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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Residents protest plans for a homeless shelter in Venice.

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.”

HGTV designer Leanne Ford lists rustic-chic cabin in Elysian Heights for $995K

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One of the first homes ever built in the neighborhood.

Built in 1911, the two-bedroom cottage was restored by owner and designer Leanne Ford

What Chip and Joanna Gaines are to shiplap, interior designer Leanne Ford is to white paint, and when it came to making over her own house, a 1911 cabin in Echo Park, the star of HGTV’s “Restored by the Fords” stayed very much on brand.

One of the first homes ever built in the neighborhood, the rustic cabin was once owned by Clara Kimball Young, the second female film star, after Mary Pickford, to set up her own namesake production company.

Located on an 8,433-square-foot lot in the Elysian Heights tract, the two-bedroom, one-bath cottage was purchased by Ford a little over two years ago for $800,000. Along with coating its interior in white paint (identified in a New York Times story as Sherwin-Williams’s Shoji White), Ford added new plumbing, French doors, a Malm fireplace, a vintage sink, a Smeg refrigerator, built-in shelving, and onyx countertops.

In an entry on her blog, the designer explains she and her husband are selling the cabin due to having a proverbial “bun in the oven.”

The property is listed with an asking price of $995,000, and open house is scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

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.

Lincoln Heights church with Chicano Movement ties needs your help

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A 2018 photo show’s the church’s interior.

“The Church of the Epiphany is incredibly important to the history of Los Angeles”

A landmarked Lincoln Heights church known for its contributions to the Chicano Movement and other could get a large windfall that would help pay for much-needed maintenance.

The Church of the Epiphany is one of 20 sites nationwide selected by the National Trust to competing for $150,000 of preservation funding from Partners in Preservation. (In total, the Partners will give out $2 million total toward preservation of a handful of sites.)

“The Church of the Epiphany is incredibly important to the history of Los Angeles,” says Linda Dishman, president of the Los Angeles Conservancy, which is a partner on the campaign. “It has architectural significance, yes, but even more so, it embodies a seminal period in our cultural history.”

The building at Altura and Sichel dates to the 1880s. But it was the 1960s that brought the church to the forefront.

The Los Angeles base for United Farm Workers, César Chavez gave speeches at the church, and it served as a hub of organizing for the Chicano Movement in the 1960s and ’70s. The building was a center of operations for organizers of the East LA walkouts and the Chicano Moratorium protests against the Vietnam War.

 Photo by Nancy von Lauderback Tovar, Lydia López Archives, courtesy of Church of the Epiphany
Gathering of supporters of Raul Ruiz for 48th Assembly District special election, 1971.

The famed Chicano newspaper La Raza was reportedly printed in the church’s basement. The basement now holds a trove of historic photographs and documents from Epiphany’s decades of social justice activism, collectively called the People’s History Project.

The church carries on as a bastion of social justice and community aid, hosting regular health care clinics and events where legal resources are provided for residents who are facing eviction and immigration issues.

The Episcopal church will only get the funding if it receives enough votes by October 26.

If the church is awarded funds, they would help pay for repairs to fix leaky roof, shore up a crumbling basement, and update heating and electrical systems. (These efforts are part of an ongoing fundraising effort to help pay for additional improvements to the building.)

You can vote for the Church of the Epiphany at Vote Your Main Street. The Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood was a winner of last year’s preservation campaign.

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 production team at Warner Brothers Pictures shot at the home for 15 days.

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 739 East Kensington Road in Arlington Heights.

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.

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong address for Ally’s house. The filming location is a residence in Arlington Heights, not Eagle Rock.

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
Kitchen
Bedroom
Reading nook
Deck
View into living room

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.

Here’s what $615K buys around LA

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We’ve got five options, from Long Beach to North Hills

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 homes and condos within $10,000 of today’s price: $615,000.

Living room
Kitchen
Bathroom
Swimming poolPhotos by Todd Young, courtesy Beata Mandell/The Executive Realty Group

We’ll start with this spacious condo in booming South Park. The one-bedroom unit has a single bathroom and 1,023 square feet of floor space. Outfitted with wood floors, concrete walls, and exposed ducts, the whole loft has an urban industrial vibe fitting for Downtown LA. Building amenities include a swimming pool, spa, fitness center, and screening room. Asking price is $615,000, with HOA dues of $699 per month.

Front yard
Living room
Den
BackyardVia Michael Galieote, Victoria Lipa/Pinnacle Estate Properties

This midcentury ranch house in North Hills looks like just the place to settle down with a family. Built in 1962, it’s got original hardwood floors, built-ins, and a stone fireplace in the living room. The 1,988-square-foot house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It sits on 7,740 square feet of land, with a grassy front yard and plenty of patio space and a rose garden in the back. Asking price is $609,500.

Living room
Kitchen
Bedroom
Pool deckPhotos by Charmaine David, courtesy Tracy Do/Compass

Here’s an elegant condo in Silver Lake with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The 1,013-square-foot unit has wood floors and an updated kitchen with newer appliances. Glass sliding doors in the bedroom lead out to a large balcony. The complex is equipped with a swimming pool and spa. Asking price is $625,000, with HOA dues of $444 per month.

Front of house
Living room
Kitchen
BackyardVia JC Kim, Khanh Tran/First Team Real Estate

Located in Long Beach’s Bixby Knolls neighborhood, this traditional 1940s home has been recently updated, but retains original features like built-in shelving and a handsome brick fireplace in the living room. The 1,005-square-foot residence has three bedrooms and one bathroom. It sits on a 5,166-square-foot lot with a detached garage and a grassy backyard. Asking price is $614,900.

Building from street
Living room
Kitchen and dining area
BalconyPhotos by Virtually Here Studios, courtesy Ian Rhodes/Keller Williams

This West Hollywood condo sits a block from the Beverly Hills border in the city’s Norma Triangle area. Recently remodeled, it’s equipped with new tile, appliances, countertops, and fixtures. The one-bedroom unit has one bathroom and 757 square feet of living space, along with a balcony overlooking the building’s swimming pool. Asking price is $610,000, with HOA dues of $396 per month.

Fresh renderings of the Metro station connecting LAX to light rail

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The Airport Metro Connector at 96th Street is where Metro rail and the People Mover will meet

With the opening date for the Crenshaw/LAX Line just around the corner, we’re getting a glimpse of the station that will eventually connect the new line to Los Angeles International Airport via an automated people mover.

New renderings for the project appear on the agenda for Metro’s construction committee meeting on Thursday. The station is shown as a light-filled space with natural light, a wide platform for catching Metro rail, and a spacious mezzanine connecting travelers to wherever they need to go.

The Green and Crenshaw/LAX lines will meet here, sharing a single train platform. A bus plaza on site will have space for 32 buses to load and unload. The station will also have a passenger drop-off and pick-up area and a bike hub.

Though this station would connect to the Crenshaw/LAX Line—which Metro aims to open by 2019— it’s a separate project, and will have a different timeline for completion.

Metro documents show an updated schedule for the opening of the Airport Metro Connector: in the spring or summer of 2023, “in coordination with” the opening of the people mover. (A proposition on the November 6 ballot could potentially push that timeline back.)

The renderings for the project were first posted by Urbanize LA.

Planning commission slams 228-unit Koreatown condo project

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“I recommend you come back with very concrete answers”

The Los Angeles planning commission had harsh words Thursday for the developer of a project that could bring 228 condos to Koreatown.

“I feel they are not prepared,” said commissioner David Ambroz. “I’m not confident the outreach has been sufficient. I’ve never been here before where people are so poorly armed with information when they have a project.”

Developer OV LLC wants to demolish a gas station, 32 apartments in two buildings, and 8,942 square feet of medical office space at 1000 South Olympic to build a seven-story condo building with ground-floor retail and grocery space. The project would take up the entire block bordered by Vermont, Olympic, Menlo, and 11th.

A major sticking point for commissioners was the question of whether tenants who could be displaced by the project understood what was going to happen to their housing.

Of the apartments set to be demolished, 21 are rent-stablized units, which are steadily disappearing across the city. The developer is not required to replace them, but as a kind of concession, OV LLC plans to set aside five percent of the 228 condo units, or roughly 11 or 12 units, for households making between 120 and 150 of the area’s median income.

OV LLC is also planning to offer available apartments in another RSO building it owns in the area to residents who would be displaced. There are only five apartments open in the other building, so the majority of affected tenants would not be able to take advantage of this opportunity

Commissioner Vahid Khorsand found it “very peculiar” that not one resident who would stand to lose their apartment had commented for or against the project. “I’m very concerned that [the project] would come as a surprise to these residents,” Khorsand said. “That’s something we should consider” when approving these projects, he said.

Project representative Milan Garrison of MaxSum Development told the commission that they had sent residents the required notifications about the project by mail. Beyond that, though, the developer had only had “sporadic” conversations with “various” tenants, and had not arranged a meeting with all tenants to tell them the project is moving forward and what that would entail.

Commissioner Khorsand said that only doing what was required was not enough. “The city isn’t there to communicate with these residents,” he said, addressing the developer. “That should fall on you.”

Commissioners were also dissatisfied with the developer’s inability to answer questions about a few elements of the project’s design on documents submitted to the commission.

When commissioner Dana M. Perlman asked the developer to explain a street-level element on the site plan called the “entry wall of life,” project representatives were not able to fully explain what it was (beyond saying it was a landscape feature) and what purpose it served.

With so many concerns surrounding outreach and overall preparation, the commission voted to continue the project to a later date. It will consider the development again on December 13.

Spring Street makeover brings new protected bike lane to Downtown LA

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The project includes a new bike-only crossing.

Now if only drivers would stop parking in it

The first phase of the city’s Main and Spring Forward project has opened in Downtown LA. The $2.3 million shakeup of two busy thoroughfares—Main and Spring streets—is aimed at making the area safer and more enjoyable for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Streetscape changes along these corridors are part of LA’s Vision Zero initiative to end traffic deaths in the city by 2025. So far, the city hasn’t come close to that goal.

The number of traffic deaths has only increased since the program went into effect in 2015, and projects aimed at slowing traffic speeds on particularly deadly corridors have been reversed or reconfigured.

According to transportation data gathered by the city, Spring and Main streets were the site of three traffic-related deaths and nine serious injuries between 2009 and 2013.

To make the route safer, the city has installed a protected bike lane on Spring Street, between First and Ninth streets. Road striping and crosswalks have been repainted, and new signs have been installed for walkers, bicyclists, and drivers.

Traffic signals for bicycles are meant to cut down on collisions; so too are the protected bike lanes, which are buffered by parking spaces to lessen the chance of drivers merging into cyclists.

But social media posts show there’s been some confusion about the new lane arrangement.

Los Angeles Department of Transportation spokesperson Oliver Hou tells Curbed that the department is aware that some drivers are parking in the new bike lane, and that extra signs have been placed along the route explaining the new configuration.

According to Hou, a “special parking enforcement team” has also been ticketing cars parked in the bike lane.

The second phase of the Main and Spring Forward project will bring similar changes to Main Street, between Cesar Chavez Avenue and Ninth Street. Work on that leg of the project is expected to wrap up by fall of next year.

