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November 14, 2008

My Millennium Tower Tour

I recently took a hardhat tour of the Millennium Tower, a luxury high rise on Mission at First Street. The building is still under construction, and none of the units are actually finished yet. Our tour mainly included viewing the penthouse and upper-level spaces, as well as a few of the units in the second, less expensive building. Move-in dates are not expected to be until May or June of 2009.

To give you a sense of pricing, a 3300-square foot unit on the 26th floor in the “Grand” residence building was listed at $5.7M and is in contract. It has a dead-on view of Treasure Island, and features two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an area that could be used as an office. Another 1652-square foot unit on the same floor is listed at $2.1M, but that mainly had buildings for an outlook.

I also had the opportunity to see the 57th-floor penthouse, which was literally a shell—and already in contract. The unit didn’t have the drywall up at that point. Listed at $12M, the penthouse is almost 6,000 square feet. Its new owners will be paying to finish the unit themselves; at a typically $500-$800 per square foot renovation average, that means adding another $2M or so.

Over at the “City” residences in the second, lower-scale building, a third-floor, one-bedroom unit with a “flex” space and 1,395 square feet is listed at $1.4M. And another 1778-square foot, one-bedroom unit on the same floor with ten-foot ceilings is listed at $2,170,000.

The ground floor will feature a new restaurant by Michael Mina, as well as a resident-only Sports Club L.A. with about 5,555 square feet. There will also be a private dining room, where residents can have Michael Mina cook for their guests, as well as a wine tasting room shaped like a wine barrel.
Homeowners association dues run from $600-$1800, and are lower than some of the other luxury buildings in town because Millennium isn’t connected to a hotel. (Hotels require earthquake insurance, which significantly raises the insurance for the HOA.) Thus far, the Millennium office says that 85% of the buyers they’ve worked with have been from The Bay Area, and 70% are purchasing units as their primary residences.

The bottom line? Millennium is great for those with a portfolio of real estate, and a taste for ostentatious luxury. However, in the current economy, it remains to be seen how many buyers fall into that category. And if they do, would they rather have a nice house in the north part of the city, vs. a unit?

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