Ethics commission delays vote on banning developer contributions to LA politicians

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Los Angeles City Hall.

“I’d like to see concrete proof that developer money leads to corruption,” says commissioner

Candidates for Los Angeles office will very likely be able to continue accepting checks from developers in the lead-up to the 2020 elections—despite the attempts of some local officials to bar these types of campaign contributions.

The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission declined to vote Tuesday on a recommendation from Councilmember David Ryu to ban developers of major projects within LA from donating to local officials and candidates.

Because the campaign financing window for the next citywide election—in 2020—opens September 3, any future limits on developer spending probably wouldn’t take effect until the next election cycle.

“I get the intent of a developer ban,” said Commission President Serena Oberstein. “I am concerned that we’re not all the way there yet.”

Individual donations to councilmembers are already capped at $800 per year.

Ryu, along with councilmembers Paul Krekorian, Joe Buscaino, Paul Koretz, and Mike Bonin proposed a total ban on developer contributions in 2017, shortly before voters weighed in on Measure S, a ballot initiative that would have put a two-year freeze on most major developments.

Supporters of the measure railed against developer influence in city politics, and prior to the defeat of the initiative, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced plans to bar private meetings between developers and members of the city’s Planning Commission.

Blocking campaign donations from developers “seeking city approvals on their potentially-lucrative projects” would further boost public trust in LA’s political system, councilmembers who proposed the ban said.

But members of the ethics commission said Tuesday that key details of the proposal still needed to be worked out—namely, how such a policy would be enforced.

A report presented to the commission notes that the identities of developers aren’t always disclosed on applications seeking city approval for projects. These applications can be submitted by attorneys, lobbyists, engineers, or architects working with or on behalf of developers.

With no consistent way to determine the individuals or corporations financing these projects, it would be extremely difficult for campaign finance officials to detect violations of the developer ban.

Oberstein also questioned the necessity for such a policy.

“I’d like to see concrete proof that developer money leads to corruption,” she said, adding that, right now “we just have that perception.”

A 2016 Los Angeles Times investigation found that associates of the developer behind a controversial apartment project opposed by the city’s Planning Commission had contributed more than $40,000 to local officials leading up to the project’s approval.

But recipients of those donations, including Garcetti and several members of the City Council, vehemently deny that the money in any way affected their decisions when considering the project.

Multiple members of the ethics commission suggested that a requirement that city officials recuse themselves when considering development projects proposed by a campaign donor would be more effective than a ban.

Commissioner Shedrick Davis suggested that a recusal rule similar to the one that regulates the votes of Metro board members could be an “intermediate step” while city staffers further evaluate the feasibility of an outright ban.

“There’s obviously some appetite for taking this on, and I don’t want to be accused of shirking that duty,” he said.

Members of the commission also tabled that proposal, deciding instead to revisit the matter at its next meeting in October.

Here’s what $590K buys around LA

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See what that price gets, from the Hollywood Hills to the Valley

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: $590,000.

Front of house
Living room fireplace
BackyardVia Lindsay Katz, Redfin

Here’s a fun little ranch house from the 1950s that sits on a cul de sac in Sun Valley. The 1,564-square-foot home has three bedrooms and three bathrooms, along with an airy living room equipped with a white brick fireplace. Sitting on a 5,997-square-foot lot with a grassy front lawn and a yard and storage shed in the back, the house is asking $595,000.

Living room
Kitchen and dining room
BalconyVia Benyamin Illulian, Keller Williams

This condo in the Hollywood Hills sits directly above the Sunset Strip. It has a single bedroom and a bathroom with 797 square feet of floor space. The open living and dining area opens to a private balcony overlooking the building’s common areas. Shared amenities include a swimming pool, spa, and sauna. Asking price is $589,000, with HOA dues of $640 per month.

Front of house
Living room
Bedroom and hallway
BackyardVia Amber and Juan Huizar, Sage Real Estate

This Long Beach home sits a block from the Virginia Country Club in the city’s Bixby Knolls neighborhood. Featuring three bedrooms and a bathroom, the house has 966 square feet of living space, and has been thoroughly renovated since it last sold earlier this year. Sitting on a 5,229-square-foot lot, the residence has the beginnings of a nice backyard and front lawn (it’s mostly dirt at present), along with a two-car garage. Asking price is $599,000.

Living room
BedroomVia Jennifer Wenzlaff, Redfin

Situated in the northern part of Glendale, this two-bedroom condo has three levels and a roomy 1,328 square feet of floor space. The unit is equipped with a washer and dryer and the kitchen has been recently updated with quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances. The condo comes with two parking spaces and additional storage. Asking price is $595,000, with HOA dues of $265 per month.

Front of house
Living room
BackyardVia Ron Viola, Wish Sotheby’s International

This pleasant little home in Valley Glen has two bedrooms and a bathroom, with 954 square feet of floor space. Interior features include hardwood floors, a brick fireplace, and a sun room that leads out to the enclosed backyard. Sitting on a 6,782-square-foot lot, with patio space and a two-car garage, the home is asking $599,000.

British soft rocker Aqualung selling funky midcentury in Pasadena

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The four-bedroom home has multiple fireplaces.

The 1960s home is asking $1.8 million

This fun and festive midcentury residence in Pasadena was built in 1964 and, while it’s obviously been updated, has a distinctly time-capsule-y feel.

Currently, it belongs to British alternative rocker Matt Hales, otherwise known as Aqualung, and his wife and musical collaborator, Kim Oliver. Property records show the pair bought the home in 2011 for $910,000.

Fronted by a lovely breeze block, the home has a pair of frosted glass doors that open to a large entryway with stone floors and a built-in planter. The family room boasts cork floors, built-in shelving, a stone fireplace, and an ornate sliding screen that divides it from the rest of the house.

The open kitchen has patterned floors and blue countertops; it flows into a breakfast area that offers access to an enormous covered patio via sliding glass door.

The four-bedroom home has three bathrooms and covers 3,174 square feet of floor space. It sits on a roughly half-acre lot with an outdoor fireplace, a grassy backyard, and multiple spaces for outdoor dining and/or lounging.

Asking price is $1.795 million.

Josette Wolf of Pacific Union International has the listing.

Front of house
Living room
Dining room
Covered patio
Grassy backyard

Fresh renderings unveiled for 38-story apartment tower in ever-growing South Park

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Rendering by Kilograph

Move-ins expected in January 2019

A 38-story tower taking shape in Downtown LA’s South Park neighborhood will welcome its first tenants in January. In the meantime, we’re getting a look at how the completed project will look thanks to a couple of fresh renderings.

A leasing site first spotted by Urbanize LA offers a brief glimpse of the AC Martin-designed tower at the northeast corner of 12th Street and Grand Avenue. Called Aven, the building will hold 536 apartments, plus amenities including a gym, sports courts, and a dog park. Along ground-level, Aven will have 13,000 square feet of ground-level retail.

Pricing for Aven is expected to be released in late September, a rep for the project tells Curbed.

Aven is part of a multi-building project that Mack Real Estate Group and AECOM are planning in the area.

The first phase, an apartment complex called Wren, opened in 2017. About a block away from Wren, two residential towers rising 51 and 60 stories are in the works. A 16-story hotel at 12th and Olive streets is also planned.

The towers are adding to an ever-growing South Park skyline. Some of the tallest proposed developments in Los Angeles are in this neighborhood. Just up the block, at 11th and Olive streets, a 70-story tower from developers Crescent Heights is making its way through the city planning process.