In LA, share of homes with price reductions hits a seven-year high

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About 16 percent of homes for sale in LA during the month of August were listed with a price cut, according to Trulia.

Is this a sign that the market is shifting toward buyers?

Home prices in Los Angeles County have never been higher, but there are signs the local real estate market may be getting slightly more buyer-friendly, according to a new report from Trulia.

The report finds that 16.5 percent of homes for sale in LA during the month of August were listed with a price cut.

That may not seem like very many, but according to Trulia it’s the largest percentage of homes with price reductions since 2011, when the company began tracking this statistic.

It’s also a sizable increase over August 2017, when prices had been reduced on 12.1 percent of homes listed in LA.

The median reduction in August 2018 was 2.5 percent of the home’s prior asking price. Based on the median home price given in the report ($612,809), that amounts to a roughly $15,000 discount.

Some areas have more price cuts than others. By Trulia’s calculation, prices had been reduced on more than 20 percent of listed homes in parts of Calabasas and Malibu during the month of August. In Southeast LA, on the other hand, prices had been reduced on only 5 percent of homes.

Price reductions aren’t only affecting neighborhoods filled with luxury housing. In Pico Union, for instance, 15 percent of listed homes were advertised with a reduced price in August—up from 5.3 percent a year before.

As the report notes, price reductions are a key indicator that the market is shifting away from conditions that benefit sellers, as opposed to buyers.

Since sellers typically only cut prices when homes aren’t attracting much buyer interest, those who make offers on these houses often have less competition from rival buyers and more ability to negotiate on the final purchase price.

Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the California Association of Realtors, confirms that a “shift” is taking place in LA’s real estate market—though it’s not clear yet how it will affect sales in coming months.

On the one hand, Appleton-Young says, the number of homes on the market has increased recently, giving buyers more options to choose from. But prices are high enough that many home shoppers are abandoning their searches.

A recent report from Attom Data Solutions found that housing affordability in LA is at a 10-year low, factoring in rising mortgage interest rates that are driving up monthly payments.

Increased supply and lower demand is usually a formula for lower prices, but Appleton-Young explains that buyers undeterred by rising mortgages are still willing to shell out for quality homes.

“We’re seeing that older millennials and dual income couples aren’t willing to settle for a fixer-upper,” she says. “They are paying what we call a ‘pinterest premium’ for a home that looks great already.”

For now, home values continue to climb.

“I wouldn’t call it a buyer’s market yet,” says Appleton-Young. “But it is certainly less of a seller’s market than it has been lately.”

Metro gets started on project to speed up the Valley’s Orange Line bus

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Trips on the Orange Line could be reduced by 16 minutes.

Eventually, the rapid bus will be converted to rail

Metro officials broke ground Friday on a project that will significantly speed up service on the popular Orange Line rapid bus and ease the eventual conversion of the route to light rail.

One of the most successful bus routes in Metro’s transit network, the Orange Line runs between North Hollywood and Chatsworth, providing a key transit option along the San Fernando Valley’s major east-west corridors. The bus travels in its own lane and stops infrequently, but a ride from end-to-end currently takes about 50 minutes.

That could change once work wraps up on the new project, which will add crossing gates to 35 intersections along the route. A pair of aerial bridges will also be constructed for the bus at Van Nuys and Sepulveda boulevards, along with new stations above the street.

Expected to cost between $320 million and $393 million, these changes will ensure the bus is able to travel between stops more efficiently, without getting snarled in traffic. According to Metro, the aerial stations and gated crossings are expected to reduce the total length of a ride on the line by 20 percent.

The changes will also come in handy when, in coming decades, the bus is replaced by a train. Conversion of the line to light rail is one of the dozens of projects that Metro plans to finance with sales tax revenue gathered through Measure M.

That project is a ways off though; under the current project schedule, it’s expected to open in 2057. The agency may be able to accelerate that timeline, with the help of an outside company. Last year, Metro announced that it had received an unsolicited proposal from Texas-based company Fluor Enterprises for a public-private partnership to build and operate the line ahead of schedule.

Regardless of whether plans for a light rail line move forward faster than expected, the bus improvements will almost certainly wrap up first. Metro aims to have all the crossing gates and aerial bridges up-and-running by 2025. The project is one of 28 that the agency plans to complete in time for the 2028 Olympics.

Neutra’s Bonnet House now renting for $8K per month

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The two-bedroom Hollywood Hills home has been appointed with a design showroom’s worth of vintage furnishings and art

If you’re a fan of California modernism, there’s quite an embarrassment of riches on the market at the moment.

Among the bumper crop of pedigreed properties currently for sale are a Case Study house, a Lautner, a Buff & Hensman, and an A. Quincy Jones. And popping up on the rental market is our old pal the Bonnet House, designed by the formidable Richard Neutra in the early 1940s.

Located on El Contento Drive in Beachwood Canyon, the two-bedroom, two-bath came up for sale this past May and was quickly snapped up at its asking price of $1.795 million.

Five months later, having been decked out in an array of collectible vintage art and furnishings by the likes of Gio Ponti, Alberto Giacometti, Knoll, Paul McCobb, and Milo Baughman, it’s returned as an $8,000 per month lease property.

Along with the 1stdibs-worthy furniture, the hillside home features International-style ribbon windows, two fireplaces, hardwood floors, a lower level media room, a laundry room with wet bar, a flagstone patio, and multiple terraces.

Beverly Hills schools call on Trump administration to strip Purple Line funding

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Construction on the Purple Line subway extension is already well underway. Pictured here is the future Wilshire/La Brea station.

The school board president launched a website blasting the project, and students are planning a districtwide walkout

The president of Beverly Hills Unified School District’s board of education helped build a website that blasts Metro’s subway to the Westside and urges the Trump administration to block federal funding for the project.

The website, “Stop the Purple Threat,” claims constructing a subway underneath Beverly Hills High School will pose a danger to students. When the website surfaced over the summer, no one knew who was behind it.

That changed Wednesday, when the Beverly Hills Weekly revealed that school board president Lisa Korbatov built the website herself, with help from lawyers and consultants.

The newspaper obtained a recording from an October 4 meeting, held at a private residence in Beverly Hills, where Korbatov, speaking to a crowd of about 75 people, acknowledges that the website “was put up by a professional organization… Myself and one or two lawyers and consultants, we loaded all the information.”

While the school district had tried repeatedly in court to stop Metro from building the subway underneath the high school’s campus, Korbatov’s “Stop the Purple Threat” campaign takes a different approach: Nab the attention of President Donald Trump and try to convince him to order the withdrawal of federal funding from the Purple Line extension.

The Stop the Purple Threat website calls on President Trump and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to “stop this detour of the Purple Line… allowing all parties to gather information about health and safety risks, as well as other route options, and work together to address student safety and mass transit needs.”

Korbatov did not return a message seeking comment, but a spokesperson said: “Lisa has helped pro-bono on making certain that the Purple Threat website has relevant and accurate information for the community.”

School district administrators are also helping Beverly Hills High School students organize a districtwide “walkout” set to take place Friday morning to protest the subway route.

“When students became aware of Metro’s decision to tunnel underneath our school, we were appalled at the risks it will pose to the educational environment of our campus,” Sean Toobi, a student board member and senior at Beverly Hills High School said in a statement supplied by a publicist.

“We are walking out to… encourage intervention from the federal government to ultimately divert the subway from going under BHHS—because there are viable, alternative routes,” Toobi says.

The subway extension—which will bring the Purple Line from its current terminus in Koreatown to Westwood, offering one-seat, 30-minute rides from Downtown LA to the Westside—is being built in three phases.

Earlier this month, the Federal Transit Administration agreed to reimburse Metro “for early work activities” on the final phase, and work is already underway on the second phase, which will bring the train to downtown Beverly Hills and Century City, passing underneath the high school along the way.

The federal government has pitched in nearly $1.5 billion for the second phase, and Metro is now seeking a $1.3-billion grant for phase No. 3.

This map shows the subway extension’s route.

Korbatov’s website claims that ground below the high school is “littered with abandoned oil wells and saturated with methane gas and oil. The amount of methane gas and oil has not been adequately studied.”

Metro spokesperson Dave Sotero says the agency spent five years studying the potential impacts of the project, including a supplemental environmental report to “address specific concerns raised by Beverly Hills High School.”

That report found that the level of risk associated with the potential presence of methane and hydrogen sulfide gas along the phase No. 2 route, including through the high school, is low. The subway tunnel “will have no influence on the long-term migration of soil gas to the ground surface or into buildings,” the report says.

“Metro appreciates and respects the passion and civic engagement of Beverly Hills High School students,” Sotero says. “Safety is our No. 1 priority, and we would not build a project that would jeopardize anyone’s safety.”

Friday’s rally will be held at Will Rogers Memorial Park, less than a quarter-mile from the president’s former home on the 800 block of Rodeo Drive. An announcement distributed to media says more than 1,500 people will attend; 226 have RSVP’d on a Facebook event page.

District administrators will excuse the absences and are providing permission slips and transportation to the rally, and they’re encouraging students, staffers, and parents to join “in support of our united school district.”

They’re also advising parents to “talk with your child(ren) about the walkout and the importance of advocating in a peaceful act of solidarity.”

The students will not actually walk out of school and to the park, which is a 35-minute walk from campus, rather, they will be loaded onto buses and driven 1.7 miles to the walkout site, the Beverly Hills Courier reports.

New timeline for West LA’s Martin Expo Town Center, construction now set for 2019

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No more hurdles stand in the project’s way, Martin family says

Dan Martin says construction will start late next year to turn the West LA auto dealership his family has owned for four decades into a major apartment and shopping complex.

That’s a new timeline for the Martin Expo Town Center, which is set to rise on the northwest corner of Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive—about a block away from an Expo Line station—bringing new shops, 516 apartments, a grocery store, and a 10-story office tower.

Approved by the Los Angeles City Council two years ago, the town center was slated to break ground earlier this year, but those plans were hamstrung by a lawsuit.

A local group named Westsiders Opposed to Overdevelopment sued the city in October 2016 over the development, accusing it of “impermissible spot zoning” when it amended LA’s general plan for the “single project.”

In an ruling issued earlier this month, the 2nd District Court of Appeal sided with Philena Properties, a company formed by the Martin family and developer Hines.

The project will replace Martin Cadillac and GMC, a dealership that for more than 40 years has been owned and operated by the Martins.

With this case behind them, there are no other hurdles standing in the way of the project’s groundbreaking, says Martin.

He estimates the shopping center will take about three years to build.

Case Study House No. 21 in Laurel Canyon returns asking $3.6M

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Also known as the Bailey House, the steel and glass residence in Laurel Canyon was designed by Pierre Koenig

The Bailey House, one of the approximately 20 surviving Los Angeles residences from Arts & Architecture magazine’s Case Study House program is once again up for grabs.

Designated CSH No. 21, the Hollywood Hills home was built between 1956 and ’58 by Pierre Koenig for psychologist Walter Bailey and his wife Mary, whom Arts & Architecture described as a “contemporary-minded” couple with no children and an informal lifestyle.

