45-story condo tower planned for L.A.

$400M residential tower would be located in Westside, prices reflect ultra-luxury market

But some neighborhood residents are skeptical about how beneficial ultra-luxury housing would be.

"To make Century City truly livable you need housing for people who work there who aren't presidents of their companies," said Barbara Broide, president of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Boulevard Homeowners Assn. "That's what we need to take car trips off the street."

The mayor of Beverly Hills echoes Broide's concern about how the building might add to congestion. "It will not be easy to digest for Beverly Hills people who are already getting a lot of traffic that is not Beverly Hills traffic."

Faye, the developer, however, said that the residential tower would generate less traffic than the office building that used to occupy the site. The previous owner demolished the building that once housed several tenants, including Jimmy's restaurant.

Faye also said he thought the Nouvel building would be set apart from rivals both in price and amenities.

But competition lurks with many other pricey units coming to market.

Westfield, the owner of Century City's shopping center, plans to build 262 upscale condos or apartments to complement its recent $170-million makeover of the mall. And Century City landlord JMB Realty Corp. plans to build 483 units on Constellation Boulevard.

Owners of the Beverly Hilton Hotel also plan to add upmarket condos as part of a major upgrade and expansion on the property. Other high-end condos overlooking the Los Angeles Country Club and at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills are being built.

The Nouvel design of SunCal's planned tower is intentionally ambitious, Faye said. "This is an exciting opportunity," he said. "The worst thing we could do is under-deliver."