California Home Builders has expanded its Q brand to include a residential complex near Playa Vista.
The developer closed escrow in July on a Class A, 376-unit apartment community for $231 million.
Located at 5901 Center Drive by the 405 freeway — on the border of Culver City and Los Angeles — the development was previously called Modera West LA. Since the acquisition, California Home Builders has begun revamping the property, changing its name to the Q Playa and adding all of the Q amenities and services that are part of or planned for its five Q buildings in various stages of construction in the San Fernando Valley .
The original Q buildings are at Warner Center, where the Q Variel, a 245-unit residence, has been open for almost two years and the Q Topanga, with 347 units, debuted 10 months ago. The Q De Soto – 376 units currently under construction – will open in the middle of 2025. Q Erwin – with 260 units – will break ground next year, while the Q Califa – with 210 units – will begin construction in 2025.
All of the Q properties share a host of amenities including a 24/7 concierge, complimentary valet parking, a Tesla with a driver, branded bicycles, a resort-style pool with cabanas, fitness and yoga facilities with classes and pet spas with in- house groomers.
The strategic move near Playa Vista represents a departure for Canoga Park-based California Home Builders.
“Typically, we build our properties,” said Shawn Evenhaim, the company’s founder and president. “We wanted to expand the brand on the Westside and (acquiring a property) was the quickest way to do it. It had everything we wanted that we could take and transform into a Q property.”
Those traits included that it was a newer construction completed in 2019 and it was built with top-quality standards.
“The location was very attractive, it’s close to the beach and it’s right next to Playa Vista,” Evenhaim.
All of the common spaces met Evenhaim’s Q criteria. There were areas that could be converted to include valet parking and a concierge desk. California Home Builders is currently upgrading furnishings for the common spaces, renovating the landscaping, changing the colors and design of interiors and exteriors and adding electric vehicle charging stations.
“The tenants are already feeling some of the features of the Q community,” Evenhaim said. “The improvements are going in without interrupting the lives of the tenants living in the building.”
There is even a Q app.
“We run all community stuff through there,” said Edan Evenhaim, Shawn’s son and the company’s director of brand marketing. “On there you can see upcoming events, partnerships. We have a bulletin board where residents can communicate with each other.”
The Q brand was inspired by a specific pair of words.
“The two words that always came to our mind was ‘quality’ and ‘unique,'” Shawn Evenhaim said. “The ‘q’ letter was so dominating. Usually when you have the letter ‘q’ you have the letter ‘u’ after it. To us, (the ‘u’) is the tenant.”
The entire process of converting the Modera West LA into a Q site will take between eight and 12 months.
“It’s an apartment building and we want to convert it into a community,” Shawn Evenhaim said. “A lot of the things that happen are not really improvements to the structure of the property, it’s more social and community-building activities. Those were already implemented.”
So far there have been two happy hours. In October, there will be a Q anniversary event with a DJ and catered food. There is also gym programming four times a week and an upgraded gaming area with ping pong and pool.
“It’s part of our desire to transform the living experience of apartment residents,” Evenhaim said. “We want to give them a lifestyle that will exceed their expectations.”
Evenhaim said the first happy hour attracted 100 residents.
“That was the first time the tenants could come together in the building for an event sponsored by the landlord and get to know their neighbors and the team and get to enjoy the building, not just their unit,” Evenhaim said.
Spending the money
Evenhaim added that the extra investment he is putting into the property will be worthwhile for his tenants.
“A lot of real estate companies look at the bottom line and how to minimize expenses,” he said. “We’re looking at how the tenants want to live, how can we make their lives better and how we can make them feel that they are part of a community and not just renting an apartment building.”
Evenhaim said that the building’s transformation into a Q-branded residence did not necessitate raising rents on current tenants.
“We’re not planning any specific increases right now,” he said. “There are just standard increases to meet market rates and inflation and the cost of operation.”
Rents at the Q Playa range from $2,665 to $6,358.
Evenhaim declined to state how much the conversion into a Q property will cost his firm.