In bustling downtown Santa Monica, rent-controlled apartments flipping to offices

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Demand is high for office space in beach cities

Santa Monica-based architecture firm KFA Architecture announced this week that it’s leading the restoration and reuse of an 104-year-old landmark.

It’s a new chapter for the handsome brick building, located at Second Street and Arizona Avenue, in the city’s increasingly pricey and bustling downtown. The restoration will turn the Renaissance Revival-style building, once home to more than a dozen disabled and senior renters, into offices for businesses.

Office space in beach neighborhoods, including Santa Monica, as well as Venice, and Playa Vista, continues to be in demand, especially with start-ups and tech companies.

As part of the renovation, the three-story building at 1305 Second Street will be retrofitted for earthquakes, its brick facade and decorative cornice and corbel details will be restored, and a deck area will be added on the roof. Wilshire Skyline, in partnership with Kings Arch, Inc. owns and is developing the project.

Formerly named Mar Vista Apartments, the building, until recently, held 49 rent-controlled apartments. Eight of those units were rented by Section 8 tenants.

The building’s transition from a residential space was not smooth. In March 2014, Wilshire Skyline settled a lawsuit with a group of tenants who had sued alleging harassment. The residents had claimed that the owners were trying to push them out to rent the units at higher rates.

The settlement was aimed at improving conditions for tenants. The owners and management company agreed to receive training in fair housing practices, adopt written policies for making repairs, and halt the practice of offering commissions to employees who persuaded tenants to move out.

Then, less than one year later, in February 2015, the owners invoked the Ellis Act, a state law that allows owners to boot tenants from a rent-controlled building in order to take the building off the rental market.

The last remaining tenants left the building one year later. Fifteen of those residents were disabled or seniors, a report from the Santa Monica Rent Control Board shows.

An opening date for the offices has not been announced.

After heated town hall, LA councilmember ‘still committed’ to Venice homeless shelter

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Venice is home to the largest concentration of homeless residents on the Westside.

The shelter could get a redesign but remains on track to open in 2019

After an acrimonious town hall Wednesday night in which residents shouted, booed, and chanted “recall,” Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin says he remains focused on building a temporary homeless shelter at a former bus lot in Venice.

“The Councilmember is still committed to helping reduce encampments in Venice by building bridge housing” at the Metro-owned site, Bonin spokesperson David Graham-Caso tells Curbed.

Bonin was joined by Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore at Wednesday night’s meeting. Battling off jeers, the officials discussed plans for the 154-bed shelter, which would be funded through the mayor’s “A Bridge Home” program.

Announced in April, the initiative is aimed at developing temporary housing centers in each of the city’s 15 council districts to give homeless residents in those areas a place to stay while working with service providers to find permanent housing.

Another shelter in Bonin’s district is already moving forward at the Veterans Affairs campus in Brentwood. But the councilmember told the crowd Wednesday that roughly half of the 2,000 homeless residents living in his district are in Venice.

The neighborhood is home to the largest concentration of homeless residents on the Westside.

“Doing nothing is not an alternative,” said Bonin Wednesday. “We must act.”

Members of the audience voiced a legion of concerns about the project, from whether it would lead to an increase in crime in the neighborhood to whether it could attract more homeless residents to the area.

Garcetti, Bonin, and Moore tried to dispel these fears but were often drowned out by chants of “Venice says no.”

Residents of Koreatown also reacted with fierce opposition to a proposed shelter near the Wilshire/Vermont subway station. Councilmember Herb Wesson, who represents the area, eventually agreed to construct a shelter at a different site.

Graham-Caso says that Bonin and members of his staff are still reviewing input gathered at the meeting in Venice and are having conversations with residents.

Designs for the site, presented at the meeting Wednesday, “will likely change based on community feedback,” he says. “There will be a review process and series of public hearings after a [new] design is finalized.”