Rendering by Kilograph

Metro rolls out new security scanners to detect weapons, prevent ‘mass casualties’

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Officers testing the security devices in a Metro subway station.

The devices detect concealed explosives

As Metro expands its network of high-capacity trains, the transit agency is investing in new technology to prevent attacks on riders.

Metro announced Tuesday that it had purchased devices designed to detect concealed explosives and weapons “intended to cause mass casualties.”

Metro is the first public transit agency in the nation to purchase the scanners (at the cost of about $400,000), which detect body heat and can rapidly identify objects hidden beneath clothing.

Metro spokesperson Dave Sotero tells Curbed that the devices are portable and will be moved from station-to-station depending on security needs. The devices do not emit radiation, won’t display “anatomical details,” and won’t interfere with passengers’ commutes, he says.

Earlier this year, the federal Transportation Security Administration and Amtrak police tested similar technology at New York’s Penn Station. The tests captured the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union, which wrote in March that the scanners “raise serious constitutional questions” about the privacy of passengers.

No large-scale attacks have been carried out on Metro vehicles or in stations, but the agency has recently placed a greater emphasis on security, asking the Los Angeles and Long Beach police departments to join the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Metro’s in-house security team in patrolling trains and buses.

“This new technology will augment our already aggressive safety and security measures and help us proactively deter potential attacks to our system,” said Metro Board Chair Sheila Kuehl.

In 2016 and 2017, bomb scares forced temporary station closures in Universal City and Hollywood. In both cases, law enforcement did not find explosives at the scene.

In an announcement, Metro said the new screening tools have been “tested extensively” by TSA, and will allow law enforcement agents to screen passengers “without disrupting foot traffic.”

 Courtesy Metro
A demonstration of the security device’s scanning capability.

The Fourth Amendment prevents law enforcement from carrying out most searches without a warrant. It is allowed in rare cases, such as when travelers pass through airport security, according to ACLU policy analyst Jay Stanley. But he tells Curbed there are major differences between a train and an airplane.

“You can’t crash a train into a building,” he says.

Terrorists have targeted transit lines in other major cities, but Stanley says a bombing on a train isn’t fundamentally different from an attack in any other crowded place.

“If you’re going to [scan people] at trains and train stations, what public areas are you not going to do?” says Stanley. “We have to ask if we want to live in a society where we’re constantly being scanned.”

Downtown streetcar glides forward with $291M construction budget

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The project received approval to go after some potential funding sources

Plans for a Downtown Los Angeles Streetcar leaped forward this week.

The Los Angeles City Council approved a funding plan Wednesday for the streetcar’s construction—expected to cost $291 million. The plan includes seeking out $100 million in a federal grant and asking Metro to give the project $200 million in Measure M revenue that’s earmarked for the streetcar but isn’t slated to be awarded until 2053.

Whether Metro can deliver the promised funds ahead of schedule could be yet another potential hurdle for the much-delayed project. Agency rules stipulate that funding can be accelerated only if it “does not delay or otherwise negatively impact other projects.”

Councilmember Jose Huizar, whose Downtown district includes the proposed streetcar route, says that including those Measure M funds—but not the federal grant—the project has $590 million in “committed funding” for building, operating, and maintaining the streetcar for 30 years.

The remaining $390 million comes from a variety of sources, including Measure R funds and a tax on Downtown business owners in the area around the streetcar.

“Downtown Los Angeles is in the midst of incredible growth, and we need to do all we can to prepare for that growth and our escalating transportation needs,” Huizar said in a statement last week.

The streetcar has been in the works for years, and was once expected to be complete in 2016. It’s now scheduled to open in 2021.

Are Los Angeles home prices finally about to dip?

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The number of price cuts on LA home listings rose in June, according to a report from Zillow.

Record-high housing costs may be leveling off

Los Angeles home prices may level off in coming months, new reports suggest.

The cost of buying a house in Los Angeles County has never been higher, but a new analysis from Zillow shows that the number of homes on the market with price cuts is slightly up since the beginning of the year.

Sellers slashed prices on 14.1 percent of homes in Los Angeles and Orange counties in June, up from 11.1 percent in January. The median value of those reductions was 2.6 percent of the original listing price.

“It’s far too soon to call this a buyer’s market,” writes Zillow economist Aaron Terraza, describing a national trend. But he notes that the “frenetic pace of the [U.S.] housing market over the past few years may be starting to return toward a more normal trend.”

Eric Sussman, adjunct professor of accounting and real estate at UCLA, agrees.

“I don’t think there’s any question that the housing market is slowing,” he says, adding that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if prices in LA start dropping “in the next few months.”

A separate report from Re/Max finds that homes sold in the LA metro area in July spent around three days longer on the market than in June. That’s in spite of a 5 percent decrease in the number of homes sold during the month and a slight uptick in the number of homes up for sale.

Fewer sales coupled with longer wait times for sellers could eventually cause home prices to level off, or even fall.

That bodes well for LA buyers, who now face median home prices well above $600,000.

If the market cools off in coming months, says Sussman, rising mortgage interest rates will likely be to blame. Since September 2017, interest rates on conventional home loans have shot up nearly a full percentage point.

To put that in perspective, the monthly mortgage payment on a $600,000 home—close to the median in LA County—is now more than $200 above what it was less than a year ago, according to Zillow’s mortgage calculator.

That estimate assumes a 20 percent down payment. If buyers pay less money up front when obtaining a loan, as is common in pricy markets like Los Angeles, monthly payments—as well as the interest rates on those loans—will be even higher.

Sussman says these costs might eventually force buyers on a budget to abandon their home searches.

“At some point you just hit a wall,” he says.

Renting might also become more appealing than buying, Sussman says.

While the costs of buying a house are soaring, rental prices in LA have stagnated. And though Los Angeles is still woefully short on affordable housing, developers have constructed tens of thousands of market rate units in recent years—apartments that appeal to many of the middle-to-high-income residents who may be considering buying a home.

A larger economic downturn could also drive down home prices. Economic analysts have been forecasting a looming recession for the past few years, though most agree it will be significantly milder than the Great Recession.

Sussman suggests that home prices could drop between 5 and 10 percent during a recession. That would be a silver lining for prospective buyers—but not much of one.

“That’s really not going to move the needle for most people,” he says.

Construction starts on 20-story Miracle Mile apartment tower near LACMA

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The MVE+Partners-designed tower would rise 20 stories.

The apartments will be close to museums and a future subway station

A soaring apartment complex with 285 apartments is now underway near LACMA.

Developer JH Snyder announced Wednesday that construction has begun on the Residences at Wilshire Curson, a 20-story high-rise next door to Miracle Mile’s SAG-AFTRA Plaza (formerly Museum Square).

The building, designed by MVE+Partners, will hold studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. Residents will have access to a rooftop bar, lounge, and pool. Also among the amenities: a gym, lounges, and two floors of underground parking.

The new tower will also bring a new courtyard to the plaza, with a new water feature, landscaping, and and outdoor seating area.

The project, which replaces a parking lot, was initially planned as a 12-story office tower.

The Wilshire Curson apartments are expected to open in late 2020. Their Miracle Mile location will offer a view of the museum as well as the under-construction Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and its big glass dome.

The apartments will also be within a short walk of the future Wilshire/Fairfax stop on the Purple Line extension when it opens in 2023.

In Inglewood, Frank Gehry says his design for LA Philharmonic youth orchestra won’t be ‘precious’

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An exterior view of the Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood.

