The new $34-million Eleve Lofts & Skydeck is big on ideas and luxury, yet compact and efficient. When opened next month, the 170,000-sq-ft mixed-use project will feature one of the country's largest active roof and six levels of unique "micro-apartments" targeted at the emerging 20 to 34-yr-old Generation Y crowd of young professionals.

Image courtesy American Multifamily inc.
The massive roof deck includes all the project's open space, from barbeques to a full dog park.
Photo by Greg Aragon
The project uses wood framing 65 ft above the podium, which is the maximum allowable height for bearing wood shear wall construction.

"This project came about in 2008 when [the economy] slowed down and we recognized from our developer clients that nobody was building projects primarily aimed at this group," says Gregory Parker, CEO of Huntington Beach, CA-based American Multifamily Inc. (AMF), which is leading the design-build project. "So we focused on them."

Parker, who is also the project's lead designer, says Eleve began with a national survey on the wants and needs of this particular demographic. He says results showed that two-thirds of them would prefer paying more and renting their own studio instead of sharing a residence.

Located in the heart of Glendale, about three miles north of downtown Los Angeles, Eleve is developed by American Post Development LLC, a branch of AMF. The project is designed to meet LEED Silver and is comprised of six levels of residential living including twin master bedroom units, two-story lofts with 16-ft ceilings and the micro-one bedrooms.

Measuring 375 sq-ft, the mini-studios are small yet efficient. They integrate a full kitchen, bath, living room and bedroom with closet, and like all units at Eleve, they boast high-quality finishes such as high-gloss cabinetry, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and in-unit laundries.

Besides their own space, Parker says Generation Y wants to live in a hip, modern environment, so Eleve comes with a luxurious 26,000-sq-ft Skydeck, which Parker claims is the country's largest active roof. "We put all of our open space on this project on the roof," he says.

The Skydeck is an open-air entertainment destination designed with activity specific zones, including semi-private cabanas with power outlets and Wi-Fi, a demonstration kitchen, BBQs, a media center, a poet’s corner complete with a piano, a party area with fire pits, a separate sunning deck with hot and cold spas. The roof even includes a full-service, fenced dog park with Astroturf, a bathing station and sprinklers with a sophisticated draining system for waste.

Doug MacLean, director of construction operations says a unique feature and interesting challenge on the Sky Deck was the strategic use of 7-ft deep equipment wells where all the HVAC was placed out of sight.

“In a complex such as this, the roof typically houses much of equipment, However in this case, the Skydeck was designed to be a social gathering spot for residents,” says MacLean. “As a result, our challenge was to design this equipment into hidden roof wells which would free up the entirety of the roof area.”

Other on-site amenities at Eleve include 16,000 sq-ft of restaurant/coffee house space, a fitness center, business center, space for 75 bicycles, electrical charge stations and a three-level subterranean parking garage.  

The project also boasts green features such low-flow water fixtures, low-emissions paints and finishes, regeneration of rainwater into the underground aquifer and an onsite recycling center.