Plans for the project call for 100 beds for adults, located in a large canopy-like structure with a climate-controlled interior. An additional 54 beds for homeless youth would be located in portable trailers similar to those at a Downtown LA shelter near the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument.

That facility opened in September and is the first—and, so far, the only—shelter built through the Bridge Home initiative.

According to Graham-Caso, a design change won’t stall the Venice project. He tells Curbed that the council office aims to open the shelter “around the spring of 2019.”

Another hot and dry winter for LA?

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A forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts drought conditions will persist in Southern California.

An El Niño may be developing, but it’s not likely to soak Southern California

Los Angeles is in for another hot winter, with little chance for relief from drought conditions that now exist throughout California, according to a new forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

That’s in spite of a probable El Niño event, which could bring above-average rainfall to the southwestern United States. The NOAA estimates that there’s a 70 to 75 percent chance that an El Niño develops in late fall or early winter, but it’s likely to be a weak El Niño, meaning that it’s less likely to bring higher than average rainfall to Southern California.

Two winters ago, even a strong El Niño, which many meteorologists predicted would cause torrential downpours and flooding in Southern California, failed to bring even above-average rainfall to the region.

“California’s tricky,” Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, told reporters Thursday. “Even [in 2016] when folks thought the stronger El Nino would tip the odds pretty strongly towards wet, that didn’t really pan out.”

This year NOAA climatologists are hedging their bets, predicting neither a wetter-than-average nor a drier-than-average winter for most of California.

Halpert says the agency is more confident that temperatures will be hotter than normal. In fact, warmer temperatures are in the forecast for every state west of the Mississippi.

According to a temperature outlook from the National Weather Service, there’s a 76 percent chance that temperatures near Downtown LA will be near or above average this winter, and only a 24 percent chance that they will be below average.

Warmer weather certainly won’t ease drought conditions in the region. California relies on snow from the Sierra Nevada mountain range for much of its water supply, and if temperatures aren’t cold enough, some of the precipitation the mountains do get this winter could fall as rain.

Thanks to a wet 2017, current drought conditions aren’t nearly as bleak as they were two years ago, but a dry winter could exacerbate the issue considerably.

Halpert says that a key factor in the wetness or dryness of California’s winter will be the number of atmospheric rivers, or streams of water vapor, that develop above the state during the season.

“Six to eight is kind of the ‘holy grail,’ says Halpert. “At this point we don’t really have the ability to predict those.”


Chairman of LA’s Olympics organizing committee lists Beverly Hills estate for $125M

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If sold at that price, it would be LA’s most expensive home

A home built for sports and marketing executive Casey Wasserman wants to be a record-holder. The Wall Street Journal reports the sprawling contemporary Beverly Hills estate will come on the market with a $125 million price tag.

If it sells for that much, it would be the county’s most expensive house, unseating a Malibu property that Hard Rock Cafe founder Peter Morton sold earlier this year for $110 million.

The three-acre Beverly Hills compound is owned by Wasserman, an entertainment and sports executive who serves as the chairman of the Los Angeles Organizing Committee for the 2028 Games.

The property was originally three separate parcels—two owned by Wasserman’s grandparents (the Hollywood studio mogul Lew Wasserman and his wife, philanthropist Edie Wasserman) and one owned by Frank Sinatra.

The house, named Foothill Estate, was built in 2016 and designed by Richard Meier and Partners Architects. Its communal spaces include a “great room” with high ceilings and large automated steel and glass doors that open onto a lawn, dissolving the barrier between indoors and outdoors.

Four bedrooms plus the expansive master suite are upstairs, while staff quarters, a gym, and a screening room are on the first floor. 10- and 12-foot-tall ceilings run throughout the house.

The grounds include a tiled, 85-foot infinity pool, a pool house, and an area for outdoor dining.

Listing agent Stephen Shapiro of the Westside Estate Agency told the Journal that Wasserman was selling because of frequent travel for his role on the Olympic Committee.

