Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber drop $11.6M on a flipped modern in Trousdale Estates

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The 1959 residence was updated by OneRepublic singer Ryan Tedder

Supermodel couple Cindy Crawford and Rande Gerber picked up a new LA area home last week, spending $11.63 million on a five-bedroom residence in Beverly Hills’s exclusive Trousdale Estates neighborhood.

The 5,386-square-foot house was previously owned by OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder and his wife Genevieve, who purchased the 1959-built home in 2014 for $7.49 million and gave it an extensive remodel.

Positioned on a one-acre lot, the house is surrounded by gardens, yard space, and outdoor patios. Large sliding doors in open living spaces lead to an outdoor courtyard with a fire pit. Next to that is a swimming pool and spa with a bit of tree-shaded deck space.

Interior features of the home include hardwood floors, walls of glass, a fully updated kitchen, and multiple fireplaces. The master bedroom also opens to the outdoors and includes a massive en-suite bathroom.

The property hit the market in June with a $12.75 million asking price. David Gray of Partners Trust represented the sellers, while Kurt Rappaport of Westside Estate Agency represented the buyers.

Crawford and Gerber are also still looking for a buyer for a four-bedroom beach home they own in Malibu. Asking price for that residence is a cool $60 million.

Open living area
Living area and kitchen
Living area with fireplace
Master bedroom
Bathroom looking toward bedroom

Ice-T’s old Hollywood Hills house, featured in ‘MTV Cribs,’ up for grabs at $9M

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Still has that retractable-roofed pool

A four-bedroom, five-bathroom residence once owned by rapper and actor Ice-T is on the market now.

Because of its famous former owner, the Sunset Plaza house was featured on MTV Cribs, reports LAist.

The episode showcased the house’s sweeping views, its home theater, and the pool and spa, which are covered by a retractable roof. (Triumphant music plays as Ice-T pushes a button and the roof opens up.)

The house was clearly signifcant status symbol for Ice-T, who tells the Cribs crew that he considered the house “great accomplishment for myself.”

The original clip can be viewed here.

The hillside residenc, described as a “dramtic fortress” in the listing, also boasts a custom aquarium, multiple terraces, and a full bar.


The house is listed for $8.99 million.

 Photos by Marc Angeles. Courtesy of Josh Morrow/John Aaroe Group.

Downtown LA vacancy rate hits 17-year high

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Landlords are giving out free parking—and free rent

Waves of new fancy apartments in Downtown LA have helped bring the neighborhood’s vacancy rate to its highest level in nearly two decades. It’s now 12 percent—the highest recorded by real estate data firm CoStar since 2000, KPPC reported today.

With so many available units, building owners are offering lavish perks, from six months of free rent to one year of free parking to try to lure tenants. The median price of a one-bedroom in DTLA is about $2,500 per month, according to rental website Zumper.

“The stuff that’s being built right now is really targeting the very top of the renter’s pool,” CoStar senior market analyst Steve Basham told KPCC. “The majority of the renters in L.A. are not going to be able to afford that.”

These freebies indicate to some that luxury rentals aren’t the best use of Downtown’s space.

“This is not the kind of project we need Downtown, especially considering the vacancy rate is so high,” Thelmy Perez of Los Angeles Community Action Network, a group that has spoken out most recently against a luxury apartment building at Seventh Street and Maple.

These “concessions” essentially equate to lowered rent if considered in aggregate, Paul Habibi, a real estate professor at UCLA’s Ziman Center For Real Estate and an apartment building owner, tells Curbed.

Why offer them instead of a lower monthly rate?

Habibi says high “contract rents” represent a high earning potential for a building if a owner decides to sell. Of course, when the lease period is up, the days of free rent are up, too.

Meanwhile, however, in the rest of the city, the vacancy rate is much lower at 4 percent, reports KPCC.

A low vacancy rate indicates that available apartments are in short supply, and when vacancy rates are low, rents tend to be high. Policy experts say that a vacancy rate below 5 percent signifies an area needs more rental units.

