent control. The grounds include multiple private and share courtyards connected by arched passageways. The building was designed The Davis Brothers (F. Pierpont and Walter S. Davis) noted architects whose other known works include Saint John the Episcopal Church in Los Angeles and the Villa d’Este Apartments in West Hollywood.

Located a half-city block from The Hollywood Bowl, Villa Valentino is within walking distance to Hollywood and Highland, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Dolby Theater. The nearby Hollywood/Highland Metro station for the Red Line subway provides access to Downtown Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.

Universe plans to improve visibility from the street by trimming back trees, enhancing the landscaping and adding new signage and lighting. Lease up is expected to begin immediately. As they have done with their other historic properties, Universe will ensure any renovations completed at the property protect the building’s rich history and are consistent with the property’s original design and look.