Casey Wasserman is a board member at Vox Media, Curbed’s parent company. Vox Media board members have no involvement in Curbed’s editorial planning or execution.

Measure W: LA’s parcel tax for stormwater recycling, explained

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The county wants to institute a parcel tax to clean up water that flows into the ocean.

What would it do, and why is it on the ballot?

Measure W seeks to create a special tax for parcels located in the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, which covers the majority of Los Angeles County. The tax revenue—which homeowners would have to pay—would pay for projects, infrastructure, and programs to capture, treat, and recycle rainwater.

If “The Safe, Clean Water Act” passes, parcels within the flood control district would be taxed at a rate of 2.5 cents per square foot of “impermeable area” (i.e. paved or built-on surfaces that that prevent “stormwater and urban runoff from entering the earth,” like concrete patios).

There would be some exemptions available for properties owned by “qualifying low-income seniors,” government-owned parcels, and those owned by nonprofits. Property owners could apply for credits to pay reduced taxes if they capture or treat stormwater themselves.

Input your address in this online calculator to get an estimate for how much you’d pay if the measure passes.

Who’s behind it?

The parcel tax was proposed by the Los Angeles County Flood Control District. In July, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to put the measure on the ballot.

What impact will it have on Los Angeles County?

If the parcel tax is approved, it would raise an estimated $300 million per year for such projects in the LA County.

That money would be doled out to the flood district and cities in the county for projects and programs.

The back story

County officials have said that this tax is needed to help the county and the cities it contains comply with federal water quality laws that require them to capture, treat and recycle runoff.

“The Federal Clean Water Act requires us to clean up our stormwater, but it’s an unfunded mandate,” Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said at the July 17 supervisors meeting where the measure was approved for the ballot. “We’ve got 88 cities in the county who have been unable to fully address water quality issues because there is no source of funding, and the deadline to meet the requirements is getting closer and closer.”

Arguments for:

  • Approving the measure “will strengthen the county’s capacity to improve water quality and increase water supplies, effectively prepare for emergent environmental and natural hazards, and address the threat of climate change,” county documents say.
  • Urban runoff is a significant source of water pollution. By capturing and treating stormwater, the county could reduce that type of pollution.
  • Approving the measure would help the county use to its advantage billions of gallons of water that would otherwise just run into the ocean.
  • Upgrades to our water system are overdue and much needed.
  • Creating a funding source for stormwater cleanup required by federal law now would help the county avoid expensive penalties later (potentially hundreds of millions of dollars) for not meeting those standards.

“L.A. County is heavily reliant on imported water and faces an uncertain future. Storm water capture systems are a sound investment in our water security efforts.” —Mark Pestrella, director of the LA County Department of Public Works

Arguments against:

  • The measure doesn’t outline specific projects that the money would go toward or any project costs.
  • The parcel tax doesn’t have a set end date, which concerns critics. County residents would have to vote again to end it. Though official wording includes a provision for the county Board of Supervisors to reevaluate the need for the tax in “a period no longer than 30 years,” there are no guarantees the tax would necessarily end at that time.
  • Though property owners who capture stormwater can apply for credits to reduce their taxes, they must essentially reapply for the credits every two years—a process which some say is onerous.

“There are no guaranteed projects, no objectives for capture, no timeline and no guarantees of what the money will pay for. It’s kind of like a blank check,” Los Angeles County Business Federation Advocacy Director D’Andre Valencia told the Long Beach Business Journal

Who supports it?

  • Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
  • Los Angeles County Supervisors Hahn, Kuehl, Solis, and Ridley-Thomas
  • Friends of the Los Angeles River
  • Los Angeles County Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO)

Who opposes it?

  • Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed)
  • California Taxpayers Association
  • Valley Industry & Commerce Association
  • Pasadena Chamber of Commerce

For more information:

USC report says average LA rents will go up $91 by 2020

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The report projects that rents will rise 4 percent in the next two years.

