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Seismic retrofitting may be needed for 13,500 apartments

• A large number of apartments built before 1978, with garages and carports on the ground-level are at risk of collapse during an earthquake.  Often referred to as “soft-story” buildings and consisting of two or more floors based on wood frame construction, these apartments proliferated throughout the basin from the 1950’s through the late 1970’s and were built accommodate the growing housing demands of a sprawling metropolis.

• Over the past two years, the City of Los Angeles has compiled a list of 13,500 “soft-story” buildings that are seismically vulnerable and would need to be reinforced. Much of the inventory is concentrated in the San Fernando Valley, Mid-Wilshire/Hollywood area and Westside. 

• Owners will have two years to either submit proof that their asset does not need retrofitting or provide plans for retrofitting or demolition. If repairs are required, owners will have seven years to complete construction. Some of these buildings are already hitting the deadline for getting their plan to the city.

• The high cost of retrofitting might lead to a significant uptick in sales volume from owners who do not want undertake costly upgrades. Conversely, this will create an opportunity for value-add investors, who are willing to bring these assets into compliance. 

Source: JLL Research

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