Case Study House morphs into a Regency-style contemporary and is now for sale in Beverly Hills

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It’s asking $8.7 million

The original Case Study House #18 by Craig Ellwood, “extensively remodeled and altered,” is for sale right now in Beverly Hills.

Its current form is more of a Regency-inspired exterior and an interior that combines brown floor tile, vaulted ceilings and skylights in the kitchen, and touches of what looks to be marble. The residence sits on a plot that’s just under an acre of land.

The four-bedroom house began its life in 1958 as a prefab house with a sleek, minimal design that was “strongly defined with color: ceiling and panels are off-white and the steel framework is blue.” (Images from the early days of the house can be seen at the website Mid-Century Home.)

“The original steel frame, pre-fab midcentury house potentially could be restored to its original intent,” says the listing, leaving the possibility open for a return to the past for the house.

The Case Study House program was sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine. The homes, designed from the mid-1940s to mid-1960s, were supposed to be replicable and affordable, and were aimed at building much needed housing in the post-World War II era.

This house, most recently owned by Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg and his wife, is listed for $8.7 million. (The property site shows the residence’s previous price, $9.5 million.)

30 apartments planned for vacant Historic Filipinotown hillside

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Right next to the Temple Community Hospital site

Plans are in motion to put a new apartment building on a vacant lot next to the Temple Community Hospital site in Historic Filipinotown.

The project would take the form of a six-story building atop two parking levels, says Urbanize LA, which spotted the recent planning department approvals on the property and also has renderings for the structure. Of the building’s 30 apartments, three would be for very low income households.

The hillside lot has a Hoover Street address but is also linked to a concrete staircase that connects the site to Temple Street.

Many neighbors have long hoped that the staircase could be cleaned up and opened for public access between Hoover and Temple. Though renderings incorporate the staircase, the planning documents don’t offer any details about it, or who it would be open to.

 Google Maps
The staircase to Hoover Street, as seen from Temple Street, that neighbors have hoped would someday be opened to the public.

There’s no clear timeline for the project, which is being designed by Telemachus Studio. City records show that building permits haven’t been pulled for the project yet.

Planning filings list landlord Stanley Treitel and Brick Investment, an LLC, as the developer of the project. In 2005, Treitel came under fire for extensive violations at properties owned by him and his partner, Lance J. Robbins.

Greta Grossman’s glassy Beverly Hills home is for sale for $4.3M

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The architect was one of ‘modernism’s unsung heroes’

The personal residence of one of Los Angeles’s most important female architects is returning to the market for $4.295 million.

Greta Grossman, who hailed from Sweden, is perhaps best remembered for her cool Grasshopper Lamp (which you can buy today from Design Within Reach for $939)—but she has also been described as “one of modernism’s unsung heroes.”

For the two decades from 1940 to 1960, she was the only woman architect in the city of Los Angeles to own an independent practice, according to the Los Angeles Conservancy. She built 14 residences here, often on spec, creating homes that “were defined by their diminutive scale and lightness of form and were frequently balanced perfectly on the edge of a hillside.”

The Los Angeles Times says she designed this glassy two-bedroom stunner in 1948 in Beverly Hills Post Office as “a quietly dramatic showcase of her skills.” It features characteristic walls of glass, slate floors, an original fireplace, wood-paneled walls, tall ceilings, and incredible views.

It was remodeled and expanded in 2009 by then-owner Darryl Wilson, a designer, and architect Tony Unruh, using “blueprints and vintage photographs as inspiration.” The listing says the interiors were refreshed in 2015 by Molly Luetkemeyer.

Low-key Hollywood Hills midcentury photographed by Julius Shulman can be yours for $900K

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It still has its original cabinets

Here’s a Hollywood Hills place on the market for less than $1 million. Situated in the Cahuenga Pass area, the 1949 house melds “subtle geometry and nautical efficiency,” says the listing.

 Julius Shulman/Getty Research Institute, © J. Paul Getty Trust

Architect Raymond Stockdale—who was behind the recently landmarked Pan American Bank in East LA—designed the two-bedroom home for himself. In the 1950s, it was photographed by great documentarian of modern architecture, Julius Shulman.