“What we find is depressing”

The average Los Angeles renter will spend a little over $90 more per month on housing in 2020 than in 2018, according to a new report from USC’s Lusk Center for Real Estate.

The authors of the 2018 Casden Multifamily Forecast, a rental market study published Wednesday, estimate that LA renters now pay $2,267 per month, on average. They project that number will rise to $2,358 in 2020—an increase of 4 percent.

Tenants might not see that as cause for celebration, but that’s a far more conservative bump in prices than what was predicted last year in the same forecast. Authors of the 2017 report estimated that monthly rental payments would rise 6 percent by 2019, with average prices hitting $2,373.

The 2020 forecasted price is lower than that in 2019 in part because LA’s rental market has stagnated in recent months. According to the report, rental prices in the county climbed 1.1 percent in the last year. Between 2016 and 2017, they rose 5 percent.

The report’s authors note that, while more than half of LA residents rent rather than own their homes, the county’s homeownership rate increased by a full percentage point in 2017. The pace of new housing construction is also on the rise. In the first two quarters of 2018, the number of housing permits issued is up 44.8 percent countywide.

These factors may have contributed to a slight uptick in the countywide vacancy rate, which now stands at 4 percent. As the report notes, that’s still low enough to push rents upward, but lower demand is helping to keep prices from soaring.

None of this means that rents are affordable for residents—including those earning typical incomes.

“What we find is depressing,” write the authors of the report, in a section on affordability in Southern California.

In Los Angeles, renters who earn the county’s median income would need to devote nearly half of their earnings toward rent in order to afford a median-priced apartment.

Things get worse for lower-earning renters. For those in the 25th percentile of earners (meaning that they make less than 75 percent of residents), paying for a rental unit in the 25th percentile of price points would require an investment of 58 percent of their pay. That’s nearly twice the 30 percent threshold deemed appropriate for housing costs by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

”There is a poor match between people’s housing cost and incomes right now, and no amount of sorting will, by itself, fix this issue,” Richard Green, director of the Lusk Center and a co-author of the study, said in a statement.

Green suggests the key to housing affordability in Southern California is ensuring that vacancy rates continue to rise.

“The way to raise vacancy rates is to build more,” Green said.


Here’s the real-life ‘A Star Is Born’ house

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Bradley Cooper’s home from the star-studded film is actually this Calabasas charmer

An architectural star has been born in Calabasas.

Rumors circulated over the past week that Jackson Maine’s (a.k.a. Bradley Cooper’s) house from A Star Is Born was a rustic but modern charmer located in the upscale community just west of Los Angeles.

The rumor is true: Permits on file with FilmLA confirm that the film’s production team shot at the home.

Built in 1973, the single-story dwelling in the Monte Nido neighborhood of Calabasas was designed by Malibu architect Douglas Rucker, who, coincidentally enough, also designed a house for Kris Kristofferson, star of the 1976 version of A Star Is Born opposite Barbra Streisand.

The Calabasas home was later renovated by Dan Meis, the Staples Center architect who bought it in 2015 and lived there until last year, when he sold it to an LLC named Eden Wild for a smidge over $2 million.

While it’s located just on the outskirts of a major city, its secluded feel reflects the country singer’s low-key personality and apparent discomfort with his own fame.

 Celeste Lindell
‘A Star Is Born’ filmed all over LA, including at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel.

Like the best film locations, it serves as a thematic outgrowth of the character. It’s also simply beautiful to look at.

The production would have filmed in the home during a period of transition. Meis listed the post and beam residence for $2.495 million in February of 2017, but it didn’t sell until September, giving Cooper and company enough time to swoop in and utilize the space in May and June of last year.

A Star Is Born was filmed all over Los Angeles, at such iconic locations as the Shrine Auditorium, the Chateau Marmont, Griffith Park, the Hollywood Roosevelt, the Regent Theater, the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, and The Short Stop bar in Echo Park. The home of Lady Gaga’s Ally, meanwhile, is located at 5223 Shearin Avenue in Eagle Rock.