The architect is converting a 1960s bank building

An old bank building in Inglewood will get the Frank Gehry treatment—but it won’t be “precious,” the architect says.

Gehry is designing the building’s conversion into the new home of the LA Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, a free music education program that serves nearly 1,000 students across LA.

“It’s about creating culture within the community,” Gehry said Wednesday, as the design was unveiled to reporters.

Gehry famously designed the LA Philharmonic’s home base, the Disney Concert Hall in Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles. It opened in 2003, quickly becoming one of the most recognizable and iconic buildings in Los Angeles.

LA Phil conductor Gustavo Dudamel said that while the youth orchestra’s new home may not be flashy, it will be a top-quality facility for its purpose—music.

“This project is a message to the world,” he said. “It signifies dignity to our youth.”

The 18,000-square-foot former bank will be expanded and improved to become the 25,000-square-foot Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood. The $14.5 million center will hold a performance space, studios, music library, instrument storage, and rehearsal spaces.

The edifice, built in 1965, will retain much of its exterior. The existing glass, brick, metal, and tile will be reused in the new design. After the renovation, passersby will be able to peek into the space and the performance area.

A new, all-glass rooftop “pop-up” along LaBrea Avenue will bring in natural light. Interior finishes will be simple and durable to accommodate as many as 500 students in the program.

The building was never intended to be a concert hall, so it had its limitations, Gehry said. Major alterations to the building will be made to improve the way sound moves through it.

Gehry said the ceiling had to be raised and the floor dropped—at a “reasonable cost”—to get the ceiling height to 45 feet tall, which is ideal for the acoustics. (Nagata Acoustics, the company responsible for the acoustics at the Disney Concert Hall, will also work on this space.)

The convertible performance space could be set up to host concerts in one large space or in a way that creates two separate rehearsal spaces.

LA Phil chief executive officer Simon Woods said the refurbished structure would be “the beginning of what we hope will be a long and fruitful relationship” with Inglewood residents.

The benefits of this new space could potentially go beyond the youth orchestra.

YOLA is largely an after-school program, which creates the opportunity for the new music center building to be used in the day for other community uses, Woods said.

During construction over the next two years, LA Phil will work with residents to figure out how to use the building as a “community asset.”

Construction on the YOLA Center in Inglewood is slated to start in the spring.

Elon Musk pitches high-speed line to Dodger Stadium

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Called the “Dugout Loop”

First an aerial tram, now an underground, high-speed transit line—that’s the latest proposal for a creative new way to get to Dodger Stadium, and it comes from Elon Musk.

The entrepreneur’s Hawthorne-based company, the Boring Company, announced this evening that it wants to build a subway-like line from Los Feliz or East Hollywood that would ferry Dodger fans to the ballpark in about 4 minutes and at the cost of about $1.

It’s unclear whether the company has already submitted plans for the project to the city, but Mayor Eric Garcetti quickly published a Tweet welcoming the idea.

“It’s always exciting to see innovative ideas like the proposed Dugout Loop to Dodgers Stadium that could help ease congestion on our roads and make our most iconic destinations more accessible to everyone,” he wrote.

It’s an ambitious proposal but if ultimately built, the “Dugout Loop” would provide Angelenos with the quickest route to the stadium, which is nestled above the city in a ravine, making it somewhat difficult to access.

The company plans to use its “loop” machines and technology to build the line. The concept involves transporting passengers in electric-powered, autonomous pods (what the company calls “skates”) that zip through underground tunnels at speeds of 125 to 150 miles per hour.

The “skates” would carry between eight and 16 passengers (far fewer than a subway car) and would be lowered underground from street-level docking stations called “Loop lifts.”

The system is being tested right now in Hawthorne, and Musk has proposed a large Loop network that would run beneath a wide swath of Los Angeles. A stop at Dodger Stadium was already planned as part of that system.


For the Dodger Stadium project, the company proposes a single underground tunnel with an eastern terminus at the stadium’s parking lot and a western terminus near one of three Metro Red Line stations, either Vermont Avenue and Sunset in Los Feliz, Vermont and Santa Monica Boulevard in East Hollywood, or Vermont and Beverly Boulevard on the border of Rampart Village.

In a statement, the Dodgers’ owners said they support the proposal.

“We were excited when the Boring Company came to us with this project. Whether it is flying overhead in an aerial transit system or bypassing traffic through an underground tunnel, we are always looking for innovative ways to make it easier for Dodgers fans to get to a game,” said CFO Tucker Kain.

Fashion District project with 379 apartments and retail gets OK from City Council

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Renderings courtesy MVE + Partners.

It could begin work next year

The Los Angeles City Council today unanimously approved an eight-story building proposed for the Fashion District.

The project at 11th and Main streets would bring 379 apartments (including 42 moderate-income units) and roughly 26,000 square feet of retail and office space on the ground floor.

The building, designed by MVE+Partners, would have long balconies and a public central plaza, which would host outdoor dining.

Developed by an LLC with connections to Jade Enterprises, 1100 South Main has been in the works since 2016.

The project’s previously announced timeline anticipated construction beginning in 2019, with completion slated for 2021.

The Fashion District is growing. A planned redevelopment of the Southern California Flower Market would add a 15-story building to the complex (the flower market would continue to operate). The 10-acre City Market project, which would bring a hotel, offices and manufacturing space, and nearly 1,000 apartments, received city council approval in June.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly identified the moderate income units as very low income units. They are not.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation sues LA over Parker Center demolition

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The AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced the lawsuit in front of Parker Center Wednesday.

The nonprofit says the building should be turned into homeless housing

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is suing the city of Los Angeles over its plans to demolish Downtown LA’s Parker Center and replace it with an office tower for city employees.

The organization’s president, Michael Weinstein, called the project a “flagrant waste of money” Wednesday, and argued that the city should instead convert the historic structure into housing for homeless residents.

City officials “complain all day long about NIMBYs,” said Weinstein, “when it’s they who don’t want affordable housing in their backyards.”

Demolition on the structure is scheduled to begin August 20, according to the Bureau of Engineering, though AHF officials complained Wednesday that preliminary work appears to have begun in the building’s lobby.

Liza Brereton, an attorney representing AHF in the lawsuit, tells Curbed that the foundation will likely seek a preliminary injunction halting any demolition work while the case is being decided.

It’s the latest development in a complicated saga to determine the building’s fate.

Constructed in 1955 and designed by architect Welton Becket, Parker Center served as the longtime headquarters for the Los Angeles Police Department, but has been sitting empty since 2013.

Preservationists twice attempted to landmark the building, which is famous for its minimalist, modern appearance and many cameos in films and television shows. Those efforts failed, in part, because of the building’s ties to discriminatory policing tactics, as well as an eminent domain seizure that decimated a large chunk of Little Tokyo in the early 1950s.

“To call this building a masterpiece specimen of midcentury architecture,” said Councilmember Jose Huizar in 2017, “and to retain its landmark status with the Parker name is to further the revisionist history that dismisses the injustices done to many communities, including Little Tokyo.”

Later that year, the Los Angeles City Council moved forward with plans to raze the structure and build a 27-story tower in its place. The cost of that project was initially estimated at just under $500 million, but has since ballooned to over $700 million, according to a May report from city staff.

Parker Center lobbyPhoto by Elijah Chiland
The Parker Center’s lobby, where demolition is scheduled to begin August 20.

AHF and the Coalition to Preserve LA announced plans for a ballot measure earlier this year that would allow the building to be converted to supportive housing for homeless residents. The structure would also be renamed in honor of former mayor Tom Bradley.