The slim kitchen still has its original Douglas Fir cabinets; shiplap, pitched ceiling; and hillside views from the living room.

But the two-bedroom has changed quite a bit since its Shulman photo shoot days. As the listing notes, the bedrooms and bathrooms have been redone, and an unpermitted “bonus space” with retro wood paneling and built-in seats and bookshelves was added to the 5,281-square-foot property.

Also outside, there’s a deck that curves around part of the house for enjoying the hillside views.

Last sold in 2005 for $739,000, it’s now listed for $899,000.

Fetching 1930s home in Atwater Village asks $1.15M

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Features include hardwood floors and coffered ceilings

This lovely Atwater Village home has plenty of romantic charm, with a vaguely Tudor-inspired design and an airy interior illuminated by divided light windows and bits of stained and frosted glass.

Built in 1931, the property features four bedrooms and four bathrooms spread across 2,349 square feet of living space. The large living room is centered around a brick fireplace and features coffered ceilings, hardwood floors, ornate sconces, and an attached reading room.

An open dining area connects to the kitchen, which has been outfitted with new stainless steel appliances.

The roomy master bedroom has beamed ceilings and its own fireplace, along withan en-suite bathroom and a small office/sitting area with a wide panel of windows.

The home sits on a 3,918-square-foot lot just a block from the LA River. Behind the home is a small outdoor courtyard and wooden patio, along with a detached guest house with its own kitchen.

Asking price is $1.15 million. Open houses are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Exterior of home
Master bedroom with attached sitting area
Kitchen looking into dining room
Living room looking toward fireplace
Door open next to window
Back of house with patio and detached unit

Take a look at a new eight-story apartment complex planned for Main Street in DTLA

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It would include 379 units, along with office and retail space

A major new apartment complex planned for 11th and Main Street in Downtown LA is moving right along.

Environmental review documents published this week by the city planning department reveal new information about the project, which we first heard about in October 2016.

The development would replace a collection of low-slung commercial buildings at the edge of the Fashion District with an eight-story structure that will include 379 apartments. Forty-two of those units will be set aside for very low-income tenants.

The mixed use building will also have 25,810 square feet of ground-level retail and creative office space and parking for 429 vehicles in a subterranean garage.

Designed by Irvine-based architectural firm MVE + Partners, the building has a contemporary design with long balconies for residents and a publicly accessible central plaza with room for outdoor dining.

Amenities for renters would include a swimming pool, rooftop deck, fitness room, recreational room, and a courtyard space.

Construction on the building is expected to begin in 2019, with the project expected to wrap up in 2021.

It certainly won’t be the only new building in the area. A major redevelopment of the nearby Southern California Flower Market is now in the works, and just this week the planning commission signed off on another Fashion District project at Seventh and Maple.

Alternate rendering of the apartment complex

Wildlife crossing over the 101 could begin construction by 2022

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This could be a big deal for the inbred mountain lions

The long-awaited overpass that would allow mountain lions and other wildlife to safely cross the 101 is moving forward. Caltrans recently released an environmental assessment for the project, called the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing, and will be doing public outreach.

As for actually building the overpass, Kate Kuykendall from the National Parks Service says the wildlife overpass is still on track and, if all its funding goals are met, it’s scheduled to begin construction in 2022.

The overpass is planned to span the 101 at Liberty Canyon in Agoura Hills. Renderings from the environmental assessment suggest that it’ll look a lot like a regular overpass, expect it will be covered in plants.

The project is designed “to help reduce wildlife mortality and enhance safety for motorists by reducing motorists’ sudden movements when avoiding animals crossing the freeway,” says a Caltrans announcement.

It’s also intended to help the mountain lions move beyond the Santa Monica Mountains. Right now, they’re penned in, which has led to a staggering amount of inbreeding. Without more genetic diversity, the risk of the big cats becoming extinct increases dramatically. It could happen in as little as 50 years.

The assessment shows two possibilities for the bridge: One spanning just the 101; or two overpasses across the 101 and a smaller one over Agoura Road.

The wildlife overpass project would be “the first of its kind” in California, though there are similar successful projects across the country, according to Caltrans.