The Calabasas home was first identified on October 6 by Los Angeles Times reporter Amy Kaufman, who tweeted:

Nestled among a grove of mature native oak trees on a full acre of land, the four-bedroom, three-bathroom midcentury boasts an idyllic indoor-outdoor feel thanks to generous skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows that bring in natural light. Meanwhile, vaulted and beamed ceilings give it the unmistakable aura of a forest cabin, a quality that reflects Maine’s country-boy roots.

Appropriately, the 2,986 square-foot home also features a spacious art studio with its own private entrance, along with three fireplaces (two indoor, one outdoor), an outdoor deck with built-in barbecue, and a detached two-car garage.

It’s easy to see why Cooper, who also directed A Star Is Born, chose the house as Maine’s sanctuary.

But unfortunately for Kaufman and the rest of A Star Is Born’s arena-sized fanbase, the home is no longer up for grabs. Some dreams just aren’t meant to be.


Venice residents jeer as LA mayor lays out plan for 154-bed homeless shelter

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“Venice Beach: Where human poop and needles are part of the fun,” reads a protest sign at a Venice town hall on a proposed emergency homeless shelter.

Residents say they fear the shelter would attract more homeless residents to the area

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAPD Chief Michel Moore were present Wednesday night at a heated town hall in Venice to discuss a proposed homeless shelter in the neighborhood.

Members of the 400-plus crowd, some holding a banner that said “Venice Beach: Where human poop and needles are part of the fun,” shouted and booed as the mayor laid out plans for the project, which would rise from a former bus yard at the northern edge of the city.

“This is a decision about whether we keep people on the streets or take them off the streets,” said Garcetti, struggling at times to be heard over members of the crowd. “I think that’s an easy decision.”

The proposed shelter is part of the mayor’s “A Bridge Home” program, which calls for temporary shelters in each of the city’s 15 council districts. Announced in April, the plan has become a key part of the mayor’s strategy to address LA’s homelessness crisis.

Renderings of the shelter on display at the town hall.
Renderings of the shelter on display at the town hall.

Last month, the first of these shelters opened near the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument in Downtown LA. According to the mayor, 11 of the shelter’s early residents have already been placed into housing.

The shelter in Venice would be about three times larger than the El Pueblo facility, in terms of capacity. It would contain 100 beds for adults and 54 beds for homeless youth, with separate bathrooms and showers for both groups.

But Venice residents speaking Wednesday night said they fear the shelter would attract more homeless residents to the area.

“Is this just a welcome mat for the rest of the country?” asked another resident when Garcetti, Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin, and chief Michel Moore began taking questions from the audience.

One resident likened the shelter to a luxury hotel.

“You have transients here, and there’s going to be more of them if you put in this Ritz Carlton by the beach,” said Venice resident Travis Binen.

To address some of these concerns, city officials have promised to dedicate increased funding for sanitation in areas around shelters and step up enforcement of laws preventing residents from storing bulky items on the street.

That hasn’t satisfied opponents of the project, who wore matching shirts and chanted “Venice says no” throughout the meeting.

Many questions from the crowd centered on whether the shelter would lead to a rise in crime or drug use.

“Most people who are homeless in Venice are not criminals,” said Bonin, drawing boos.

The Venice project is one of 12 proposed shelters that the city is now moving forward with, in addition to the El Pueblo facility. Plans for a shelter in the heart of Koreatown were scrapped when neighbors protested the proposed location, near the Wilshire/Vermont subway station.

Proposed shelter sites in Sherman Oaks, Wilmington, and San Pedro drew similar objections from neighbors.

Not all residents in attendance at the Venice meeting say they are against the shelter.

“Venice is supposed to be about community and love,” said one resident, who identified as homeless. “We’re not going away.”