The foundation claims this could be done at a cost of $102 million, but an analysis from the city’s Bureau of Engineering pegs the price tag at $295 million.

Cost isn’t the only concern. Anna Bahr, a spokesperson for Mayor Eric Garcetti tells Curbed that Parker Center is “seismically unsafe and contaminated with asbestos.” Bahr says the city is “focused on investing in new shelters and housing for homeless Angelenos that can be constructed quickly, cost-efficiently, and that will help our low-income and homeless neighbors without threatening their health.”

Weinstein told reporters Wednesday that concerns about asbestos and the seismic safety of the building could be addressed as part of a redevelopment project.

The Los Angeles Conservancy undertook its own analysis of how much it would cost to preserve the building as offices, and found that this option would be $50 million cheaper than the city’s initial estimate for new construction.

The conservancy has more or less conceded defeat in its attempts to save the building, writing on its website that Parker Center has “fallen victim to a flawed and politicized process, as well as the challenges of preserving places with difficult histories.”

But the battle over the building’s future rages on.

If successful, the lawsuit announced Wednesday would prevent the city from constructing the new office tower, but would do nothing to ensure that the plan to use Parker Center for housing moves forward.

State law allows residents or corporations operating within a city to sue over an “illegal expenditure” or simply a “waste” of local funds. Attorneys for AHF argue that LA’s plans for the Parker Center site are “wasteful, unnecessary, useless, and provide no public benefit.”

Weinstein says that he met with Mayor Eric Garcetti about the possibility of converting Parker Center into supportive housing after efforts to landmark the building failed.

The foundation has recently taken on multiple affordable housing projects, including a single-room occupancy building on Skid Row and a Hollywood motel that the nonprofit plans to convert into low-income housing.

Weinstein says the foundation is focused on redeveloping unused sites, rather than building new housing from the ground up. He says that Parker Center is a perfect example of a structure that could quickly be put to new use.

“It will be a terrible travesty if they knock this building down,” he said Wednesday.

What $1,850 rents in LA right now

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Apartments from Echo Park to Westchester

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, $1,850. Vote for your favorite below.

 Via Zillow

Right on Adams Boulevard in Adams-Normandie, this one-bedroom apartment features arched windows, a renovated kitchen with granite counters, and an updated bathroom. The 735-square-foot apartment also offers off-street and gated parking. It rents for $1,795.

 Via Zillow

This Echo Park one-bedroom sits atop a steep street north of Sunset Boulevard. The first-floor unit has a compact kitchen, a spacious bedroom with ceiling fan, and wood floors throughout. The apartment also comes with parking. It rents for $1,750.

 Via Zillow

Over in Westchester, today’s price can get you into a two-bedroom apartment under rent control. Located near La Tijera and La Cienega, the 800-square-foot apartment sits in a triplex, and it holds wood floors, granite counters, in-unit laundry machines, and a one-car garage. It rents for $1,895.

 Via Zillow

Just off Robertson Boulevard, this Mid-City one-bedroom sits in a complex with assigned parking and a pool. The apartment comes with wood floors, new appliances, an updated wall-mounted air conditioner, and a dishwasher. It rents for $1,850.

 Via Zillow

This transit-friendly North Hollywood apartment is just a couple of blocks north of the Orange Line busway and the Red Line’s North Hollywood station. The one-bedroom has been renovated from top to bottom, with sleek counters, stainless steel kitchen appliances, and on-site laundry. It rents for $1,795.

Metro rolls out new security scanners to detect weapons, prevent ‘mass casulties’

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Officers testing the security devices in a Metro subway station.

The devices detect concealed explosives

As Metro expands its network of high-capacity trains, the transit agency is investing in new technology to prevent attacks on riders.

On Tuesday, Metro announced that it had purchased devices designed to detect concealed explosives and weapons “intended to cause mass casualties.”

Metro spokesperson Dave Sotero tells Curbed that the devices are portable and will be moved from station-to-station depending on security needs. He says the devices will be “unobtrusive,” and won’t interfere with passengers’ commutes.

No large-scale attacks have been carried out on Metro vehicles or in stations, but the agency has recently placed a greater emphasis on security, asking the Los Angeles and Long Beach police departments to join the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Metro’s in-house security team in patrolling trains and buses.

“This new technology will augment our already aggressive safety and security measures and help us proactively deter potential attacks to our system,” said Metro Board Chair Sheila Kuehl.

In 2016 and 2017, bomb scares forced temporary station closures in Universal City and Hollywood. In both cases, law enforcement did not find explosives at the scene.

In an announcement, Metro said the new screening tools have been “tested extensively” by the federal Transportation Security Administration, and will allow law enforcement agents to screen passengers “without disrupting foot traffic.”

 Courtesy Metro
A demonstration of the security device’s scanning capability.

The devices do not emit radiation and won’t display “anatomical details” when passengers are screened, according to Metro.

So far, the agency has spent just over $400,000 on the security tools, which cost around $100,000 each.

Port of LA looking to add ‘thriving’ new commercial development on 12 waterfront acres

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It’s the latest in a wave of changes at the port

The rapidly changing Port of Los Angeles is looking to transform 12 waterfront acres with “thriving” new commercial development at Cabrillo Way Marina.

The port’s commercial real estate arm put out a prospectus last week outlining the commercial development opportunity, which includes the marina itself and adjoining properties. It’s searching for firm to lease, operate, and build on the marina, which was upgraded in 2011.

Michael Galvin, the port’s director of waterfront and commercial real estate, says redevelopment could include “larger-scale” projects with retail, dining, and entertainment. Ideally, he says, the project would be unique enough to “become a visitor draw in itself.”

But the prospectus says port officials are “open to a variety of commercial development concepts.”

The marina project is just one of many that the port has in the works right now.

 Courtesy of Rapt Studio
A rendering of the San Pedro Public Market.

Just north of the marina site, work is underway now to replace the Ports O’ Call Village with a new Fisherman’s Wharf-style development called San Pedro Public Market. The port is also seeking to redevelop Warehouse 1, a historic, 101-year-old warehouse. And SpaceX recently signed a lease that allows it to build its interplanetary rockets at the port.

Galvin says additional development opportunities at the port will come to market in the next year.

A formal request for qualifications and proposals for the Cabrillo Way Marina site is expected to launch this fall.

Here’s what $950K buys around LA

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From Santa Monica to South Pasadena

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: $950,000.

Front of house
Dining room
Back patioVia Tara Del Bosco, Sothebys International Realty

We’ll start with a South Pasadena home that dates to 1902. Featuring two bedrooms and two bathrooms, the 1,422-square-foot residence boasts hardwood floors and an updated kitchen equipped with a vintage stove and a farmhouse sink. The home sits on a small 3,486-square-foot lot, but opens to an enclosed backyard with a brick patio and room for a garden. Asking price is $949,000.

House with wall in front
Living room
Back gardenVia Katrina Webb, Pacific Union International

This homey Spanish bungalow in Fairfax was built in 1926 and retains hardwood floors, tile countertops, original wall niches, a (decorative) living room fireplace, and Spanish tile floors in the kitchen. The house has 909 square feet of living space, with two bedrooms and a bathroom. It sits on a tiny 1,791-square-foot lot, but includes a pleasant patio space with room for seating and a garden. Asking price is $948,000.