Koenig, architect of the Case Study Program’s most famous property, the Stahl House, constructed the boxy two-bedroom, two-bath home largely out of glass and pre-fabricated steel, and surrounded it with shallow reflective pools.

Listed on the local and national historic registers, the Bailey House was last purchased (per public records) for $3.185 million in 2006 by P.J. Park, founder of the Seoul-based art gallery and consultancy Seomi International, who used it as a by-appointment gallery to showcase contemporary Korean design.

The 1,280-square-foot home popped up for sale two years ago with an overly ambitious asking price of $4.5 million, before being withdrawn. It’s now back and aiming for a more realistic $3.6 million.

 Photo by Matthew Momberger, courtesy of Aaron Kirman and Ed Reilly
 Photo by Matthew Momberger, courtesy of Aaron Kirman and Ed Reilly
 Photo by Matthew Momberger, courtesy of Aaron Kirman and Ed Reilly
 J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute
Then in his early 30s, Bailey House architect Pierre Koenig did double-duty as a model for Julius Shulman’s iconic tableau.
 Julius Shulman, J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10)
 Julius Shulman, J. Paul Getty Trust. Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10)

Artist who put mesmerizing art in Pershing Square sets sights on LA River

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Conceptual imagery for a possible riverside public art project, referred to as LA River Skynets. The artist is seeking a site for the piece.

Poetic Kinetics is on the hunt for an ideal place along the river to set up its next piece

The artist who put a giant glittering wave in Pershing Square in 2016 wants to create a similarly striking artwork at the Los Angeles River. But he needs to find a place to put it first.

Patrick Shearn of Poetic Kinetics had a conceptual design and a couple potential sites in mind for his installation, including the under-construction Albion Riverside Park in Lincoln Heights, when he presented the idea to the Los Angeles River Cooperation Committee this summer.

But upon further inspection, each of the prospective sites proved to be “unsuitable” to host the installation, says Marnie Sehayek, creative strategist at Poetic Kinetics.

Having a location for the art piece is especially important for this installation. The work would be a “skynet,” a net adorned with strips of fabric (or, in Pershing Square, mylar) and suspended so its catches the wind, creating an undulating sculpture in the sky.

Shearn’s skynets are site-specific, so important elements of the piece will be determined by the location itself, and the details of the project can’t really be final until a site is picked. Without those details, it’s difficult to do community outreach or get the necessary approvals.

That means Poetic Kinetics is on the hunt for an ideal place to set up its piece, and it wants to find one on the LA River.

Shearn “is really excited by the once-in-a-generation opportunity to contribute to such a significant development in our city,” says Sehayek, referring to the transformative changes planned for the river, which could bring everything from restored habitat in and along the river to better river access for walkers and cyclists and recreation space.

The river is a logical location for one of Shearn’s sculptures. Sehayek says the fluttering nets are meant to invoke swarming or a murmuration of starlings flying in a kind of coordinated dance, but the gently billowing nets are also very waterlike in their movements.

But putting an art installation on the Los Angeles River also potentially involves dealing with many more agencies, departments, and stakeholders than its previous projects in Pershing Square and at events like Coachella.

Sehayek says that navigating the bureaucracy of the river and getting approvals is time-consuming and will contribute to the speed of realizing the project, but it’s one they’ve anticipated.

“Though it’s a challenge, we do it with excitement,” says Sehayek.

Metro rolls out all-door boarding on Wilshire express bus

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All-door boarding allows passengers to get on and off buses more efficiently.

The new system should cut down on delays

Starting Sunday, riders taking Metro’s 720 bus line will have a few doors to choose from when boarding.

The transit agency has installed TAP card readers at all three entrances to the double-length buses that serve the express route, which runs along nearly all of Wilshire Boulevard before continuing through East LA along Whittier Boulevard. That will allow passengers to board from the middle or the back of the bus, rather than just the front.

If you don’t ride the line, that might not seem particularly exciting. But all-door boarding along key bus routes could make service more reliable systemwide.

All-door boarding has already reduced the amount of time Silver Line buses sit idling at stops, ensuring that the bus arrives on time more often, according to a report prepared last year by Metro staffers. Before the agency instituted an all-door boarding system on the Silver Line in 2016, the bus arrived late at stops 31 percent of the time. Now, that’s been cut to 19 percent.

A separate Metro report shows that, on average, trips on the Silver Line were also a little more than 2 minutes faster after the addition of all-door boarding.

That helps to compensate for systemwide slowdowns in service that have plagued Metro’s bus system and driven up the agency’s operating costs in recent years.

All-door boarding has also been rolled out on two other Metro bus lines so far: The rapid Silver Line, which runs between Downtown LA and San Pedro; and the 754, which runs most of the length of Vermont Avenue.

Metro staff studied all-door boarding on several other busy lines, but found that most did not have as many high-volume stops, when large numbers of riders get on and off at once. Other lines, staffers found, had a large number of stops located in front of a traffic signal, making it easy for buses to get stuck at red lights after efficiently on-boarding new passengers.

The three lines where all-door boarding will now be possible are some of the most widely ridden in Metro’s bus network. The 720, serves the most passengers of the three, with more than 27,000 daily boardings. Improving efficiency here could make it easier for commuters to connect up with other buses and trains along the route.

To further minimize delays, riders under the new system must pay fares using TAP cards, rather than cash or fare tokens. At the front of the bus, passengers can buy new TAP cards or use cash to reload them.

A guide to CEQA: California’s environmental law that developers love to hate

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The law was passed in 1970, amid concerns about smog in Los Angeles and other California cities.

What is the California Environmental Quality Act, exactly?

We talk a lot about the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) around here. Few other laws have shaped the development landscape of California so dramatically; among other things, it’s the reason the Millennium Hollywood project has taken so long to get off the ground, and why a community plan update for the neighborhood around it fell through in 2013.

But we don’t often discuss the basics of the law and why it looms so large in California politics and land use. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the policy and its impacts, particularly in Los Angeles.

What is CEQA?

The California Environmental Quality Act was signed into law in 1970 by Governor Ronald Reagan, a year after the National Environmental Policy Act was implemented at the federal level.

As concerns about water quality and smog mounted in California, lawmakers sought to create a state bill that would supplement the new federal law with even stricter standards regulating pollution and preserving the natural environment. CEQA was crafted by a newly formed committee on environmental quality in the State Assembly.

How is CEQA pronounced?

“Sea-kwa”

What does it do?

The law requires California’s public agencies and local governments to measure the environmental impacts of development projects or other major land use decisions, and to limit or avoid those impacts when possible.

If a developer wants to build a new shopping center, for instance, they’ll have to address the project’s likely environmental impacts first. These can range from the traffic created by vehicles coming in and out of the parking lot to the removal of trees on the project site.

Agencies have to study the impacts of public projects, private developments that require local approval, and even planning decisions that don’t directly result in new development—such as new community plans.

How does this work?

Under CEQA, most development projects have to prepare some form of environmental report. In many cases, that takes the form of a negative declaration, which indicates that the project won’t have a significant impact on the environment. For larger projects, like new light rail lines or sports arenas, an environmental impact report (EIR) must be prepared.

These lengthy documents examine all potential environmental impacts (on air quality, traffic, aesthetics, and more). Once a draft report is prepared, it’s circulated to the public for review and comment. Following the review process, a final report is prepared, which must ultimately be approved by the agency reviewing the project.

Both negative declarations and EIRs contain extensive information about projects that members of the public, as well as local officials, can use to evaluate development plans.

Most projects aren’t big or disruptive enough to require an EIR, but when they are, the local approval process necessary to get these developments underway can take years to complete.

How does the state make sure these rules are being followed?

As explained by the California Natural Resources Agency, CEQA can be “enforced, as necessary, by the public through litigation and the threat thereof.” In other words, if an agency allows a project to move forward without proper environmental review, members of the public can sue.

This is one of the most controversial elements of the law. Supporters say it gives communities meaningful oversight over developments that will affect their quality of life. Opponents say it allows anyone who doesn’t like a project to block or delay it with legal challenges.

Sometimes, these lawsuits prevent construction of new housing in California, where 526 cities are failing to meet state-monitored housing goals.

Have CEQA lawsuits affected projects in Los Angeles?

Yes. Local developments impacted by CEQA include the previously mentioned Millennium Hollywood development, as well as the long-stalled Hollywood Target. Developers of the Reef, an enormous South LA development, are weighing their options after a local nonprofit used a CEQA lawsuit to secure more affordable housing for the project.

How has the law impacted LA?

The longterm effects of CEQA are harder to quantify.

Since 1970, when the CEQA process was created, air quality has improved in Los Angeles. At the same time, the pace of housing construction has slowed precipitously, while rental prices and the cost of buying a home have soared.

It would be a big stretch to blame the policy for California’s current housing shortage (for which there are many causes), but critics have long complained that CEQA fosters uncertainty for developers about investing in California projects that could be held up for years in court.

Kevin Klowden, director of the Milken Institute’s Center for Regional Economics and California Center, told KCET in 2012: “It’s just that it’s so easy for a competitor or for somebody with some sort of rival interest to file that lawsuit and create delays and try and discourage the development and get more favorable terms or get bought off.”

On the other hand, community members may not have wanted those projects in the first place. As KCET notes, CEQA lawsuits helped to prevent construction of the northern portion of the 710 freeway, which many community advocates now claim as a victory.

What’s next for CEQA?

State officials are now considering a few tweaks to CEQA’s guidelines. Proposed changes would adjust the way traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions are analyzed during the environmental review process. That could have an outsize impact on Los Angeles, where Metro is dramatically expanding its rail network.

The proposed rule changes would make it far easier for transit agencies to give priority to trains and rapid buses, in situations when these vehicles share the road with cars. That could lead to frustration for drivers, but it would dramatically improve the speed and efficiency of public transportation in Los Angeles and other California cities.

What $1,500 rents in LA right now

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A Long Beach apartment near the ocean or a renovated Ktown one-bedroom?

Curbed LA comparisons header

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, $1,500. Vote for your favorite below.

 Via Zillow

A short walk from Hollywood Forever Cemetery, this renovated Hollywood studio apartment has new appliances, granite counters, and parking available (probably for an extra fee). It’s a compact 400 square feet, and it rents for $1,400.

 Via Zillow

Right on Long Beach’s Ocean Park Boulevard, and adjacent to Bixby Park, this one-bedroom apartment features a “brand new” kitchen, quartz counters, and on-site laundry and parking. There are also plentiful ocean breezes. Rent is $1,575.

 Via Zillow

Another recently renovated apartment, this Koreatown one-bedroom has a dishwasher, two walk-in closets, and on-site laundry. There’s no mention of parking, though maybe you won’t need a car—it’s just a few blocks away from the Wilshire/Vermont Red and Purple Line station. The pet-friendly apartment rents for $1,595.

 Via Zillow

This one-bedroom apartment, a bottom unit in a Mid-City fourplex near Pico and LaBrea, features old-school avocado-green vintage tile in the kitchen and new lighting and windows. Located “close to everything,” the apartment also comes with parking. It rents for $1,600.