American Airlines starts $1.6B renovation project at LAX

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American Airlines plans to build a connection to the airport’s future people mover system.

Getting ready for the airport’s new shuttle system

American Airlines kicked off construction Wednesday on a major overhaul of two terminals that the airline operates out of at LAX.

As part of a new lease agreement with Los Angeles World Airports, American plans to spend $1.6 billion over the next decade remodeling terminals 4 and 5.

To start, the airline will build a connection between the terminals and a planned people mover system that will shuttle riders from the airport to a future Metro station at Aviation Boulevard and 96th Street.

According to a statement from American, the company further plans to combine the entrances of the two terminals, creating a “unified departure hall” with new ticket counters and check-in areas. American will also upgrade the bathrooms, restaurants, seating, and shopping areas in the terminals.

The terminal upgrades are part of a larger overhaul at LAX that includes installation of the people mover system and a reconfiguration of the airport’s rental car facilities. Both are projected to open in 2023.

Some of the airport’s other terminals have already been upgraded, and Delta began a $1.9 billion renovation of terminals 2 and 3 earlier this year. LAWA, which operates LAX, is also adding a new 12-gate concourse to the Tom Bradley International Terminal. It’s set to open at the end of 2019.

American Airlines departure hall
American Airlines terminal interior
American Airlines interior terminal


Construction kicks off on county’s massive Vermont Corridor project in Koreatown

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The $453 million project will include a new 21-story tower

The county of Los Angeles begins work today on a huge project along Vermont Avenue between Fourth and Sixth streets that will replace a handful of older government buildings with new offices, housing, and community space.

“The county employees deserved a better place to come to work to serve the residents of the county of Los Angeles,” County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said at this morning’s groundbreaking ceremony. “This community deserved better.”

The first phase of the project entails erecting a 21-story, Gensler-designed office complex, the future home of offices for the county’s departments of mental health and workforce development, aging, and community service.

“We wanted to create a place that would be as innovative and as forward-looking as our employees are,” said Ridley-Thomas.

The tower is a glassy structure that will sit along Vermont near Fifth Street. The county is partnering on the office building with developer Trammel Crow Company.

By mid-2019, developer Meta Housing is expected to begin work on another component of the project, which involves building a six-story senior housing complex with 72 units and a 13,000 square foot community center, designed by Y&M Architects.

Construction on the tower is expected to wrap up in late 2021, says Trammel Crow. Once the tower is complete, county workers in other buildings would move in. That would allow another phase of the project to get underway: the conversion of an existing 12-story building on the site into 172 apartments, designed by Steinberg Architects.

Previous estimates have the adaptive reuse project wrapping up sometime in 2023. The whole project is located roughly a block away from the Wilshire/Vermont subway station.


Dashing late modern in Laurel Canyon seeks second owner for $1.9M

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The 1970s residence sits on a woodsy lot with garden paths and deck space

Surrounded by tall trees and meandering garden paths, this woodsy house in Laurel Canyon is looking for its second-ever owner.

The handsome, late modern home was built in 1979 by USC-trained architect Barry Gittelson. Its tall exterior is sided with dark wood planks, camouflaging it somewhat along the tree-covered hillside it sits on.

Inside, the 2,314-square-foot residence has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, with a formal dining room, kitchen, living room, and reading nook neatly arranged on landings and split levels surrounding floating staircases. Features include wood floors, beamed ceilings, built-in shelving, casement windows, French doors, and a fireplace in the upper level living room.

The house is flanked by large deck spaces that provide treetop views and room for outdoor seating and dining. There’s also a small one-bedroom bungalow on the property with its own bathroom and a separate garage.

The residence sits on a quarter-acre of land with a hilly garden and stairs alongside the house. Asking price is $1.9 million.