Front of house
Living room
Back deckVia Ron Tanzman, Rodeo Realty

This two-bedroom house in the Hollywood Hills was built in 1933, but has recently been redone, with new floors, windows, and appliances. The 1,150-square-foot house has two levels and sits on a 7,049-square-foot lot. There are multiple decks, including one that tops the two-car garage and offers some nice views across the hills. Asking price is $949,900.

Living room
BedroomVia Sabine Pleissner, Compass

Here’s a condo in Santa Monica, located just off Montana Avenue. It’s got two bedrooms and two bathrooms, with 1,086 square feet of floor space to work with. The open living room flows into the kitchen, which has stainless steel appliances and a long island. A sliding door opens out to a small private balcony. Asking price is $949,000, with HOA dues of $296 per month.

Front of house
Living room
Sun room
BackyardVia Jill Suarez. Dilbeck Real Estate

This handsome 1950s home in Glendale has some dated elements, but offers plenty of vintage charm, with hardwood floors, wood-paneled walls, a brick fireplace in the living room, and an enclosed patio in the back. The house has three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, with 2,072 square feet of floor space. It sits on a 6,155-square-foot lot with a grassy front lawn and a small bit of yard and garden space in the back. Asking price is $959,000.

Cozy Spanish-style with stellar views asks $729K in Mount Washington

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The house sits on more than half an acre of land.

The two-bedroom home is surrounded by tall trees and gardens

This hillside home in Mount Washington looks like a perfectly pleasant retreat, nestled among tall trees and terraced gardens.

Built in 1933, the Spanish-style residence has just 945 square feet of living space, but it sits on more than half an acre of land, with steps leading down to the property from the street above.

Featuring two bedrooms and one and a half bathrooms, the house has airy interiors, with an updated kitchen that leads into a breakfast nook. The living room is equipped with a fireplace and opens to a covered back deck with excellent views and room for outdoor seating.

The house comes with an additional structure that could be used for storage or as an office or den. Pathways and patios line the property, and there’s a fire pit and horseshoe stakes already set up.

Asking price is $729,000.

Living room
Breakfast nook
Bedroom 1
Back deck
Outdoor furniture
Patio chairs

Groovy 60s modern by Bill Mack in Brentwood asking $4.5M

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Built in 1962 with a later expansion by architect/surfboard designer Matt Kivlin

Increasingly popular with Hollywood power-players thanks to its secluded, rural nature, Brentwood’s Mandeville Canyon is also a bastion of noteworthy architecture.

Within the bucolic Westside enclave are homes by such illustrious practitioners as Pierre Koenig, Cliff May, Gerard Colcord, Allen Siple, and Bill Mack, who designed this striking residence on Old Orchard Road that’s just hit the market.

Per the listing, the 1962 modern was later expanded by prolific local architect/surfboard designer Matt Kivlin.

Measuring 3,920 square feet, the woodsy home features four bedrooms, five baths, lofty beamed ceilings, two brick fireplaces, and a plethora of built-ins. Walls of glass, skylights, and multiple decks help blur the line between indoors and out, while the property’s .8-acre grounds contain a swimming pool and a chicken coop.

Last sold for $2.427 million in 2007, it’s now asking $4.5 million.

HGTV paid $1.6M above asking price for the Brady Bunch House

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The home’s exterior appeared in nearly every single episode of The Brady Bunch

Will the Brady Bunch House return to the small screen? The famous home has sold to make-over powerhouse HGTV—which plans to “restore it to its 1970s glory.”

The deal closed Friday, with the network shelling out top dollar for the Studio City residence. Property records show HGTV paid $3.5 million for the home—nearly double its $1.89 million asking price.

David Zaslav, CEO of HGTV’s parent company Discovery, announced the deal to investors on a conference call early Tuesday morning.

“I am excited to share that HGTV is the winning bidder,” he said. “More detail to come over the next few months, but we’ll bring all the resources to bear to tell safe, fun stories about this beloved piece of American TV history.”

Zaslav did not disclose further plans for the property—or how much shiplap they’ll put in.

The buyer had remained somewhat of a mystery over the past couple of days after NSYNC’s Lance Bass announced on social media that he put in an offer—only to be outbid by a Hollywood studio.

He said his offer was “way over the asking price.” But, he lamented, “How can I compete with a billion dollar corporate entity?”

After finding out the identity of the buyer, Bass changed his tune.

“HGTV??!” he tweeted earlier this week. “I’d be pretty upset if it were anyone else, but how can you be mad at HGTV?? My television is stuck on that channel.”

Built in 1959, the exterior of the pink ranch-style home appeared in every episode of the Brady Bunch except the first. (All interior scenes were shot on a Paramount Studios soundstage.)

The house appeared on the market in July for the first time since 1973.

7 cozy cabins for rent in the LA mountains

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For when you want starry skies and knotty pine

Summer and autumn, when the Los Angeles basin swelters, are the ideal seasons for a mountain getaway, no chains required.

If you’re pining for starry skies, solitude, hiking trails, and relief from the heat, you’ll find plenty of vacation rentals in elevations high above Los Angeles. Below, we’ve rounded up our favorite picks in Big Bear, Idyllwild, and Lake Arrowhead—three quaint destinations all within a two-hour drive of Downtown LA.

For more local travel inspiration, check out our map of charming small towns around Southern California and our guide to the desert.

 Via Airbnb

This sweet little A-frame in Lake Arrowhead is a quintessential cabin, without too much kitsch. The interior has vintage charm: an old turquoise oven, knotty pine, and exposed brick. But the decor skews midcentury, keeping it fresh. It holds two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a deck with a jacuzzi. It rents for $173 per night on weekends.

 Via Airbnb

If you want to sip pina coladas on your mountain respite, this is the place for you. The studio cabin in Idyllwild includes access to a funky but fun “tiki hut treehouse” and bar. But that’s not even the wildest detail. The cabin and lodge sit on the same property as the David Cabin—the first project built by starchitect Frank Gehry. The nightly rental rate: $110.

 Via Airbnb

The location here is just as ideal as the cabin itself. Per the listing, the Idyllwild residence sits on an acre of land—with a seasonal stream—and is walking distance to town. Built in the 1960s, the darling A-frame features a “fun spiral staircase,” wood oven, and jacuzzi. The nighty rate is $229.

 Via Airbnb

The owners of this 1870s cabin in Big Bear claim it’s the oldest wooden building in Southern California. Even if it’s not, the two-bedroom with a shingled exterior retains the look of a vintage homestead. Inside, there’s a typewriter, 1930s oven, clawfoot tub, and “a hand-built stone hearth.” It rents for $135 a night.

 Via Airbnb

“A completely unique architectural wonder,” this handsome cabin in Idyllwild is perched atop boulders and boasts dazzling nighttime views of city lights. The one-bedroom, one-bathroom minimalist residence features soaring ceilings, a “protruding granite wall,” fireplace, “hand-built lighting,” and hot tub. It rents for $159 per night.

 Via Airbnb

“This isn’t your Aunt Sally’s stuffy cabin,” the listing copy says. Agreed. It’s more like your hipster brother Chet-with-a-mustache’s retro-inspired cabin. The two-bedroom home in Big Bear is filled with midcentury modern-inspired furniture and a stone fireplace. Plus, it provides super easy access to to a couple of different forest trails. The nightly rate? $140.


Floor-to-ceiling windows flood this stylish and spacious remodeled cabin in Idyllwild with light and provide “an intimate connection to the outdoors.” The Idyllwild pad holds three bedrooms and features a hot tub on a wraparound deck. The cost to rent is $375 per night.