The National Wildlife Federation and Santa Monica Mountains Fund are fundraising for the project. In November, conservationists purchased the land where the animal overpass will be built.

State may finally put an end to totally bogus jaywalking tickets

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Pedestrians would be allowed to start crossing a street while the countdown timer is counting down

Under state law, it is illegal to step into a crosswalk while the countdown timer is counting-down, even if the timer shows that you have plenty of time to make it across the street before the traffic light turns red. Start crossing when the timer is counting down, and a scrupulous police officer may cite you to the tune of $197.

Well, good news: The totally bogus jaywalking tickets might become history.

Assembly Bill 390—which would update the obsolete section of California Vehicle Code that enables police to issue the sort of tickets described above—has passed both houses of the state legislature and now sits on the governor’s desk awaiting final approval.

“It doesn’t make sense to have a bogus gotcha law that continues to ticket people [while] at the same time, in LA, we’re trying to get people out of their cars,” State Assemblymember Miguel Santiago, one of the bill’s authors, tells Curbed LA. “A $200 ticket like this can be devastating for many people.”

Nearly 20,000 of these tickets were issued in and around Downtown Los Angeles between 2011 and 2015, according to KPCC. At $197 a pop, 20,000 tickets equates to about $3.9 million.

Section 21456 of the Vehicle Code, the bit of law police use to justify handing out the tickets, was written back in 1981, long before Los Angeles started widespread use of pedestrian countdown timers in 2008. The law’s language doesn’t account for new signaling technology; it remains as it was during a time when a flashing “Don’t Walk” sign signaled the last few seconds of a signal’s cycle.

“We are updating the law from a time when the options at a signal were ‘go’ and ‘don’t go,’” Santiago says. “We updated our signals, but we never updated the law. New signals have ‘go,’ ‘countdown,’ and ‘don’t go.’ But, from the perspective of the law, the countdown portion was still considered ‘don’t go, which is illegal.’”

The assemblymember says the law’s new language would mean pedestrians would be allowed to start crossing a street while the countdown timer is counting down, so long as they can reach the other side of the street before the signal switches to a “Don’t Walk,” “Wait,” or an “Upraised Hand” symbol.

Santiago says he first became aware of the out-of-date law a couple years ago, during outcry about LAPD’s so-called “jaywalking sting” citations.

In late 2013, LAPD began a “crackdown” on jaywalking pedestrians in Downtown LA. As the department famously said at the time, “we’re heavily enforcing pedestrian violations because they’re impeding traffic and causing too many accidents and deaths.”

The department’s (very dumb, but financially lucrative) crackdown became the subject of national ridicule. Even the New York Times piled on about Los Angeles’s burgeoning pedestrian culture, snarkily declaring how “the crackdown is a coming-of-age moment for this city, a ratification of how far it has come. It is a matter of simple mathematics: There are now enough people around to ticket.”

In 2015, the Los Angeles City Council produced a motion asking LAPD to explain why it continued ticketing so many pedestrians. At the time, Councilmember Mike Bonin described how “it defies common sense to ticket someone who is entering a crosswalk as the countdown begins when they still have time to cross the street safely without disrupting traffic.”

Another motion that asked the State of California to update its law followed in 2016.

As Santiago tells Curbed, “people shouldn’t be ticketed for being safe and using good judgement. The bill is a simple fix.”

The story of the magical chandelier tree of Silver Lake

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It’s truly charming

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2013 and has been updated with the most recent information.

The chandelier tree of Silver Lake might just be worth all the stupid twee drama that comes out of that neighborhood. It’s truly charming, the neighbors enjoy it, and it isn’t forced—could anyone but an arty contractor and his aerialist roommate have come up with the idea and put it together?

Now Silver Lake filmmaker Colin Kennedy tells the six-year tale of the tree in a new short video (via Eastsider LA). The story goes that creator Adam Tenenbaum (the contractor) came home from a set-building job with three spare chandeliers one day, then realized they’d look perfect hung in his tree at West Silver Lake and Shadowlawn, then realized they had to be lit. Since then, he’s acquired and strung dozens more chandeliers with the help of his acrobat roommate (neighbors donate to the electric bill via a repurposed parking meter).