 Via Zillow

This sweet one-bedroom apartment in a Burbank fourplex has plenty to offer besides its midcentury-cute exterior. Inside, find refinished hardwood oak floors, an updated kitchen, new ceiling fans (including one in the bedroom), and on-site laundry machines. It’s unclear if there’s off-street parking. The apartment rents for $1,400.

Want to support climate action? Stop driving so much, LA

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If you really want to do something about climate change, choose not to use your car.

Transportation and density are the keys to decreasing emissions, fast

The fight against climate change will require every human on this planet to make “deep emissions reductions” that will dramatically reshape society. Yet the most important thing Los Angeles residents can do right now to support climate action is a lot more simple than you think—and it’s something you can do today.

Last year’s decision to back the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord sparked an overwhelming wave of support from city governments. More than 400 mayors—including the Southern California mayors of LA, Long Beach, and Santa Monica—pledged to adopt the Paris accord with or without federal commitment.

As part of that pledge, many of those cities, including LA, Long Beach, and Santa Monica, are moving to 100 percent clean energy. California passed a similar plan to not only have the entire state running on renewable energy by 2045, but also to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2045.

But even cities committed to using 100 percent clean energy can do more.

As Josh Barro points out at Business Insider, city and state leaders give a lot of lip service to reducing the emissions that cause climate change by promoting solar energy programs or buying electric vehicles. But when it comes to on-the-ground policy decisions, these leaders often ignore the simplest way to eliminate carbon emissions at the source:

State and city governments shape Americans’ carbon footprints through the policies they make about land use and transportation. If mayors and governors want Americans to emit less carbon, they should allow homes to be developed densely near people’s workplaces, and they should provide transit options that are attractive compared to driving.

The commitment to build denser housing developments and the transportation systems that serve them shouldn’t just be one pillar of a city’s climate action plan—it should be the core value around which every other action is aligned.

But many local governments—as well as their residents—don’t see the connection among climate change, transportation, and density.

“You can’t be for fighting climate change and against building density in urban centers,” says Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “Building a sustainable future includes creating smart growth that is centered around housing, mass transit, and walkability. That’s why Long Beach is committed to increasing density by building additional residential units and promoting growth along our transit corridors.”

Transportation specifically is the fastest-growing contributor to the greenhouse gases that cause climate change nationwide, and it represents the biggest chunk of total emissions in California.

 CARB
Transportation is California’s largest source of emissions that cause climate change.

It’s true that California is leading the country when it comes to reducing vehicular emissions, but reducing emissions alone won’t be enough to meet the state’s climate goals—or the guidelines in the Paris climate accord.

A report by the California Air Resources Board shows that the only way for the state to achieve its climate goals is for Californians to shift a substantial number of trips from cars to other modes like walking, biking, or public transit.

How many trips are we talking about? This Los Angeles Times analysis breaks it down: Everyone in Southern California has to drive 12 percent less. Just 12 percent less time in our cars—about two car-free trips per week.

One easy way city leaders can help residents drive less is to add housing density to the transit-accessible corridors that already exist—or the many more that will be formed across LA County thanks to Measure M funding.

Just adding taller buildings along the forthcoming Purple Line could add housing for as many as 1 million people to the urban core of Los Angeles. That could not only accommodate new arrivals to the city, it would allow more people who already live here to move closer to their jobs, without forcing them to spend money on cars or commute far distances.

<span data-author="2552">A report by the California Air Resources Board shows that the only way for the state to achieve its climate goals is for Californians to shift a substantial number of trips from cars to other modes like walking, biking, or public By Oscity / Shutterstock

Southern California has produced some good policy work in this area over the last few years. Long Beach has prioritized development along its downtown transit corridors. Los Angeles’s Sustainable City pLAn includes a roadmap for building new housing that’s transit-accessible and plan to get more cars off the road.

Santa Monica has a proposal for an expedited process to approve housing development along transit corridors and has made car-free living part of its sustainability strategy.

But the problem is that even when a city recommends such changes, some local leaders and neighborhood groups are working in direct opposition to the city’s climate action: championing the expansion of freeways, pushing to repave roads for drivers, stifling the development of bike lanes, stopping tall buildings adjacent to train stations, and trying to pass ballot measures that incentivize sprawl.

If you support any of these efforts, you’re not combatting climate change.

If you really want to do something about climate change, you can change your own transportation behavior to more clearly align with the goals set by 400 U.S. cities and nearly 200 other countries that are honoring this commitment—and become a strong voice for the kind of urban-scale changes that will help more people change their behavior as well.

“The world cannot wait—and neither will we,” was the rallying cry from the 400 mayors who pledged to honor the Paris agreement.

But there’s no reason for you to wait for your city to implement new policies—you can endorse global climate action every time you choose not to use your car.

Light-filled 1890s Victorian asks $1.3M in Pasadena

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The elegant home sits on a neatly manicured one-third acre lot

This lilac-colored Victorian in Pasadena is more than 120 years old, but its old age is barely visible on the interior.

The three-bedroom house was built in 1895 (though listing agent Kathleen Finnegan tells Curbed the sellers believe it may have been constructed earlier and moved from a different location). It has airy living spaces, accentuated by 10-foot tall ceilings and original window frames. The kitchen appears to have been recently remodeled and includes new cabinets, countertops, and stainless steel appliances.

The home’s two bathrooms have also been updated, and both have been equipped with a clawfoot tub. Other highlights include a formal dining room, a large living room with a bay window, and a pleasant sun room that opens to a large back deck.

Sitting on a one-third acre lot, the house has a large backyard complete with a chicken coop and a two-car garage. There’s also a covered front porch and a side yard with extra space for a garden.

Last sold in 1997 (for just $218,754), the home is now asking $1.25 million.

Living room
Dining room
Kitchen
Bedroom
Back deck
Backyard

Here’s what $799K buys around LA

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We’re looking at five options, from Santa Monica to Altadena

Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, where we explore what you can rent or buy for a certain dollar amount in various LA ’hoods. This week we’ve found five homes and condos with the exact same asking price: $799,000.

Front of house
Living room
Bedroom
Back deckPhotos by Rancho Photos, courtesy Sotheby’s

This cozy Echo Park cottage was built in 1926 and from the street looks like the sort of place you might expect to find a fairy godmother. Inside are original windows and coved ceilings, along with a living room fireplace and an updated kitchen. The 750-square-foot house has two bedrooms and one bathroom. It sits on a 2,168-square-foot lot with a deck and enclosed patio space in the back. Asking price is $799,000.

Front of house
Living room
Bedroom
BackyardPhotos by Charmaine David, courtesy Tracy Do

This stylish three-bedroom home sits on a woodsy lot on the eastern edge of Mount Washington. Inside is an open living room that flows into the remodeled kitchen and out to a large deck overlooking the surrounding hills. The house has 1,578 square feet of living space, with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. It sits on a nearly half-acre lot with terraced gardens and a hot tub. Asking price is $799.000.

Living room
Kitchen
Bedroom
Swimming poolCourtesy Pacific Union

What’s that real estate line about location? This co-op in Santa Monica is situated right along Ocean Avenue, across the street from Palisades Park and a block from the beach. Inside, the unit has 868 square feet of living space, with one bedroom and one bathroom. Sliding glass doors lead out to a private balcony accessible from the bedroom and living room. Shared amenities include a swimming pool, spa, and fitness center. Asking price is $799,000, but watch out for those HOA dues: They’re $1,924 per month.

Front of house
Living room
Bedroom
BackyardCourtesy Stephanie Younger

Draped in vines and fronted by neatly trimmed hedges, this home in Westchester was built in 1950 and has a Mediterranean-style design. The 804-square-foot residence has two bedrooms and one bathroom, along with an airy living room and a large tile-floored kitchen. The house sits on a 5,659-square-foot lot with a grassy backyard and a pergola-shaded patio. Asking price is $799,000.

Front yard
Living room
Kitchen
BackyardCourtesy Pacific Union

This handsome home in Altadena was built in 1951 and boasts hardwood floors, picture windows, and a brick fireplace in the living room. The house has two bedrooms and a bathroom, with 1,232 square feet of living space. French doors in the den lead out to a wooden deck and a charming backyard complete with gardens, trees, and a gravel pathway. Asking price is $799,000.

Housing affordability in LA is at a 10-year low, says new report

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Mortgage payments and slow wage growth are keeping houses out of reach for many Angelenos.

Homes haven’t been this hard to pay for since the recession

In Los Angeles County, where home prices are at an all-time high, buying a home is now less affordable than it has been since the collapse of the housing bubble in 2008.

Data gathered in a new report from real estate analyst Attom Data Solutions shows that in the third quarter of 2018 (which ended last week), it was harder for LA residents to afford a home than at any point in the last 10 years.

The report examines the relative affordability of home prices in urban areas around the U.S., assigning each market an affordability score based on historical averages. Scores under 100 indicate that housing prices are less affordable than usual.

In the third quarter of 2018, LA County’s score was 87, down from 88 in the previous quarter. The last time homes were this unaffordable was in the second quarter of 2008, just before real estate prices began to plummet.

The nationwide affordability score was 92, the lowest it has been since the third quarter of 2008.

The report measures affordability based on buyers’ ability to make payments on a typical home. In Los Angeles, to afford a median-priced home (which costs $610,000), buyers would need to earn more than $170,000 per year, or spend more than the recommended 28 percent of their income on housing.

Unfortunately, the report finds that a typical LA household brings in just over $63,000 per year, meaning that median buyers would need to spend over 75 percent of their income to afford a median-priced home.

One reason that housing is so difficult for typical buyers to afford: Wages in LA County haven’t been keeping up with home prices. Just in the past year, the median home price has grown 6 percent, while wages have climbed 4 percent.

Another culprit is rising mortgage interest rates, which have significantly raised monthly costs for buyers. In a recent report from CoreLogic, analyst Andrew LePage finds that, with interest rates factored in, median mortgage payments are up 16 percent since last year.

LendingTree economist Tendayi Kapfidze notes in the Attom report that homebuyers are now able to borrow 10 percent less than they could a year ago.

“This means at each price point the number of buyers is falling,” says Kapfidze.

Eventually, that reduction in demand could lead to a drop in prices, as experts have predicted since the beginning of the year.

But as data from the Attom report shows, buying a house in LA could still get much more expensive than it is today. In the second quarter of 2007, when the median sale price in LA County was just 10 percent below where it is today, the county’s affordability score was 62—an all-time low.

60 years of cheering on the Dodgers in Los Angeles

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October 4, 1959: Fans at the third game of the World Series.

#ThisTeam #TheseFans

Los Angeles may arrive in the third inning and leave in the seventh, but that doesn’t mean we’re not good fans to the Dodgers.

Starting even before Walter O’Malley relocated the team to Los Angeles in 1958, Angelenos have been cheering for and supporting the Boys of Summer, from Sandy Koufax to Fernando Valenzuela to Orel Hershiser to Yasiel Puig, first at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and then, starting in 1962, at Dodger Stadium.