Watch: An Old Cabin Becomes A Family Getaway

Rent a 110-year-old Pasadena Craftsman for $4,500 per month

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The house has a large front porch and a landscaped lawn.

The stately home has hardwood floors and vintage light fixtures

Here’s a leasing opportunity you don’t see every day. This very handsome Pasadena Craftsman sits right alongside the Arroyo Seco, near the newly christened John Van de Kamp Bridge, and it’s now looking for a renter.

Built in 1908, the three-bedroom home boasts hardwood floors, beamed ceilings, lovely French doors and casement windows, antique light fixtures, and a sturdy brick fireplace in the living room. Featuring 1,757 square feet of living space, it includes two bathrooms, a formal dining room, a laundry room, a living room, and a separate study.

The master bedroom opens directly out to an enclosed backyard with multiple patios and space for a garden. In front of the house is a huge porch shaded by a pergola overhead. A long driveway leads to a detached garage in the back.

The house sits on a 6,404-square-foot lot and is being offered fully furnished with an asking rent of $4,500 per month.

Living room
Living room leading out to porch
Dining room
Bedroom with door to backyard

Car-free, pedestrian-only street coming to ‘downtown’ Playa Vista

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A planned makeover of Runway at Playa Vista’s main street would turn the space into a car-free one.

The changes could be complete early next year

The mixed-use Runway at Playa Vista was planned to be a kind of downtown for master-planned neighborhood Playa Vista. Now, it’s about to get more walkable.

Runway’s owners, Invesco Real Estate, and management DJM announced today that car space will be taken away from a portion of that unofficial downtown to create a street dedicated solely to people on foot.

They have hired Los Angeles-based firm Design, Bitches to give the development a refresh that will include closing a central street, Millennium Drive, to car traffic.

The plan also includes lots of outdoor seating, new common area amenities, scaling back on advertising panels, adding landscaping, and “aesthetic” upgrades, with the overall goal of transforming Runway “from a ‘vehicle-dominated’ environment to a ‘pedestrian-dominated’ landscape.”

The $9.1-million makeover is expected to be complete in early 2019.

The change is exciting, but it’s probably not the start of a sea change. Playa Vista is not exactly a transit-friendly neighborhood; don’t count residents abandoning their cars anytime soon.

Jazz Age hotel in Westlake gets a posh makeover

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The lobby area of the renovated Mayfair Hotel

Nightly rates will start at $185

Westlake’s Mayfair Hotel is readying for its August 17 opening, and we’re getting a sneak peek at the plush lobby, bars, and common areas.

In those spaces, grey velvet sofas, light marble accents, and striking charcoal columns give a stately but fun vibe, while rows of skylights in soaring ceilings keep the rooms from looking to dark or stuffy.

The Beaux Arts-style building dates to the Jazz Age. It opened in 1926 and hosted the first Academy Awards after-party three years later. It had not been updated since the early 1980s.

Hotel owners ICO Development and architect and designer Gulla Jonsdottir, who also designed West Hollywood’s La Peer Hotel, led the Mayfair’s multi-million-dollar, “top-to-bottom” renovations.

It’s the latest in a string of stylish boutique hotels to open in old buildings, including the Freehand and NoMad in nearby Downtown Los Angeles. Soon, the Hoxton will open its doors just down the street from Ace Hotel on Broadway.

The Mayfair will bring new food and drink options to the Westlake neighborhood. It also holds a ballroom with exposed brick walls (the location of the 1929 Academy Awards after-party), a podcast studio, and a functioning art gallery, with curated local art that guests and visitors can purchase.

An outdoor swimming pool, located on the third floor of the building, and the hotel’s gym are the only parts of the hotel still under construction—and they’re set to open later this year.

Guest rooms include one- and two-bedroom accommodations, as well as suites, penthouses, and “loft” bedrooms, which have queen-size Murphy beds. Nightly rates for standard rooms will run between $185 and $279.

Family on rent strike in Westlake is evicted after not paying rent

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Members of Burlington Unidos protest in front of their Westlake apartments on July 20 as part of an ongoing rent strike.

“We regret having to take this action, but the tenant in this unit failed to pay rent for seven months”

A family of five participating in the Burlington Unidos rent strike in Westlake was evicted Wednesday after a jury ruled they violated their lease by refusing to pay rent.

Landlord Donald Crasnick and building owner Lisa Ehrlich filed a petition in Los Angeles Superior Court in March asking for an order to remove the tenants after they refused to pay rent increases. The family stopped paying rent, because they say they were living in substandard conditions.

“We regret having to take this action, but the tenant in this unit failed to pay rent for seven months,” said Robert Thaler, a spokesperson for property management company FML Management Co., in its first press release since the Burlington Unidos went on the media offensive.

A notice given to other tenants in the building immediately after Wednesday’s eviction says property managers would continue to enforce “eviction proceedings against the others refusing to pay rent,” but did not give a specific timeline.

In contrast to eviction notices, some tenants have been awarded rent reductions and repair orders by the court, according to the tenants’ attorney Elena Popp. That’s given other tenants hope, she says.

Tenants, who say they’ve been hit with price increases of $250 or more, are demanding the right to collectively bargain a new lease agreement.

In July, they accepted an offer from Ehrlich that would have increased rents by 7 percent, followed by another 7 percent in October. But negotiations fell through when tenants asked for families who had lost their cases in court be allowed to stay in their apartments.

“A number of false and misleading claims have been made by non-rent paying tenants about the condition of the building,” said Thaler in a statement. “The vast majority of residents are very pleased with the apartment buildings, their quality, upkeep and safety.

He says rents at Burlington had not been increased since 2008, and remained below market rate even after the recent increases.

“We are concerned that some of the 80 tenants who have been refusing to pay rent are getting bad and misleading advice from ‘tenant activists,’ who don’t understand rental contracts and property laws,” the statement says.

LA Tenants Union organizer Trinidad Ruiz said the evicted family will stay with other residents until the legal debacle is over.

“The only thing [Ehrlich] has succeeded in doing with this eviction is to reinforce a sense of indignation about how they’ve been treated over the past 15 to 20 years,” he said. “All of the buildings lack repairs, the sewage and the endless problems have culminated to this point and tenants are angry. They’re not scared anymore.”

For $999K, Eagle Rock home boasts treetop views from a cheery sunroom

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Located on nearly half an acre

Built in 1951, this traditional Eagle Rock home looks modest. But looks can be deceiving: It sits on a plot of land that’s exceptionally large at .44 acres.

The terraced property contains a bright, two-bedroom home that spans 2,084 square feet. It comes with a studio with its own entrance, bathroom, and kitchenette. There are an additional two bathrooms, including one in the master suite, plus a den that connects to a cherry sunroom with treetop views.

The yard holds raised beds for gardening and is “dotted with fruit trees and mature landscaping.”

Located just above busy Colorado Boulevard, up the street from Target, the property is listed for $999,000. It last sold in four years ago for $665,000.

How serious is Mayor Eric Garcetti about reinforcing sleeping on sidewalks ban?

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That clarifies earlier statements he made

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday clarified his position on reinforcing the city’s ban on sleeping overnight on sidewalks, a 50-year-old law targeting homeless residents and homeless encampments.

“I have no plans to do that anytime soon,” he told reporters, stepping back a bit from earlier comments he made to the Los Angeles Times.

Last month, he told the newspaper’s editorial board that the law was “a tool that we have before us, that we can and will use.”

The ban—which a federal appeals court once deemed “cruel and unusual”—hasn’t been enforced since 2007 as part of a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union. That year, the City Council agreed to allow sleeping on the sidewalks from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. until it built 1,250 units of low-cost housing, according to the New York Times.

