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  • Writer's pictureAlexis Alegre

Downtown Los Angeles: Should I rent at a historic or a modern property?

Updated: Oct 15, 2019

The sheer amount of rental options in Downtown Los Angeles is staggering. With thousands of new rental inventory that came online in the last 12 months and thousands more that will open every year for at least the next 5 years, it can be intimidating, time-consuming, and tedious to figure out where in DTLA you'd like to live -- even if it's just for a short amount of time.

Shameless realtor plug: "That's where we come in! :D" Although, I know some people like to look on their own, or just aren't used to the idea of soliciting a realtor for help with leasing. Hopefully you find this page helpful if you choose to go that route.

Here are some quick bits of knowledge when it comes to living at a historic VS. modern property:

*There are definitely exceptions to the generalities below, and a few properties where you can get the best of both worlds ("Soft lofts" built from the ground up after 2005, and upscale historic properties).

*We're not comparing the small amount of inventory that was built between 1960 - 1990, as most people we've come across are more interested in one or both of the options below, extremely old or extremely new.


(Built on or before 1930 and renovated between 2001 - 2019)

+ More interior square footage for your $

+ Unique visual & material "character" and charm ie. exposed brick, piping, high ceilings, concrete floors, columns or accents, quirky angles, large original or arched windows, barrel-vaulted ceilings, skylights, etc.

+ Small to medium-sized buildings, very boutique (8 - 220 units total)

+ Great noise insulation between neighbors, usually concrete between floors and ceilings

+ Mostly open floorplans

- Parking is usually offsite and the fees are usually higher.

- Some buildings do not have washer/dryer hookups or include washer/dryers.

- Most have single-paned windows.

- Highest floor is 14.

- Might not have a freight elevator.

- Rare to have fully enclosed bedrooms.

Slide for examples of historic properties:


(Built on or after 2005)

+ Larger and more amenities ie. pools, jacuzzis, dog walks, pet grooming stations, rooftops, lounges, gyms, advanced package/parcel receipt, BBQ areas, fire pits, parks, outdoor or indoor theaters, workout studios, drone landing pads, conference rooms, business centers, beach volleyball courts, basketball courts, etc.

+ All appliances including washer/dryer are included (or hookups are available)

+ Onsite covered parking for lower monthly fees

+ Double-paned windows

+ More efficient, functional floorplans. Easier to find fully enclosed bedrooms

+ Up to 60 floors, more options for better views

- Large properties, typically between 100 - 700 units total. Amenities could be crowded or harder to maintain at certain times.

- Cookie-cutter apartments

- Less interior square footage for a much higher price $$$

- Might have less noise insulation between neighbors

Slide for examples of modern properties:

Are there properties where you can have all the historical features and still have amenities and onsite parking? Absolutely. Are these more rare and more expensive? Yes! You definitely get what you pay for. There are also certain units in modern properties that exhibit desirable "historic" features such as high ceilings, multiple levels, open floorplans or concrete beams/floors and vice versa historic properties with more modern finishes.

Whether you prefer old, new, or a bit of both, there's definitely something out there for everyone if you have the right budget for it.

If you're considering moving to Downtown LA, we hope you'll consider reaching out to us for a consultation so we can help make your transition faster, easier, and stress-free :)

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