Soft-Story Retrofit Solutions

Your one-stop shop for all things seismic retrofit

In May 2016, the City of Los Angeles began sending orders to owners of certain wood-frame apartment buildings, requiring retrofits to strengthen the structures in the event of an earthquake. These so-called “soft-story” buildings, featuring tuck-under parking at ground level or otherwise potentially unstable first floors, have proven particularly vulnerable to violent shaking.

If yours was one of these 13,500 buildings ordered to undergo seismic retrofitting, you already know that time is of the essence. What you should also know is that Colliers International is here to help.

Colliers’ team in Greater Los Angeles is here to offer support as you navigate the retrofit process. Our full range of services—a veritable one-stop shop for all things soft-story retrofit—is backed by professionals with the experience and expertise to guide you through, no matter how you decide to proceed. From gathering information to choosing whether to upgrade or sell, you can lean on us.

Lean on us

Colliers Retrofit Report

Information is power. Before making a decision about your property, get to know the facts. It’s important to recognize what it takes to complete the city-mandated retrofit, not only in terms of dollars and days, but also manpower and paperwork. Our professionals have worked hard to bring you the information you need to move forward with confidence, knowing you made the right decision.

What's included in the report?

  • Retrofit overview:  Understand deadlines, construction requirements and more, including information about permitted rent increases to mitigate construction costs.
  • Case studies:  Learn from owners who have already done the work. What did it cost? What went smoothly, or perhaps more importantly, what were their challenges?
  • Property maps: See buildings in your area that have already completed the retrofit.
  • Lists of reputable, reliable architects, general contractors and engineers: Start interviewing for your project, or enlist our project management team.

Efficient and effective construction

Completing the city’s retrofit requirements may seem daunting, but with Colliers’ support, you can be sure the process will go smoothly. Whether you’re local and need a guiding hand, or you live elsewhere and need eyes and ears on the ground, we have the resources and expertise to assist you through a process that is cost-sensitive and compliant.

Our team of experienced professionals, with backgrounds in architecture, engineering and construction, provides leadership, management assistance, technical and financial support, advocacy and oversight to ensure your project is delivered efficiently and effectively.

As your independent representative and advocate, we are an invaluable resource to clients who appreciate our honest, unbiased approach to helping them meet their retrofit and construction needs.

Cost-effective finance solutions

The financial implications for owners of soft-story properties facing retrofit upgrades are considerable. Owners who opt to upgrade buildings may incur significant up-front costs, requiring capital infusion, while those interested in buying these assets will need to find lenders willing to provide financing. Our team, sensitive to the specific needs of soft-story owners and investors, offers comprehensive services that align with your goals.

Our debt team can introduce you to banks that offer cost-effective solutions with personalized service. And by leveraging our relationships with lenders, you can be confident that you will have honest, direct guidance to make the best financial calls for your investment.

Brokerage support across L.A.

We are acutely aware that, with retrofit deadlines on the horizon, there is little time to waste for those looking to sell now. We have the knowledge, skills and experience to complete your transaction in a process that is both time- and price-sensitive.

Our brokerage teams provide strategic support for multifamily investment sales across Los Angeles, with deep, specialized knowledge about the specific markets where soft-story properties are most popular, from the San Fernando Valley to Hollywood and the Westside. And with a successful track record selling these soft-story apartment buildings, we have experience you can rely on to complete the transaction.

Should you decide to sell, we are here to support you from start to finish. Our skilled teams of specialists work closely with large networks of multifamily buyers and sellers, from individual owners to institutional investors in Los Angeles and beyond. We know there are investors who are willing to take on the  cost, effort and risk of this retrofit work.

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Soft-story retrofit solutions experts

William Drewes

Senior Valuation Services Director
Los Angeles - Orange County

Bill also has a 20+ year background in commercial property valuation. Prior to joining Colliers Bill served as a regional underwriting manager and loan committee member at GMAC Commercial Mortgage. Bill was also a partner at the Hanford/Healy Companies, an asset management and valuation advisory firm focused on CMBS B-Piece debt and non-performing debt. Bill began his career in the construction lending departments at Manufacturers Hanover Trust and The Bank of New York. 

Dana Barbera

Senior Director Project Management, Southern California
Los Angeles - Downtown

I have been a Los Angeles resident for over thirty years and have been involved in the design and construction business as long, providing architectural and project management services in various capacities. I was fortunate enough to have developed an affinity for building at an early age. I had my first professional engineering job before the age of twenty and managed my first high-rise office project before the age of thirty. I had my own project management firm for five years before joining Colliers.