In honor of the playoffs, here’s a look back at Dodgers fans through the ages:

 USC Digital Library
Frances Hambelton, 15, of Canoga Park, gathers signatures for a petition to bring Dodgers to Los Angeles in the fall of 1957.
 USC Digital Library
Dodgers fans celebrate at bar at Seventh and Broadway; “Bartender John Wixted had misfortune to be a White Sox fan.”
 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
“Here’s [a] portion of wild-eyed throng that set a new National League night game record in the season debut of the Dodgers” on April 13, 1960.
 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
“No, this isn’t an on-ramp to a toll road. Nor is it a traffic jam. It’s an auto lineup of anxious baseball fans waiting at Solano Street entrance to new Dodger Stadium” in 1962.
 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
April 10, 1962: On opening day of the first season at Dodger Stadium, “Fans lined up to see the new ballpark, then awaited the first pitch.”
 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
April 18, 1958: “The team rides in a motorcade parade down Broadway, en route to its first game in Los Angeles: A 6-5 win over the San Francisco Giants before 78,672 fans at the Coliseum.”
 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
1988: “Los Angeles hailed its world champion Dodgers with a parade down Broadway. Fans packed the sidewalks as floats made their way up the street.”
 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
June 2, 1958: “Never in the history of baseball did a team—a last place team—receive such a welcome as that accorded the Dodgers last night at International Airport, where some 7,500 rabid fans met the club.”
Premiere Of 'Bluetopia' - ArrivalsPhoto by David Livingston/Getty Images
A Dodger fan’s tattoo of sportscaster Vin Scully is seen at the premiere of ‘Bluetopia’ at the Pacific Design Center on April 18, 2009 in West Hollywood, California.
 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
October 3, 1959: “Here are some of the 5,000 greeters at airport last night as the Dodgers returned from Chicago where they evened the series yesterday. What a day it’ll be at the Coliseum tomorrow!”
 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Dodger Fan Club enthusiasts at the airport on October 3, 1959. “They and all Southern Californians are ready for the very first World Series Game ever to be played in Los Angeles. Coliseum will be rocking tomorrow!”
 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Fans camp outside the Dodgers ticket office to await the sale of Series tickets on October 8, 1977.
 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser and his son meet fans at the player’s parking lot in 1988.
San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles DodgersPhoto by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers hold up a sign intended for Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on July 31, 2007.
 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Fernando Valenzuela pennants for sale outside Dodger Stadium in 1981.
 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Dodgers float moves down Broadway as fans turn out to honor 1981 World Champion Dodgers.
 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
The backside of a Dodger fan’s head at a Sunday afternoon baseball game in 2000 held at Dodger Stadium.
Giants v Dodgers XGetty Images
A young fan in face paint at a game versus the Giants.
 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Valley residents board buses to watch the Dodgers beat Cincinnati in 1959.
 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
A Dodger player handing out balls to fans at Dodger Stadium.
 Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
October 8, 1963: “Mrs. Green simply held out her Dodger apron!” Mrs. Green’s apron reads “The heck with housework, let’s see the Dodgers play!”

Landlords are threatening rent hikes if Proposition 10 passes, activists say

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Proposition 10 would end statewide restrictions on rent control in California cities.

The ballot measure would roll back state regulations on rent control

In August, North Hollywood resident Jacob Swanson, 36, heard from his building’s property manager that rent for his apartment would increase from $1,850 to $2,000 per month, higher than the typical yearly increase he was used to.

Eager to know the reason for the higher rent hike, he emailed the property manager to ask if repairs or upgrades were planned for the building. The reply he received didn’t mention any repairs; instead, the building’s manager blamed the increase on “the upcoming election.”

Renter advocates say Los Angeles landlords and building managers are hitting tenants with rent hikes in advance of November, when voters will decide on Proposition 10, a statewide ballot initiative that would lift restrictions on rent control in California cities.

Larry Gross, director of the Coalition for Economic Survival, tells Curbed he’s heard of three such instances in the past week, including the email that Swanson received.

That email does not mention Proposition 10 by name, but notes that owners of the building, which is not covered by LA’s rent stabilization ordinance, are “facing rent control” in November.

In some cases, Gross says landlords are using the price increases to pressure tenants into voting against the measure. He’s received notifications from tenants in two different buildings about rent increases explicitly tied to the ballot measure.

A letter shared with reporters bears the letterhead of Rampart Property Management, an LA-based firm with more than a dozen available apartments listed on its website. It informs tenants of a pending rent increase in response to the ballot measure.

“In preparation for the passage of this ballot initiative we must pass along a rent increase today,” reads the letter.

Gross says that the tenant who brought the letter to the coalition lives in a building that is not subject to rent control restrictions, and now faces a $700 increase.

But the letter also includes a promise from the property manager to reevaluate the new rental prices following the results of the election.

“If the ballot measure fails,” says the letter, “we will revisit the rent increase with a desire to cancel it with new leases.”

Gross says the coalition received a similar letter from an attorney working with a tenant in Historic Filipinotown. Signed by Curtis C. Arndt, a Santa Monica chiropractor who owns a small apartment complex in the neighborhood, the letter states that “if the proposition does not pass, I will then consider rolling back rents to their current level.”

Neither Arndt nor Rampart Property Management responded to requests for comment on the letters.

Gross says he’s heard reports of similar messages being sent to tenants in other parts of the state. When coupled with increases in rent, he argues, political messages like these constitute “voter intimidation.”

He maintains that when landlords or property managers offer vague assurances that rents will be reduced if the proposition fails, they attempt to convince tenants to vote against their own long-term financial interests.

“It undermines the whole electoral process,” says Gross.

In Swanson’s case, the email he received tying his rent hike to the election wasn’t sent until after he asked for clarification.

“I don’t think it’s voter intimidation,” he says. “It’s more like pre-punishment. He doesn’t even know if it’s going to pass yet, but I’ve got to pay the toll in case it does.”

If approved by voters, Proposition 10 would repeal the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, a state law that prevents cities from restricting rental prices on single-family homes, condos, and buildings constructed after 1995.

Cities would still have to pass new regulations for the ballot measure to have any impact on California’s housing market, but the initiative would open the door for many newer buildings—including the one Swanson lives in—to be placed under rent control moving forward.

Zev Yaroslavsky, a senior fellow at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and a former Los Angeles County Supervisor, calls rent hikes in advance of the election “raw, ugly, and unethical.” But he also says he’s seen these tactics before.

In 1978, when Yaroslavsky sat on the Los Angeles City Council, many local apartment owners reportedly promised to lower rental prices following passage of Proposition 13, a ballot measure that slashed California’s property tax rates.

As the Los Angeles Times reported at the time, not all those landlords followed through; some even raised rents, speculating that city leaders would move to restrict prices.

Those fears were borne out when the City Council imposed a six-month rent freeze in October of that year. Following the freeze and other temporary measures, the rent stabilization ordinance went into effect, limiting rent hikes to between 3 and 8 percent annually.

Construction on Long Beach’s tallest tower, Shoreline Gateway, is underway

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It should be open by the end of 2021

The tower that will grow to be Long Beach’s tallest broke ground in the city’s downtown on Thursday, developers Ledcor Properties Inc. and Anderson Pacific LLC announced.

Called Shoreline Gateway, the 35-story tower “will add an icon to our skyline,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “We’ve been waiting for this project and excited that it will bring over 300 new homes to Long Beach.”

Shoreline Gateway sits at the corner of Ocean Boulevard and Alamitos Avenue. It will hold 315 “ultra-luxury” apartments—a mix of studios, and one- and two-bedroom apartments ranging from 580 square feet to 2,480 square feet. The building will be topped by two-story penthouses on the 34th and 35th floors. The design team for the project includes Studio One Eleven and Carrier Johnson + Culture, with landscape architecture by RELM.

The Shoreline Gateway structure is next to a 17-story apartment building called the Current, also developed by Ledcor and Anderson Pacific. The two projects are connected by a 10,000-square-foot plaza. The Current, which holds just over 200 apartments, opened in 2016.

Shoreline Gateway is scheduled for completion in late 2021, but a taller project is already in the works in Long Beach’s downtown. Called West Gateway, the development would rise to 40 stories and be part of a six-building mixed-use complex directly north of the World Trade Center.

Netflix will expand in Hollywood with second office tower

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The streaming media company has already rented the building across the street

Netflix is doubling down on Hollywood. Today, developers of EPIC, a 13-story office development on Sunset Boulevard, announced that the streaming company has signed a lease for the entire building.

“EPIC is part of our continuing investment in LA and Hollywood,” Netflix’s chief financial officer David Wells said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be able to continue to grow our team there.”

EPIC is designed by Gensler, and will feature floor-to-ceiling windows, terraces, fire pits, and a rooftop deck. The building will also be outfitted with electric-car-charging stations, bike lockers, and showers.

Developed by Hudson Pacific Properties, EPIC is due to be complete in 2020. Netflix will move into the building in phases that same year. The company’s lease at EPIC expires in 2031.

Netflix has already rented the entirety of the 14-story ICON tower and almost 92,000 square in the five-story office building CUE. The company has extended its leases at both building for an additional five years.

Both ICON and CUE are located across the street from EPIC, on the Sunset Bronson Studios lot, and are also owned by Hudson Pacific Properties.

The terraces at EPIC.

Flamboyant South Park skyscraper moves ahead

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Construction could start in two years

By 2023, the car wash at the corner of Figueroa and Olympic could be replaced with a “kaleidoscopic” 58-story skyscraper.

That’s according to a new timeline in a newly released draft environmental impact report, which shows construction could begin as soon as 2020.

The tower would hold a handful of different uses, including a hotel and hundreds of condos.

Designed by Nardi Associates, the unique, grid-like exterior shell of the building is intended to invoke a kaleidoscope, and will incorporate plants, LED lights, and photovoltaic panels on its exterior “exoskeleton.”

On its website, Nardi says the tower was designed as a “monumental urban tree… where real vegetation is combined with digitized landscape and graphic art images.”

The first three floors of the high-rise would hold 65,074 square feet of commercial space. Above that would be office space, 373 hotel rooms, and 374 condos. On the 13th floor, the tower would have “a large, elevated, landscaped atrium.” The project would also hold six levels of underground parking

The carwash on the site now was long considered a hold-out in a neighborhood where new developments have been steadily proposed, taking out parking lots and shorter commercial buildings and replacing them with multi-building megaprojects.

The plan to redevelop this major corner site in South Park first emerged in late 2015—about a year after the longtime owner, Robert Bush, sold the site to developer Ben Neman for $25 million. Bush bought the property in 1980, paying $525,000.

1930s Streamline Moderne in Fairfax headed for landmark status

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“A rare and remarkable intact example” of the style

The campaign to preserve a 1920s Streamline Moderne single-family home in Fairfax won a big victory today when the city’s cultural heritage commission approved its application for monument status.

The house at 947 Martel Avenue was designed by William Kesling, a master of the Streamline style, which incorporates the curves, chrome, and portholes of planes, trains, and glamorous ocean liners who used it on a number of apartment buildings throughout Los Angeles.

Actor Wallace Beery commissioned the residence, which is reportedly one of only 21 known remaining Streamline Moderne properties designed by Kesling.