View of house from garden
Living roomPhotos by Virtually Here Studios, courtesy Ian Rhodes/Keller Williams
Reading nook
View into living room

What $2,300 rents in LA right now

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See what that price gets in five Los Angeles neighborhoods, from Culver City to Burbank

Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, where we explore what you can rent or buy for a certain dollar amount in various LA ’hoods. We’ve found five rentals within $100 of today’s price, $2,300. Vote for your favorite below.

Curbed LA comparison horizontal rule gif
 Via Zillow

This one-bedroom in a Culver City duplex is just off Culver Boulevard and close to the neighborhood’s busy downtown. The petite, 400-square-foot unit has been recently renovated, and offers hardwood floors, a parking spot, a private front and back yard, and laundry machines that are shared with the other half of the duplex. It rents for $2,350.

 GPM via Zillow

Over in Los Feliz, this bright one-bedroom apartment holds hardwood floors, built-in shelves, a vintage-inspired bathroom, and a parking space. The apartment in a walkable location too—on Vermont Avenue, right in the middle of restaurants and restaurants. It rents for $2,350.

 Yale Management Services, Inc. via Zillow

This two-bedroom North Hollywood townhouse sports some new features, including stainless steel appliances, thanks to a recent renovation. The unit features central air conditioning and heating, recessed lighting, and two and a half bathrooms, plus parking. It rents for $2,395.

 Via Zillow

Just off Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank, this spacious 1,100-square-foot two-bedroom apartment has its own balcony and no upstairs neighbors. The unit features hardwood floors and on-site laundry. It rents for $2,300.

Just off Crescent Heights and Santa Monica in West Hollywood, another walkable location, this one-bedroom apartment lets in lots of natural light. Measuring 700 square feet, it holds built-ins, refinished hardwood floors, and two AC units. It comes with one parking space and rents for $2,295.


Larger development planned near Purple Line in Koreatown

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Renerings by MVE+Partners

228 units about three blocks from the subway

Plans to build a six-story apartment building behind Koreatown’s Southwestern Law School have been altered by the property’s new developer, K-1 LLC.

A previous developer had proposed 180 units in a six-story building at this site, 2972 West Seventh Street, in early 2016.

But in a project filing published Friday by the city planning department, the new developer outlines its plan to build 228 residential units on the lot. (The filing notes that the project would have affordable housing component but does not clarify how many units that would amount to.)

K-1 is an LLC connected to City Century, the LA subsidiary of Chinese developer ShengLong Group. ShengLong is also developing the planned Olympia project, which will bring three towers to a site on Olympic across from L.A. Live.

Along the ground floor, the Koreatown building would have nearly 8,000 square feet of commercial space. Renderings by MVE+Partners show balconies along Seventh Street and large windows where storefronts meet the sidewalk.

The developer wants to use the city’s transit-oriented communities guidelines to be able to reduce the amount of open space it provides. In exchange, it would put affordable units in the complex, which is located about three blocks from the Wilshire/Vermont Red and Purple line station.

A timeline for construction has not been released.


Tunneling begins on Metro’s subway to the Westside

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Tunnel boring machines are chewing up earth below the Miracle Mile

Tunneling is officially underway on Metro’s Purple Line subway extension to the Westside of Los Angeles.

The first round of tunneling started Tuesday beneath the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue.

Twin 450-foot-long tunnel boring machines (dubbed Elsie and Soyeon) will carve out about 60 feet of tunnel daily for the next two years, en route to the Wilshire/Western station, where Purple Line trains now turn back for Downtown Los Angeles.

The first phase of the Purple Line extension broke ground in 2014 and is expected to open in 2023. The $2.82 billion project will add a little under 4 miles of track to the subway route, bringing it to the intersection of Wilshire and La Cienega boulevards.

Eventually, the extension will bring the train all the way to the VA hospital, just west of the 405 on the border of Westwood and Brentwood. The project is being constructed in three segments.

 Courtesy of Metro
The cutting head on the boring machine is purple, to match the line’s name.