Tenenbaum says he wants the tree to feel “full and unique, but not overbearing and gaudy.”

[vimeo 69527636 w=640 h=360]

Chandelier Tree from Colin Kennedy on Vimeo.

Modern ranch home by Cliff May asks $799K in Long Beach

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Walls of glass and plenty of original features

Designed by prolific modernist builder Cliff May, this terrific midcentury ranch home is now seeking its first owner since 1954, when the house was constructed.

The three-bedroom residence is located in the Rancho Estates neighborhood of Long Beach, where May and partner Chris Choate designed around 700 tract homes in the early 1950s.

As the listing notes, the 1,639-square-foot home is one of the bigger models constructed in the neighborhood, and it includes a wide open living and dining area, roomy bedrooms, and two bathrooms.

Many of the home’s original features have been left intact, and it includes vaulted and beamed ceilings, built-in wooden shelves, walls of glass, clerestory windows, and a brick living room fireplace. The bathrooms have some nice wood paneling, as well as some retro seafoam green shower tile.

The house sits on a 5,801-square-foot lot with a lush backyard and a brick patio space accessed from multiple rooms of the home. There’s also a separate side patio with a pergola and a two-car garage.

Asking price is $799,000, though the listing does indicate that the house is in need of a bit of repair, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking of making an offer.

Living room with fireplace
Family room with piano
Bedroom with outdoor access
Guest room with glass walls
Bathroom with tile
Side patio
Backyard with trees and garden space

Pasadena’s new Hyatt Place hotel under construction at Paseo mall

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The six-story hotel is replacing a former Macy’s

Big changes are on the way to Pasadena’s newly renamed Paseo Colorado mall (it’s now simply The Paseo), and a Hyatt Place hotel will soon join the new restaurants and retailers opening at the Colorado Boulevard shopping center.

A groundbreaking ceremony will be held Thursday for the new hotel, though it’s already under construction and expected to open by the end of 2018.

The six-story hotel will rise from the southeast corner of the mall, where a former Macy’s used to stand. It will include 186 rooms and guest amenities that include a pool, a meeting space, and a fire pit.

The project was originally proposed in 2014 and was expected to be complete by this year. But as the Pasadena Star News reports, developer Ensemble Real Estate Solutions ran into financing delays and construction had to be pushed back.

Right next to the hotel, a separate developer is planning a seven-story structure with condos and retail space.

Meanwhile, several new businesses will soon be moving into the busy shopping center, including an H&M store, a branch of the Great Maple restaurant chain, and Dos Coyotes Border Cafe. Each business is expected to open before the holiday season.

Rendering of Hyatt Pasadena hotel

Inside the historic Westlake Theater before it’s sold

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The theater sits next to MacArthur Park

The Westlake Theater just off Wilshire Boulevard could be on the cusp of a revival, so what better time than now to take a look around its faded but still impressive interiors. Photos by Matthew Lambros of the historic theater-focused website After the Final Curtain show off the ornate space inside the theater, including decorative arches and an incredible coffered ceiling.

The 1926 structure was “built in the Spanish style with baroque ornamentation,” says the Los Angeles Conservancy, and decorated with Renaissance-inspired murals that remain on the ceilings today. Built as a showcase for vaudeville acts and movies, it operated as a theater for 65 years. It was last used as a swap meet.

A new chapter for the Westlake Theater could be on the horizon, as the building was listed for sale earlier this year by the CRA/LA, the successor agency to the defunct Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles, and the organization that’s tasked with selling off the redevelopment agency’s properties after a 2011 state law dissolved it.

The sale seems like something of a last resort: It comes after a failed attempt last year to find a developer interested in renovating the theater and perhaps create affordable housing and retail on four nearby properties.

The city of LA’s 2016 request for proposals yielded no responses, said Jimmy Chai, a broker with the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, which is marketing the property for CRA/LA. “No one wanted it. There were too many covenants,” Chai told Curbed about the request for proposals.

Bids were due for the Westlake on August 10, so if a big change is headed for the theater, it could be coming fairly soon.