In a statement read before the commission, Adrian Scott Fine, advocacy director for the Los Angeles Conservancy, stated his support for the nomination, calling the house “a rare and remarkably intact example of Streamline Moderne.”

Planning staffers had recommended that the commissioners approve landmark status for the house. Commissioners Barron and Kennard, who visited the house, agreed the house was still in good, largely original condition. Commissioner Kennard called the property “an amazingly intact house.”

The owner of the residence, developer Ilan Gorodezki, had originally submitted plans to the city to build a 17-unit condo complex on the property and an adjacent site that houses four apartments—a move that would have required demolishing the Kesling.

At an August 20 hearing, Gorodezki and his wife Linda Flloko told the commission that they no longer planned to demolish the house. They opposed the nomination and we not present at the hearing today.

The nomination still needs the approval of full Los Angeles City Council.

Mayor says gas tax repeal would delay train service to LAX

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Garcetti speaking against Proposition 6 at a press event Wednesday.

Along with other big transportation projects

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti urged California voters Wednesday to reject a ballot measure repealing a statewide gas tax.

The mayor says losing revenue collected through the tax would delay or jeopardize some of the city’s most significant transportation projects, including train service to LAX.

“Thanks to the voters of LA County who approved Measure M, we’re on the cusp of finally connecting LAX to rail,” said Garcetti in a statement. “[Proposition 6] would undo those plans.”

The ballot initiative, sponsored by a group called Reform California and backed by the state’s Republican Party, would eliminate a 12-cent tax on gas that went into effect last year and subject new gas taxes or motor vehicle fees to voter approval going forward.

Supporters argue that this would save consumers money and force California legislators to rethink financing mechanisms for road repairs and public transit. But opponents, including Garcetti, argue that funding from the gas tax is crucial to completing key transportation projects on time.

According to a financial forecast released by Metro in September, more than a dozen major projects in LA County are set to receive funding through the gas tax. They include construction of a new train station at 96th Street, where riders will be able to connect to LAX via a people mover system; a transit line through the Sepulveda Pass; a light rail line connecting the Gateway Cities to Downtown LA; and repair work and resurfacing on the 5, 10, and 605 freeways.

If efforts to repeal the gas tax are successful, Metro estimates that these projects could be delayed between three and five years. That would make it tricky for the transit agency to achieve its well-publicized goal of completing 28 projects in time for the 2028 Olympics.

According to Garcetti, these potential side effects of repealing the tax make voting against the ballot measure a “no brainer.”

Recent polling data suggests a small majority of California voters are inclined to agree. A poll released last week by the Public Policy Institute of California found that 52 percent of voters plan to vote against the measure, compared to 39 percent who say they’ll vote yes.

135 more apartments now under construction at Jordan Downs

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It’s the latest in a phased development to remodel and expand the public housing project

The effort to transform a public housing project into a larger, mixed-use community with shops and new homes advanced Friday, when the city of Los Angeles broke ground on 135 new apartments at Jordan Downs in Watts.

“The redevelopment at Jordan Downs is about so much more than construction and landscaping—it’s a living example of our determination to give all Angelenos a real chance at the opportunity and prosperity that they deserve,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The new residences will range in size from one- to five-bedroom units, spread out over six blocks, according to the Housing Authority of the city of Los Angeles.

All 135 apartments will be affordable to families making 60 percent of the area median income or less. It’s unclear what portion of the 135 units will be reserved for current residents of Jordan Downs.

The $73 million project, developed by The Michaels Organization, is considered Phase 1B of a 10-year, multi-phase redevelopment planned for the complex. Phase 1A, which broke ground in June 2017, is under construction now.

The Michaels Organization and the nonprofit BRIDGE Organization are master developers of the entire redevelopment. SVA Architects designed Phase A and B.

When complete, the new Jordan Downs will have 710 new apartments and townhouses, roughly nine acres of park space, a community center, and about 165,000 square feet of new retail space.

The project also includes a half-mile extension of Century Boulevard that will connect Grape and Alameda streets, acting as a major new street in Jordan Downs. Friday also marked the grand opening of the extension, which is now open.

 Courtesy of Councilmember Joe Buscaino And HACLA

Beloved Bob Baker Marionette Theater will leave its longtime home, open in new location

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In November, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater is leaving its home of over 50 years.

The new home will be inspired by decades-old sketches

The landmark Bob Baker Marionette Theater announced today that it will leave its longtime home on Glendale Boulevard and First Street by the end of November.

The building that has housed the theater for more than five decades is slated to be demolished at an unknown date to make way for a mixed-use development. The theater was offered a space in the new project but decided to strike out on its own.

The beloved theater and its puppets will hold a day-long celebration on November 23—the institution’s final day in its present location and 55 years to the day from when the theater opened in 1963.

Around that time, the organization plans to announce the location of its new permanent LA home.

Regardless of where the theater goes in the city, “we will continue to offer the Westlake community creative resources and access to the ongoing events,” theater operators said in a statement. Puppeteers take part in outreach initiatives in local schools and throughout the neighborhood around the theater.

If everything goes according to schedule, the marionette theater’s new location will be up and running by the end of 2019, says spokesperson Winona Bechtle.

With its bright red curtains and prolific tinsel, the original marionette theater will be a hard act to follow, but the future home of the Bob Baker Marionette Theater will be based on “original and unrealized concepts by Bob Baker himself,” as seen in drawings by Morton Haack—the costume designer for the original Planet of the Apes—sketched nearly 60 years ago.

The new theater will also incorporate “all the beloved features of the current theater, from the drywall to the chandeliers.”

Between November 23 and the opening of the theater’s new home, the marionettes will hit the road for a series of traveling engagements and pop-up appearances from the Pasadena Playhouse to the Santa Monica Pier.

The organization will also launch the Bob Baker Marionette Mobile, “a traveling ice cream truck and puppet caravan.”

Bob Baker and Alton Wood opened the marionette theater in 1963. Both were puppeteers.

Baker worked on numerous films, including Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Disney’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and episodes of Star Trek, according city documents related to the theater’s landmarking.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that the new theater would open by the end of this year. It will open by the end of next year.

13 haunted attractions to freak you out this Halloween

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Inside a Knott’s Scary Farm maze.

From theme parks to home haunts, here’s where to scare yourself silly

October is here, and Halloween is right around the corner. The time for costume planning, pumpkin carving, and candy collecting is nigh. Above all, it’s the season for haunted hayrides, zombie mazes, and any number of other spooky encounters.

For those looking for some fun, controlled terror this Halloween, we’ve mapped some of the best haunted attractions across Los Angeles. Some have high production values (and high ticket prices); others are homemade and completely free. All are scary in their own ways.

For more spooky reads:

Here’s what $680K buys around LA

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We’ve got five options, from Hollywood to Highland Park

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 homes and condos within $10,000 of today’s price: $680,000.

Front of house
Dining room
Kitchen
Outdoor dining areaCourtesy Pacific Union

This Tujunga residence was built in 1953 and features airy interiors illuminated by walls of glass and wide panels of windows. The house has been recently renovated and it’s got a new HVAC system and surround sound speakers. Equipped with two bedrooms and one bathroom, the house has 1,133 square feet of floor space. Sitting on a 5,985-square-foot lot, it has an attached garage and an enclosed backyard with multiple patios. Asking price is $679,000.

Living room
Kitchen
Bedroom
BalconyCourtesy Pacific Union

How about this condo, located on the seventh floor of the Hollywood Versailles Tower, close to the intersection of Hollywood and La Brea? The 954-square-foot unit has one bedroom and two bathrooms, with a kitchen and bathrooms that have been recently remodeled and a private balcony. Shared amenities include a swimming pool, a fitness center, and a lobby lounge. Asking price is $685,000, and HOA dues are $803 per month.

Front of house
Living room
Kitchen
Back of houseCourtesy Jennifer Wenzlaff, Redfin

This classic Spanish-style home in Highland Park was built in 1928. It sits on a compact 2,285-square-foot lot with patio space and a back deck that offers nice views across the neighborhood. Inside are original hardwood floors, though most of the house has been recently updated. It has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, with 1,142 square feet of living space. There’s even a basement with laundry and a bit of extra storage space. Asking price is $674,500.

Front yard
Living room
Kitchen
BackyardVia Polly Watts, Maxim Properties

This comfortable-looking home in Lake Balboa has three bedrooms and two bathrooms, with 1,246 square feet of living space. The kitchen has been recently renovated and offers new countertops and stainless steel appliances. The light-filled living room is equipped with a gas fireplace. Sitting on a grassy 6,001-square-foot lot with a detached garage in the back, the house is asking $679,900.

Living room
Bedroom
Kitchen
BalconyCourtesy Pacific Union

This Downtown LA condo is located in South Park’s EVO Lofts building. Measuring in at 1,020 square feet, it’s got a wide open floor plan (technically, it’s a one-bedroom, though there’s no dividing wall between the bedroom and the rest of the unit). The condo has wood floors, stainless steel appliances, a breakfast bar, and in-unit laundry. Building amenities include a swimming pool, a lounge, barbecue areas, and a fitness center. Asking price is $685,000, with HOA dues of $762 per month.

John Lautner’s Bergren House hitting the market for $1.99M

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The Hollywood Hills midcentury modern is one of several Lautners in the neighborhood

In 2004, having worked for some time as a fashion photographer based in Paris, LA native Christian Lamb was ready to come back home. He got online and started trawling LA real estate listings, initially in the “just looking” mode.

But Lamb’s casual search quickly turned serious when he came upon a listing for John Lautner’s Bergren House.

As virtual tours were still a thing of the future at that time, Lamb arranged to have a friend walk through the home with a video camera and FedEx him the Hi-8 tape. It was compelling enough for him to make an offer from Paris without ever having set foot in the home. “I was inspired—I could feel the house’s energy,” he recalls.

Tucked into a hillside off of Mulholland Drive north of Runyon Canyon, not far from the famed Garcia and Chemosphere Houses, the Bergren Residence was completed by Lautner in 1953 for guitarist Ted Bergren, then rebuilt and expanded by the architect in the late 1950s after a fire.

Per the monograph Between Earth and Heaven, the maverick modernist described the Bergren’s design as “a free floor set in a free space… so that when living there, one feels in the mountains and out of town.”

Measuring 1,582 square feet, the two-bedroom, two-bath home features concrete floors, walls of glass, and redwood-beamed ceilings in a distinctive chevron pattern. Other notable aspects include an indoor water feature, front and rear patios, a two-car carport, and spectacular valley vistas.

While the Bergren’s bones and footprint haven’t been significantly altered since the ’50s, its interior has weathered a few changes over the years.

According to Lamb, when he took possession of the house, it had a “Miami Vice meets Barbarella” aesthetic. “The master bath had a pink bathtub with a black toilet,” he recalls.

Worse than that, the redwood ceiling beams in the living and dining room had been painted over and over.

“We started scraping the white paint off, and underneath it, we found brown paint, baby blue, yellow—all the colors in a crayon box,” he says.

Ultimately, Lamb, who studied architecture before switching into visual arts, spent a year and a half restoring and tweaking the house.