Phase two will run between La Cienega and Constellation Boulevard in Century City. The third phase will add a stop near UCLA en route to the VA.

Altogether, the extension will add roughly 9 miles to the Purple Line and is expected to carry nearly 60,000 riders daily.

But the project isn’t popular with Beverly Hills residents and school officials who have sued repeatedly to block the second leg of the project, arguing that tunneling work beneath the Beverly Hills High School campus could pose a threat to the safety of students. Metro officials have steadfastly denied these claims.

Map showing Purple Line routeCourtesy of Metro
The Purple Line is being constructed in three phases.

Last week, students, teachers, and school administrators in the city gathered at Will Rogers Memorial Park to protest the subway project.

Tunneling work hasn’t started yet on the second phase of the project, and Metro spokesperson Dave Sotero told Curbed last week that the agency selected a route that travels beneath the high school because that route “provides the greatest benefits with fewest impacts.” Another proposed route along Santa Monica Boulevard would have intersected with an earthquake fault.

Sotero says Metro will continue to look for unmapped oil wells beneath Beverly Hills out of “an abundance of caution.”

Protests and legal challenges notwithstanding, Metro expects all three phases of the project to be complete by 2026.

CBS Television City reportedly selling to Hackman Capital for over $700M

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The buyer also owns Culver Studios

Developer Hackman Capital is in the process of purchasing CBS Television Studios in Fairfax, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The deal, though not yet complete, is said to be for more than $700 million. (That’s roughly in the middle of the range experts gave when the property came on the market last year.)

CBS is expected to stay at the campus for some time after the sale goes through, but beyond that, it’s not known what’s planned for the site, the Times reports.

A representative for Hackman has not returned messages seeking comment.

The Fairfax studio campus was where decades of television classics were filmed, like The Carol Burnett Show and All in the Family, and where shows like Late Night With James Corden continue to be produced.

The property was awarded landmark status earlier this year. The landmark designation allows for the most historic and architecturally significant part of the complex to be preserved but leaves the door open for development elsewhere on the 25-acre campus.

Hackman, which is based in Los Angeles, has a handful of large-scale and high-profile projects in the works now.

The company owns and is redeveloping Culver City’s Culver Studios and the nearby Culver Steps project. Both will have big-name tenants like Amazon.

Hackman is also redeveloping the former Northrop Grumman aerospace plant in El Segundo into 550,000 square feet of creative office space spread across four buildings.


Gorgeous Spanish-style in Silver Lake with ties to Leonardo DiCaprio for sale for $1.7M

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The living room has wood floors and a tile fireplace.

Built in the 1930s

This Spanish-style home in Silver Lake has Old Hollywood charm and ties to one of present-day Hollywood’s biggest box office stars.

Built in 1931, it appears to have been kept in great shape in the decades since its construction and boasts plenty of lovely original details. They include hardwood and parquet floors, beamed ceilings, arched entryways, French doors, an elegant living room fireplace, and some incredible bathroom tile.

The 3,560-square-foot house has four bedrooms and four and a half bathrooms spread across multiple levels. There’s even an elevator.

The home sits on a 6,484-square-foot lot with a swimming pool, a covered pavilion, and an enclosed courtyard complete with a fountain.

According to property records, the four-bedroom residence is owned by a trust operated by Leonardo DiCaprio’s cousin and longtime business partner Robert Hrtica. At least three other LA-area properties owned by DiCaprio have been bought or sold through trusts controlled by Hrtica, property records show.

Most recently, one of Hrtica’s trusts was listed as the buyer of a stately Tudor Revival house in the Los Feliz Oaks; the Los Angeles Times reported that one of DiCaprio’s family members would be moving in.

Listed by Brett Lawyer of Hilton & Hyland, the newly listed Silver Lake house is asking $1.749 million.

Pavilion and pool
Living room
Door with tiles
Bathroom with green and black tile