The mayor said Wednesday that the city has the “legal authority” to begin reinforcing the ban, because it has met the requirements of the settlement.

If the city does decide to reinforce the ban, he said, it would “only be around areas where the city has built shelters.”

Garcetti used a soon-to-open shelter on a city-owned parking lot in Downtown LA’s El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument as an example. That shelter will house 45 homeless residents in trailers and will be a “bridge” toward permanent supportive housing.

“I think that if we say, ‘Okay this is available for all of you… and there’s still people who refuse to [move in], then enforce the sidewalks around those two blocks,” he said. “But the idea that police are going to start going to sidewalks right now and say, ‘move along,’ as a policy, that would not help us at all.”

Authorities are scrambling to put an end to LA’s homeless crisis. The El Pueblo project is just one of more than a dozen proposed emergency shelters proposed across the city.

There are more than 31,000 homeless residents living in the city of Los Angeles, and 6,473 people live in tents and makeshift shelters, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. An additional 8,980 people live in cars, vans, and campers; the city has rules against that too.

With the Super Bowl, Olympics, and maybe the World Cup coming to Los Angeles, homeless advocates fear the city may ramp up policing of the homeless to clean up the streets—instead of focusing on longterm solutions.

Garcetti acknowledged that Wednesday, saying: “Criminalizing homelessness or petty infractions doesn’t do a lot to solve homelessness.”

Correction: An earlier version incorrectly reported the date of the settlement with the ACLU. It was 2007, not 2013.

What $2,100 rents you in LA right now

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Apartments in San Pedro, Los Feliz, Glendale, and more

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

 Via Zillow

We begin in San Pedro with this spacious two-bedroom, two-bathroom 1920s-era unit. Within its 1,200 square feet, there are wood built-ins, tiled bathrooms, original hardwood floors, and sparkling stainless steel kitchen appliances. Best of all, this apartment offers a promising escape from this infernal heat: It’s less than a block from the ocean and a short walk to Cabrillo Beach. It rents for $2,195.

 Via Zillow

Over in the Rampart Village area of Westlake, just north of Lafayette Park, this one-bedroom condo has clearly been remodeled and upgraded. The seventh-floor unit features “newer” granite counters and dual-paned windows, a tile backsplash, and gleaming wood floors. Central air conditioning and parking are also included. It rents for $2,100.

 Via Zillow

This Los Feliz one-bedroom is vintage on the outside, modern on the inside. The 650-square-foot space has wood kitchen counters and new appliances (including a dishwasher) and, according to the listing, it gets great sunlight. Located a block east of the bustling strip of Vermont just south of Franklin, this apartment rents for $2,150.

 Via Zillow

North of the LA River, this two-bedroom Glendale apartment is close to the 5 Freeway and Griffith Park. The apartment holds newer appliances, laminate wood floors, and a compact kitchen. The complex also has a pool and parking. It rents for $2,095.

 Via Zillow

In centrally located Mid-Wilshire, this midcentury one-bedroom apartment comes with a sweet blue and yellow bathroom, good natural light, hardwood floors, carport parking. It rents for $2,150.

What $399K buys around LA

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We’ve got five condos to choose from

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 condos within $10,000 of today’s price: $395,000.

Exterior of building
BackyardVia Alin Glogovicean | Redfin

Here’s a one-bedroom unit in a smaller 1950s complex in Franklin Village. The condo has 590 square feet of floor space, with an updated kitchen and a single bathroom. It also boasts hardwood floors, freshly installed windows, and a wall of closet space in the bedroom. Out back is a shared patio and barbecue area, and the unit comes with a spot in the parking garage. Asking price is $399,000, with HOA dues of $290 per month.

Front of building
Front entrance
BalconyStephanie Vitacco, Keller Williams

This Studio City condo is part of a charming courtyard complex built in 1955. The unit has a single bedroom and a tiled bathroom, with 701 square feet of floor space. There’s also a private patio and a covered parking space. Asking price is $395,000, with HOA dues of $342 per month.

Living room
Swimming poolVia Wing Ng, Re/Max

Looking for a little more space? This unit in El Sereno has three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, along with an open living and dining area and in-unit washer and dryer. The 1,193-square-foot condo also comes with access to shared amenities that include a pool, spa, and barbecue area. Asking price is $399,800, with HOA dues of $569 per month.

Front of building
Living room
Central courtyardVia Sam Solaimani, Coldwell Banker

This condo is located in a complex at the north end of Koreatown, just a few blocks from the Wilshire/Normandie subway station. The 580-square-foot unit has one bedroom and one bathroom, with a wooden balcony overlooking the building’s lush landscaping features. Shared amenities include a pool, spa, sauna, and a parking garage. Asking price is $399,000, with HOA dues of $290 per month.

Front of building
Living room
BedroomVia Gary Krill, Keller Williams

This San Pedro condo offers 1,156 square feet of floor space, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The airy living room has a brick fireplace, and there’s a full wet bar off to the side of the dining area. Other features include an in-unit washer and dryer and a recently updated HVAC system. Equipped with two parking spaces, the unit is asking $399,900. HOA dues are $280 per month.

Two-bedroom condo in Leland Bryant’s elegant Granville Towers seeks $815K

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Hollywood history and views of the hills

Want to live in a building that evokes Old Hollywood glamour? Here’s a bright two-bedroom condo in the landmark Granville Towers, once home to Marilyn Monroe, Rock Hudson, and Nora Ephron.

Designed by Leland Bryant, the architect responsible for many of LA’s most elegant French Chateauesque-style style buildings, Granville Tower opened in 1930 and sits on a tree-lined street just south of the Sunset Strip, near Chateau Marmont.

The unit up for grabs now measures 1,146 square feet and offers views of the Hollywood Hills. It holds one bathroom, a formal dining room, an updated kitchen, and a walk-in closet in the master bedroom. (The second bedroom is set up as a den, but the listing says it could “easily be converted back.”)

Per the listing, the building comes with 24/7 concierge, a doorman, and “immaculate grounds and lush gardens.”

The asking price? $815,000, with sky-high HOA dues of $1,110 per month. It is, however, eligible for Mills Act historic property tax breaks.

Costa Hawkins, California’s rent control law, explained

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A ballot initiative could give tenant advocates another shot at repealing the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

The law limits rent control in cities such as Los Angeles

Supporters of a state ballot initiative to expand rent control options for cities across California announced Monday they had gathered enough signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2018 ballot.

If passed, the measure would repeal the 1995 Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which sets limits on the kind of rent control policies cities are able to impose. Right now, 15 California cities have rent control policies. In the LA area, that includes the cities of Los Angeles, West Hollywood, and Santa Monica.

Striking the law from the books could have a significant impact on renters, property owners, and developers. In the midst of a statewide shortage of affordable housing, repeal supporters say it will give cities important new tools to protect affordable housing. Opponents argue it could worsen the crisis.

Given the new level of scrutiny over the bill, here’s a short explainer of what it actually means for California residents.

What is Costa Hawkins?

Costa Hawkins is a state law that sets some requirements for the 15 cities in California with rent control—Los Angeles included.

There are three main provisions:

  • It protects a landlord’s right to raise the rent to market rate on a unit once a tenant moves out.
  • It prevents cities from establishing rent control—or capping rent—on units constructed after February 1995.
  • It exempts single-family homes and condos from rent control restrictions.

The state bill also prevents cities from updating date of construction provisions in ordinances in place at the time of its passage.