Among the projects were installing a new kitchen with a poured-concrete island and high-end appliances, retreating the concrete floors, overhauling the bathrooms, and adding new lighting, landscaping, and a laundry room (the latter of which was accomplished without changing the home’s footprint by moving the HVAC unit to the roof).

“I wanted to pare it down to wood, glass, steel, and concrete,” says Lamb.

After completing the renovation, Lamb had Karol Lautner Peterson, John Lautner’s sister and head of his foundation, come over to take a look.

“She walked through it very quiet and pensive. I was holding my breath the whole time,” he recalls. “But at the end she said, ‘John would have really liked what you’ve done here.’ That made me so happy.”

As fate would have it, however, just about the time when he’d finally gotten the house into ship-shape, Lamb also started become increasingly successful as a director of commercials, music videos, and live music tours. Those gigs have meant spending lengthy periods of time away from his home, so Lamb began renting it out.

Over the years, the Caverna Drive residence has attracted a fair share of artistic types—authors, directors, singers and songwriters—as renters.

“It’s a great space to create, a really quiet sanctuary,” says Lamb. “Even though it’s a glass house, it’s entirely private—you can walk around naked. You’ll see deer outside the window, but you won’t hear anyone else’s conversation.”

But recently the director came to the conclusion that it was time for the home to go to “someone who loves it and wants to live in it full-time.”

The property is now on the market with an asking price of $1.999 million. Open house is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today and 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Circa towers with massive LED screen open in Downtown LA

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The two-tower development is “a city-within-a-city”

Two 35-story towers at 12th and Figueroa officially opened today, welcoming their first residents. Located directly across the street from LA Live and fronted by a 18,000-square-foot LED screen, the 648-unit project is hard to miss.

“Circa embodies luxury urban living to the fullest,” says Scott Dobbins, president of Hankey Investment Company, one of the four investment entities that owns the development. “It’s a city-within-a-city that will become a focal point of Downtown LA.”

The development, designed by Harley Ellis Devereaux and Hanson LA, includes a variety of residential units, plus shops and restaurants and a private two-acre park.

The apartments range from 600-square-foot one-bedrooms to lavish, nearly 4,000-square-foot penthouses.

Rents start at $3,000 and go up to $25,000 a month for the penthouses. Three of the six penthouses are already leased, according to developers.

Residents have access to a two-acre private park by LRM Landscape Architecture, two pools, two spas, and outdoor fireplaces.

At the ground floor, Circa holds 48,000-square-feet of retails space, including 26,000 square feet for restaurants. The names of the retail tenants haven’t been released yet, but they are expected to include “up to four nationally-branded retailers.”

Circa is one of more than 30 projects under construction or in the planning stages in the South Park neighborhood.

26 things to do this fall in LA

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Forest Lawn.

26 places to visit in LA, from cemeteries to the best new art exhibits

Welcome to Curbed LA’s pocket guide, a map of 26 essential things to do in Los Angeles. Suited for locals and visitors alike and curated by our editors, this map is updated seasonally, focusing on cultural institutions, the outdoors, and beautiful spaces.

This autumn, we’re paying special attention to places where you can glimpse fall colors, as well as new fall exhibitions and impressive architecture. Our picks include well-known classics and under-the-radar spots, from the Getty to a new brewpub in a glorious Art Deco space to the cemetery where Michael Jackson and Walt Disney are buried.

If we missed any cool spots, let us know in the comments.

Looking for more ways to explore the City of Angels this summer?

Here are the details for Sunday’s epic Disney Hall-to-Hollywood Bowl CicLAvia

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An aerial view of the Hollywood Bowl, which is hosting a free concert September 30.

It’s a huge party, and everyone is invited

The Los Angeles Philharmonic is throwing a huge open-streets festival tomorrow—and the entire city is invited.

The supersized block party will feature concerts, art installations, and food trucks at six “hubs” along an 8-mile route that will stretch from the Walt Disney Concert Hall to the Hollywood Bowl.

The route—which will pass through Downtown, MacArthur Park, Koreatown, and Hollywood—will be closed to cars and dedicated to people on foot, bikes, scooters, skates, and wheelchairs.

All forms of non-motorized transportation are welcome, meaning Bird, Lime, and other dockless e-scooters are not allowed. If you want to bike, but don’t own a bicycle, rent one from Metro’s bike-share program; here’s a map of the stations.

The entertainment line-up is extensive, with some 1,800 performers slated to croon and dance. Among them are a slew of Los Angeles musicians, including Dustbowl Revival, DāM-FunK, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Las Cafeteras, Phoebe Bridgers, and Wayne White.

Co-hosted by CicLAvia, the event is a celebration of the philharmonic’s 100th anniversary and will culminate in a free concert at the bowl; registration for the show is already closed.

Details for the festival, including street closures, are below.

When

9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, September 30

Organizers recommend getting to your final destination by 4 p.m., when the reroute reopens to cars, to avoid traffic.

Route (and hub locations)

[googlemaps https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=1WinHx7xf4a6vaB_GHZZO6aT8U_f_D-Sa&w=640&h=480]

The route runs between the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Hollywood Bowl, via Wilshire Boulevard, Western Avenue, Melrose Avenue, and Vine Street. There’s no start or end point, so join in anywhere.

Highland Avenue will remain open to traffic, so if you want to walk directly up the hill to the bowl via the open street route, you’ll have to share the road with cars on Franklin and Highland. You can also take a free shuttle from Hollywood and Yucca to the bowl.

Here are the hub locations and addresses (all of them are located near Metro subway stations, except the Melrose hub):

  • Grand Ave Hub (Grand Ave between 1st and 3rd street)

111 South Grand Avenue Los Angeles, 90012

  • MacArthur Park Hub (Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles; Park View between Wilshire and 6th, inside Park)

2401 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, 90057

  • Koreatown Hub (Wilshire between Western and Serrano)

3731 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, 90010

  • Melrose Hub (Melrose at Windsor)

5555 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, 90038

  • Hollywood Hub (Vine between Hollywood and Yucca)

1750 Vine Street, Los Angeles, 90028

  • Hollywood Bowl Hub (off the 101 Freeway at Highland Ave)

2301 North Highland Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90068

Street closures

 Via LA Phil
  • Grand Avenue between First Street and Wilshire Boulevard
  • Wilshire Boulevard between Grand Avenue and Western Avenue
  • Western Avenue between Wilshire Boulevard and Melrose Avenue
  • Melrose Avenue between Western Boulevard and Vine Street
  • Vine Street between Melrose Avenue and Yucca Street.

Sunny bungalow ‘among the trees’ wants $799K in Elysian Heights

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Built in 1921, it has two wood decks

Tucked into the hills of Elysian Heights, the neighborhood north of Echo Park and south of the the 5 freeway, sits this small, shingled bungalow set “among the trees.”

Coming in at 1,020 square feet, the sunny dwelling holds two bedrooms and two bathrooms in an unusual layout. But to make up for that, it offers a lovely spread of outdoor space, including two decks along with a “terraced front yard with abundant agave.” (The second bedroom offers a direct connection to the yard via French doors.)

The home was built in 1921, but has been updated, most noticeably in the kitchen and bathrooms, and it features some charming elements: pitched ceilings, wood floors, clapboard walls, and a fireplace.

Last sold just two years ago for $604,000, it’s now on the market for $799,000.

See the 22-story Hollywood apartment tower set to rise next to the Fonda

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Construction could start in 2020

Plans to build a 22-story apartment building next to the Fonda Theater on Hollywood Boulevard are advancing and new planning documents reveal the tower that would replace a parking lot on the site now.

The structure, designed by HKS Architects, is made up of a four-story podium topped off by 18 stories of residential space.

The ground floor is expected to hold a restaurant with outdoor dining space. The dining area would abut a landscaped courtyard intended to “enhance the pedestrian experience along the Hollywood Boulevard frontage.”

The upper floors would hold 220 apartments, 11 of which would be affordable. Parking for the new development would be held in two underground levels.

The developer, an LLC connected to the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, anticipates construction will begin in 2020 and last about two years.

This is one of a slew of developments planned for this part of Hollywood, which has a steady stream of hotels, apartment buildings, and major projects in the pipeline.

A view of the project’s ground floor, main entrance, and pedestrian plaza at the southwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Gower Street.
The project’s Hollywood Boulevard-facing side. Ground-floor uses here include outdoor dining and the landscaped plaza adjacent to the Fonda Theatre.

Developer Izek Shomof readies for major renovation of hotel across from Inglewood stadium

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Fencing is up around the Airport Park Hotel in Inglewood. Developer Izek Shomof plans to renovate the property into an upscale hotel.

It’s one of many developments headed for the neighborhood

Developer Izek Shomof purchased an Inglewood hotel about a year ago, with plans to totally remodel the property as a new $2.6 billion NFL stadium rises across the street.

Shomof says he is “hopefully days away from getting our construction permit” to begin working on a comprehensive renovation.

“It will be a big, complete rehab,” he says.

Additions to the hotel will include a new swimming pool, a restaurant, and a glamorous lobby, and the hotel’s 180 rooms will be overhauled. Shomof is still selecting an operator for the boutique hotel, and is not ruling out having his company operate it.

There’s fencing up now around the 1960s-era hotel, located at 3900 West Century Boulevard. To the north, construction is underway on the future home of the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers.

The stadium will open in about two years. Shomof plans to open his hotel just before then.

The football stadium is just one part of a massive, 298-acre mixed-use district that will bring office space, retail, apartments and townhouses, a 300-room hotel, and acres of green space to Inglewood.

The whole project, developed Wilson Meany and Stockbridge Capital, is expected to have quite an effect on the neighborhood, especially when coupled with the arrival of the Crenshaw/LAX rail line in 2019 and a planned (and hotly contested) Clippers arena. Inglewood’s big-ticket developments are already having an effect on home values in the neighborhood.

Shomof is busy elsewhere in the LA area, most notably with a huge mixed-use project in Boyle Heights, where he plans to transform the Art Deco Sears tower and its adjacent 10-story distribution center into a residential and retail complex with more than 1,000 residential units, a rooftop eatery, event space, and a food hall.

High-end South Korean market coming to Downtown LA

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A rendering of the market, which will occupy three floors of the building at Seventh and Olive streets.

The market aims to compete with the Whole Foods less than a block away

A major South Korean retailer has chosen Downtown LA to host the first-of-its kind location of an upscale market called PK Market.

The 51,692-square-foot store will bring “a reimagined retail food market with multiple highly-curated food and beverage offerings,” according to a release from Cushman and Wakefield, the real estate firm that represented the building’s owner in the transaction.

The company, PK Retail Holdings, will lease the first three floors of the building—the first two floors will be retail space, while the third floor will serve as offices and the U.S. headquarters for the market.

When it opens late next year, PK Market will be about a block away from a 41,000-square-foot Whole Foods, a chain with which PK Market intends to be in direct competition.

PK Market spokesperson Neil Stern says the company was attracted to the location, because it is “incredibly vibrant with both business and residential growth,” and nearby hip hotels “like Nomad and Ace bringing travelers into the market.”

