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Exclusive Q&A: Hankey President Scott Dobbins Reveals Latest Details On $500M Circa Towers

Los Angeles

Among the most exciting developments in Downtown LA, the $500M Circa development is under construction at 1200 S Figueroa St. The massive project is a JV of Hankey Investment Co, Falcon California Investments and Highlands Capital. We caught up with Hankey president Scott Dobbins to get the latest details on the transformative project. You can hear more from Scott next week at Bisnow's Los Angeles State of the Market event, Jan. 19, at the JW Marriott at LA Live.

Falcon California Investments and Highlands Capital. LendLease is the GC

Read more at:
Falcon California Investments and Highlands Capital. LendLease is the GC

Read more at:
Falcon California Investments and Highlands Capital. LendLease is the GC.

Read more at:
Falcon California Investments and Highlands Capital. LendLease is the GC.

Read more at:


Bisnow: How is the Circa project progressing?

Scott Dobbins: Our team is making excellent progress toward welcoming residents to Circa’s 648 luxury apartments at the end of 2017. Circa is the third-largest project underway downtown and we are now vertical as you can see by our three white cranes across from Staples Center.

Bisnow: Why was that particular area chosen?

Scott Dobbins: In city nomenclature Circa is in the Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment District. That really says it all, not only are we in downtown Los Angeles, which is seeing a rebirth, we are next to Staples Center and LA Live. With over 200 events a year across the street, our 48k SF of retail will thrive and we will light up the street with the largest LED screen in Los Angeles.

Bisnow: What goes into such a massive project?

Scott Dobbins: Every project has its ups and downs, but it is really exciting and fun bringing such a great project to downtown Los Angeles. It is such an important project in both location and scale that we have had tremendous support from Mayor Garcetti, who spoke at our groundbreaking, as well as Councilman Jose Huizar and Council President Herb Wesson.


Bisnow: What will make this project unique from other residences being built downtown?

Scott Dobbins: We are creating two iconic towers that will anchor the sports and entertainment district and South Park. The name Circa not only plays on the circular nature of the curvy towers and the iconic round pool, but it literally means around or about. That’s what this project will be—all about Los Angeles. Circa is a front row seat downtown. Our front yard will be Staples Center and LA Live, and our backyard will be nearly two acres of resort-like amenities 100 feet in the air.

Bisnow: Do you think Circa will help transform downtown and make it a more popular place to live as opposed to simply work and be entertained?

Scott Dobbins: When I worked downtown 20 years ago, it was a ghost town after 6pm, that has changed and will continue to change and Circa will help that transformation and benefit from it. Our downtown is moving into the urban ranks of New York and San Francisco. From Grand Avenue in Bunker Hill to the arts district to Spring Street and Broadway to LA Live, it is now a place to live and enjoy 24/7.

Bisnow: What other plans does Hankey have for the new year?

Scott Dobbins: I run three lines of business for Don Hankey: investments, lending and development. While we have made recent real estate investments, capital seems better utilized elsewhere so Don has tasked me with growing our bridge and construction lending platform. We finance assets such as urban land acquisition, investment properties and spec house construction like $20M luxury homes in Beverly Hills. Circa is a JV of a lot of players.

Bisnow: How did you all come together?

Scott Dobbins: The initial contact came through our lending business as our current partner, Shawn Zachary, saw the potential for the site and put it in escrow. Overtime we saw Shawn’s vision and realized the dynamics of the site and jumped on board as the majority owner. Shawn was key in getting us into downtown. We have been associated with Dr. Lee at Jamison for nearly 20 years and know and trust his talent, so Don (Hankey) asked him to invest with us, and he has spearheaded the hands-on development for the team.

Dr. Lee's work has been instrumental in getting us to where we are today. This has been a team effort and there are a lot of people to thank behind the scenes, both on our staff and with our architectural, construction and consultant firms, but Circa could not have happened without Don’s, Dr. Lee’s and Shawn’s determination, support and belief in Downtown Los Angeles.


Bisnow: What else does Hankey have underway?

Scott Dobbins: On the development front we are currently under construction, with our partner CityView leading the way, on a 350-unit Koreatown apartment project on Wilshire. We are planning a 650-unit Koreatown high-rise with our partners at Jamison at another site on Wilshire. For our own portfolio we have redevelopments going on, including retail and medical office in Newport Beach and creative office at one of our Marina del Rey properties in Silicon Beach.

Bisnow: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Scott Dobbins: I enjoy living in Manhattan Beach with my wife, Kathleen, and our three kids and love to spend time at the beach with them and friends.

Hear more from Scott and the rest of LA's commercial real estate luminaries at Bisnow's Los Angeles State of the Market event, Jan. 19, at the JW Marriott at LA Live. Sign up here!

Related Topics: Koreatown, CityView, CIRCA, Shawn Zachary