Early in my career as an architect, I was fascinated by the technical aspects of putting buildings together. My love of design and construction led me to a broader interest in the overall process and meeting the challenges of orchestrating the resources, designers, constructors, vendors and all the people who, if properly managed, contribute to a successful project. This passion for organization ultimately led me to a second career in project management.

While many aspects of my profession are standardized, all clients differ greatly in their needs, goals and aspirations. As a Director of Project Management at Colliers, I am able to draw from my years of experience and leverage my market knowledge to provide and manage the correct mix of resources and services to deliver spaces and buildings that meet each client’s unique objectives.

I live just outside of the downtown area with my wife and two children, where pastimes include watching them excel in soccer, going on long camping trips and occasional whitewater rafting expeditions.


Brian Corrigan

Senior Managing Director
Los Angeles - Orange County

Mr. Corrigan’s 30+ years of industry experience encompasses real estate finance and sales, mortgage banking and the placement of structured debt, as well as advising to public REITs and private real estate operating companies. During his career in commercial real estate,  Mr. Corrigan has successfully completed more than $7 billion in commercial property transactions, including buy-side acquisitions, dispositions, financings and joint venture capital markets transactions. 

Mr. Corrigan has extensive relationships with diverse domestic and foreign capital sources, including pension funds, commercial and investment banks, and insurance companies. 

Brian is focused on providing comprehensive debt and equity solutions to institutional and private clients with an emphasis on industrial, office, and retail products. This focus includes sales mandates, debt placement, strategic advisory services, and joint venture formations.  Brian is also the co-leader of Colliers' U.S. Institutional Capital Markets Group and Debt and Equity Finance Group. 

Reza Ghobadi

Senior Vice President | Encino
Los Angeles - Encino

With more than a decade of experience in representing investment clients in the multi-family markets of the sprawling San Fernando Valley and the Tri-Cities markets of Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena, and, in the process, has consistently won top producer honors. His most recent achievements include: 2017 Everest Club Top 10% Producer of Colliers Brokerage and the recipient of Max Green’s 2017 Top Producers Award.

Earlier in his professional career, Ghobadi owned and operated a hospitality and transport company whose success provided him with invaluable business acumen and gave him a running start when he decided to change careers in 2006, the year he began his commercial real estate career. Just 12 months later in 2007, he won “Rookie of the Year” honors and has never looked back.

Ghobadi, who is fluent in three languages – English, Swedish and Farsi – continued to win top sales awards despite the economic downturn of The Great Recession of 2008, until it ended five years later in 2012. It was during this five-year period that he won top sales honors despite the severe economic downtown.

After continuing to climb the brokerage ranks at his previous firm, he held progressively more senior brokerage and management positions, including Director of Special Asset Services, where he specialized in the disposition of distressed and REO properties.

His lengthy experience first as a business owner and now as a senior investment broker, including stints at two other brokerage firms, along with his ability to fluently speak three languages in the polyglot markets that comprise so much of the Los Angeles Basin, has allowed him to create and maintain a loyal, ethnically diverse following of clients from a variety of backgrounds.

James Williams

Los Angeles - Downtown

As a multifamily investment sales broker based in Brentwood, I work as part of an ambitious and industry-leading team that has more than 20 years of combined experience working with apartment and mixed-use property owners across Los Angeles. My geographic area of focus is expansive, covering much of the L.A. area between the 405 and 110 freeways, from Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and the Miracle Mile to Downtown and South Los Angeles.

I got my start in commercial real estate in 2010 as a valuation advisor, appraising high-profile and large-scale apartment assets nationwide. When I made the switch to brokerage in 2016, I brought with me specialized skills and knowledge—a foundation based on intimate understanding of the metrics behind real estate—that continue to set me apart as a multifamily agent.

I value integrity, creativity, execution and long-lasting relationships. There are plenty of brokers who try to omit or fudge certain information to get deals done quickly, but I am strongly against that because I value relationships over single transactions. People I work with like and trust me because I work hard, I am down to earth and I have a knack for making complex ideas simple. I sincerely enjoy helping clients work through investment decisions, and although my job offers plenty of tangible rewards, it’s the intangible satisfaction of having met my clients’ goals that is most rewarding.

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