The building dates back to 1917 and was built to house the Ville de Paris department store. Now, it’s owned by Atlas Capital Group and being renovated for use as 169,000 square feet of office and retail space.

PK Retail Holdings is a subsidiary of Shinsegae Group, which controls a number of retail companies including department stores, convenience stores, grocery stores, and the Target-like E-Mart.

The artists and developer who put Inglewood’s arts scene ‘on the map’

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Now, as Inglewood becomes irresistible to developers, house hunters, and major sports franchises, some artists wonder whether they’ll get priced out

The first time painter and collage artist Michael Massenburg heard about the arts event Inglewood Open Studios he remembers looking at the flier and thinking: “Who are these artists?” It was 2006. Massenburg had been living in Inglewood for more than a decade and had even helped start a local arts nonprofit there, but he knew only a handful of other artists who called the city home.

It wasn’t just him. Many artists lived illegally in warehouses or other commercial spaces and intentionally kept low profiles.

“When I moved here 20 years ago, I was told there are artists in Inglewood. Great, where?” says photographer and textile artist Anne Cheek La Rose. “Everybody kept going, ‘Over there.’ Nobody could tell me where.”

Inglewood Open Studios, an event in which artists open their studio doors to the public for one weekend a year, changed that.

“If there wasn’t an Open Studio, we probably wouldn’t be standing here,” says Massenburg.

He’s standing in Beacon Arts Building, an old concrete warehouse, just north of downtown Inglewood. It changed things too.

 Courtesy of Renée Fox
Open Studios postcard from 2006.

Painters Renée Fox and Kenneth Ober were living in a “shoebox”-sized studio apartment in Hollywood, when they decided they needed a bigger space. They wound up in Inglewood when a friend from their undergrad days at Otis College of Art and Design asked the then couple if they wanted to take over her lease.

“It was super inexpensive,” Fox recalls. “The size of the building was perfect for us.”

Fox and Ober moved to Inglewood in 2006 and founded Open Studios later that year. Their goal was to make artists more visible to one another, giving them a stronger network for collaboration and community action.

The event attracted positive press, which Massenburg says was rare in a city that more frequently garnered headlines for corruption and crime.

“When there was something good happening in Inglewood, it’s because there was an article written about the artists,” he says.

The press caught the attention of an unlikely arts patron named Scott Lane, a real estate developer from Beverly Hills who brokers and manages properties, mostly shopping centers.

Eight years ago, one of Lane’s clients, a man named Tony Kouba, enlisted him to redevelop a property he’d been operating as a storage facility that wasn’t making much money. But Lane’s options were limited: The property isn’t zoned for residential uses and the building’s concrete walls would make renovations challenging.

After reading about Open Studios, he got the idea to transform the warehouse into workspaces for artists. That was before the city passed a live/work ordinance in 2014, thanks to organizing efforts from artists, including Fox, who now inhabits her own live/work space not too far from Beacon.

In 2010, artists’ studios were a developer’s dream: The artists don’t sleep there, the bathrooms and kitchens are shared, and the open spaces require minimal effort to maintain.

“I think they were looking at ways to kind of up the ante in regards to their property,” says Massenburg. “Because it was always there, but it wasn’t really doing a whole lot. Artists come in and do some stuff—and boy did we do some stuff.”

Artists working out of Beacon have since shown at Ace Gallery, LA Art Fair, the California Museum of African American Art, and the Torrance Museum of Art. Some of the artists residing at 1019 West, another property owned by Kouba and named for its address on West Manchester Boulevard (it was converted from a former Volkswagen dealership in 2010), have gone on to sell work to museums, collectors, and auction houses.

Beacon Arts Building, a former warehouse.

For better or worse, the two buildings have helped transform Inglewood from a grassroots creative community into a competitive art world destination.

But before any of that could happen, Lane had to gain the artists’ trust.

Some artists initially had reservations, Massenburg says, based on “things that have happened in history in other places, where developers will come in and put in their vision and stuff—but it may not be inclusive of the artists, or maybe artists might be displaced.”

They were put at ease once they learned that Kouba and Lane had hired Fox to run a gallery inside Beacon Arts Building.

“Scott invited us to come in and use the space for free and, you know, just wanted to help us build a community,” says Fox. “At that point I felt pretty convinced it was worth working with them, and they always compensated me for my time generously and bought a lot of work from the artists, and the building became full of artists.”

But old, tired stereotypes about Inglewood, the city that Dr. Dre described in a 1991 rap song as the “hood” remained.

“When we did our first event, a gallery and grand opening, I was a little nervous about Inglewood,” Lane says. “I grew up in Beverly Hills, so I would always hear Inglewood, and it would be scary.”

Lane hired the Inglewood Police Department to patrol the gallery during its first opening, just in case. “It was ridiculous. We didn’t need it,” he said, laughing. “We never had any problems.”

Fox ingeniously appointed well-known art critics to curate the gallery’s first exhibition, which inevitably generated even more press. (She says Kouba agreed to independently finance the gallery for the first two years, but it was unprofitable on its own and has since shuttered).

But Beacon Arts Building, as a landlord experiment in community-building, was successful even without the gallery.

Today, Beacon Arts Building and 1019 West collectively house roughly 60 artists’ studios, including those of conceptual artist Richelle Gribble and Otis’s program director of painting, Scott Grieger.

Depending on the size, studios at both Beacon and 1019 West range from roughly $700 to upwards of $1,000. They include utilities, WiFi, and gated parking.

Lane says other real estate developers have tried to emulate what he and Kouba did with Beacon Arts Building and 1019 West, but there’s no formula for cultivating a community as unique as the one in Inglewood.

“Just because you have a building in Inglewood” doesn’t mean you can instantly build an arts community, Lane says.

In the beginning, the studios attracted mostly college students from nearby universities who used the spaces to throw all-night parties.

“I didn’t want to be a landlord. I just wanted to help nurture the [art],” he says. “You can sense the growth and you can sense the evolution. That’s why nobody really leaves.”

Lane booted the partiers and created an application process to weed out artists he suspected weren’t serious about making art. He strategically recruited emerging artists like Joey Wolf and Kour Pour, who at the time were still enrolled at Otis College and embodied the starving artist trope, taking iHop vouchers from Kouba, who is a franchisee.

Those days are long gone.

Pour and Wolf are now represented by the influential art collector and advisor Stefan Simchowitz, who, according to Lane, also rents a space at 1019 West. Pour’s paintings, which resemble patterned carpets, sell at the auction house Sotheby’s for six figures.

“We ended up with some really talented people, good artists, at both complexes, and it pretty much put Inglewood on the map,” Lane says.

Now, real estate prices in Inglewood are skyrocketing. Though Lane has proven something of an outlier, striving to keep rents low while soliciting input from his tenants, the rush of new developers likely won’t do the same.

“It’s ironic. Now I get calls all the time [from people saying], ‘Is there anything from Inglewood that we can buy?’” says Lane.

Unlike shopping centers, “where you buy the land, get the permit, finance it and you’re out,” says Lane, artists’ studios can take years to develop. Even then, he adds, “it’s not like we’re making a lot of money here.”

It’s not just the artists who are attracting an influx of interest and investments. There’s also the extension of the Metro Crenshaw Line, the NFL football stadium, and possibly a new basketball arena, a development that some residents are fighting against.

The Crenshaw Line, under construction in Inglewood, in August.

Anticipating an influx in foot traffic, Lane he says he’s working with the city to find out what else he can build on the property at 1019 West, which he says is underused. He’d like to build on the rooftop and develop a space for businesses—a coffee shop and a dry cleaners, maybe—on the corner, near Hindley Avenue.

“We’re perfectly situated to do some service business for people walking up the street to go to the Metro and at the same time maintain the integrity of the artists and the artists’ community,” Lane says. “It would be a shame not to take advantage of the location.”

As Inglewood becomes irresistible to developers, house hunters, and major sports franchises, some artists wonder whether they’ll get priced out.

“That’s historically what happens with a lot of communities, where there’s a point where artists find spots and cluster together and eventually they start flourishing culturally,” says Massenburg. “Then ‘the big g’ happens, unfortunately, in some areas: Gentrification.”

Not every artist resents development in the area.

For Rick Garzon, a native of Inglewood who recently opened the contemporary exhibition space Residency Art Gallery downtown, real estate development hasn’t been fast enough.

“I still feel like Inglewood is a little stagnant,” he says. “A lot of people are waiting on the big box businesses that are coming in.” He’d like to see a Whole Foods or a Trader Joe’s open in the city, for starters.

Rasta Asaru El, who runs the recently opened Creative House Gallery, agrees.

“It’s needed growth because a lot of these buildings have been vacant for so long. There’s been nothing here,” he says. “Even if you go to the other side of Manchester, it doesn’t have what you call a flavor, or a vibe to it.”

And while Open Studios might be well known in the art scene, with some of its artists having achieved international recognition, it’s still relatively under-the-radar to some Inglewood residents, says Garzon.

“Inglewood Open Studios has been its own like microcosm almost. It’s been its own small thing, and I think a lot of people in Inglewood really don’t hear about it,” he says. “We all need to come together and do more work as a whole, getting the scene out.

Just don’t blame the artists for the inevitable gentrification that follows, says Massenburg. While the artists may have helped revitalize the city, they have little control over what developers choose to do next.

And despite their best intentions, some artists are already priced out.

After nearly three decades in Inglewood, where she recently served on the city’s arts commission, La Rose retired last month and moved to New Orleans, where her sister lives. Her husband died 12 years ago, and she calls it “miraculous” that she’s been able to survive ever since on just one income.

“I found myself house rich and cash poor, and when I stop working, the bills are going to continue to rise and my income is going to go down,” La Rose says. “It was simple economics to me. I couldn’t do it. I decided not to fight anymore.”

Massenburg considers himself lucky because he purchased a home in Inglewood when he moved here from South Los Angeles after the LA Riots in 1992.

He’d collected an inheritance after his mother died and thought about purchasing a home in faraway cities like Pasadena or Palmdale. But Inglewood, located just a few miles from where he grew up, was affordable. To him, the location was ideal.

“It’s the best location for everything when you think about it: Close to the airport, close to three freeways,” he says. “And of course the weather—you get that beach breeze.”

But for decades, Massenburg says, Inglewood was plagued by an outdated reputation for crime—a holdover from the Watts Riots of 1965, which resulted in “white flight,” or an exodus of white families from the area to nearby suburbs.

“Because it was pretty much, you know, a community of color, it has always been downgraded. People say, ‘Oh, you go there? Is it safe?’” he says. “That stereotype was so strong that today people say, like, ‘You going to move to Inglewood?’” He mimics an expression of disbelief.

Massenburg predicts that stereotype won’t stick for much longer.

If he were to move to Inglewood as an artist today, he says, he wouldn’t be able to afford the lifestyle he enjoys now. That includes renting a studio at Beacon Arts Building, where he stores hulking round canvases and painted wooden furniture he has repurposed into sculptures.

“We’re losing different generations of people who were here and can’t stay here,” Massenburg says. “What happens years down the line… it won’t be as interesting.”

 
 

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