LA’s main rent control law is the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, or RSO, passed in 1979. It restricts rent control to units built prior to October 1978, a date frozen in place by Costa Hawkins.

Under the RSO, yearly rent increases are capped at 3 to 8 percent, but landlords of buildings constructed after 1978 can set their own rental rates and change them at any time, as long as they provide proper notice to tenants.

Costa Hawkins does not affect caps on annual rent increases in Los Angeles or other California cities with rent control.

The bill was adopted in 1995 to reign in rent control in five California cities, including Santa Monica and West Hollywood. Those five cities had what’s called vacancy control, which is when a unit’s rent is capped even after a tenant moves out.

Costa Hawkins was also a key part of a 2009 court decision that struck down LA’s requirement that developers include affordable units in many new apartment buildings. The courts said that Los Angeles’s rules violated Costa Hawkins by mandating lower rents for newly constructed units. A bill signed by Governor Jerry Brown in September, however, restores the ability of California cities to make developers include affordable units in new rental projects.

What would happen if it were repealed?

In the short term, not much. Assemblymember Richard Bloom, who introduced the failed repeal bill, has said that getting rid of Costa Hawkins would only give cities greater flexibility when setting rent control policies. Cities would still need to go through the process of passing new legislation before the repeal would have any effect.

With new options available, some cities might expand rent control regulations to prevent landlords from raising rent on a unit to market rate once a tenant moves out as an effort to preserve affordable housing. Other cities might choose to leave their current rent control laws intact.

Why not repeal it and see what happens?

Opponents of a repeal argue that Costa Hawkins puts sensible restrictions on local policies that affect the state’s overall housing market.

A 2016 report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office found that expanding rent control “likely would discourage new construction” by limiting the profitability of new rental housing.

Opponents say this could exacerbate a statewide housing shortage and scare off developers worried about sudden policy changes in cities with rent control.

The report also predicts that stricter rent control rules would encourage discriminatory behavior on the part of landlords when selecting tenants.

What do those in favor of repeal say?

Supporters say that city leaders should be given the tools to protect tenants in the midst of a severe affordable housing crisis (a recent report from the California Housing Partnership Corporation found a shortfall of more than 500,000 affordable units in Los Angeles alone).

They also say policies at both the state and federal level already exist to ensure rent control regulations don’t prevent landlords from receiving a “fair return” on their properties. Protections for tenants facing stiff rent increases, on the other hand, remain slim in most of the state.

At Thursday’s hearing, Bloom and Assemblymember David Chiu, who co-authored the bill, argued that new construction alone would not be enough to make housing affordable to tenants now being priced out of expensive cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.

What’s next?

With enormous opposition from landlords and their representatives, supporters of the repeal measure face an uphill battle. Moreover, given the small number of California cities that actually impose rent control requirements, they may have a tough time convincing voters outside those cities that they should care.

Still, with rising housing costs around the state, the number of cities with rent control policies could soon increase. Tenant advocates are pushing for measures regulating rent prices in Long Beach, Inglewood, and Pasadena.

HGTV buys the Brady Bunch House

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The home’s exterior appeared in nearly every single episode of the Brady Bunch

Will the Brady Bunch House return to the small screen? The famous home has sold to make-over powerhouse HGTV.

“I am excited to share that HGTV is the winning bidder and will restore the Brady Bunch home to its 1970s glory as only HGTV can,” David Zaslav, CEO of HGTV’s parent company Discovery, told investors on a conference call early Tuesday morning.

Zaslav did not disclose how much the network paid for the property—or what exactly it plans to do with it once it’s restored.

“More detail to come over the next few months but we’ll bring all the resources to bear to tell safe, fun stories about this beloved piece of American TV history,” Zaslav said.

Built in 1959, the exterior of the pink ranch-style home in Studio City appeared in every episode of the Brady Bunch except the first. (All interior scenes were shot on a Paramount Studios soundstage.)

The house appeared on the market this month—for the first time since 1973—with an asking price of $1.885 million.

“This iconic residence is reportedly the second most photographed home in the United States after the White House,” the listing reads.

The buyer had remained somewhat of a mystery over the past couple of days after Lance Bass announced on social media that he put in an offer—only to be outbid by a Hollywood studio.

He said his offer was “way over the asking price.” But, he lamented: “How can I compete with a billion dollar corporate entity?”

Cozy cottage in Beachwood Canyon seeking $839K

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Built in 1926, the house retains many vintage features.

The 1920s home has tile floors and a built-in breakfast nook

Tucked into a tiny lot in Beachwood Canyon, just below the windy streets of Hollywoodland, this charming little cottage is looking for a buyer.

Built in 1926, the boxy 792-square-foot house has two bedrooms and a single bathroom, along with an airy living room and a kitchen equipped with an antique stove and a built-in breakfast nook.

Interior features include Saltillo tile floors, French doors, casement windows, and original kitchen cabinetry. Nearly every room in the home offers indoor-outdoor access. The living room opens to a small balcony, while a back bedroom opens to an enclosed yard with vintage light fixtures and tile mosaics.

The house sits on a 1,937-square-foot lot, but there’s room for outdoor seating and a garden in the back.

Asking price is $839,000.

View of house from street
Back bedroom leading outside
Master bedroom
View out to yard

This is the best way to honor Jonathan Gold’s legacy

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The late food critic advocated for vibrant, inclusive sidewalks—our city leaders should, too

From atop a hill in Echo Park, I marveled at a city awash in gold. It was July 28, the day that the late Jonathan Gold, who had died suddenly one week earlier, would have turned 58. To commemorate the loss, dozens of Los Angeles landmarks were illuminated in his honor, from the pylons at LAX to the crown of the U.S. Bank Tower.

Even when the Dodgers had nearly won the World Series a few months before, the city had not felt as saturated in blue as it was in gold for Jonathan that night.

As the lights faded, a mural of Jonathan was finished outside the Santa Monica restaurant Margo and a booth bearing his distinctive silhouette was dedicated at the new Guerrilla Tacos, which opened days after his death. And a conversation unfolded among Jonathan’s friends and colleagues about how else to permanently memorialize his many contributions to the city.

Chef Roy Choi, whose bulgogi tacos were championed by Jonathan early on, proposed a plaza in his honor. “It should be on Pico,” he insisted, referencing the street Jonathan famously ate his way down in his 20s.

Jonathan’s Los Angeles Times colleague Carolina Miranda stitched together a poem from lines of his reviews, which now describes a fictional restaurant that a conceptual artist and experimental chef could collaborate on as the ultimate pop-up, interpreting a menu inspired by Jonathan’s lyrical writing.

Jervey Tervalon, an old friend who co-founded LitFest Pasadena with Jonathan, suggested turning his pickup truck—a hulking forest-green Dodge Ram that transported Jonathan and his dining companions over 250,000 miles to more than 1,000 restaurants—into an interactive, multimedia, mobile experience that would help people understand how Jonathan “saw our crazy quilt of a city as a coherent whole.”

Most of his readers know that Jonathan was more than a restaurant critic. He was a culinary geographer, mentor to young chefs, and cheerleader of many local writers. But he also leaves behind an indelible legacy on Los Angeles that is not as well-known: He worked to make food fair, just, and equitable.

In 2011, Jonathan’s brother Mark Gold, an environmentalist who often teased him publicly about his truck’s carbon footprint, begged him to write an op-ed condemning the Cantonese delicacy shark fin soup. State Assemblymember Paul Fong had introduced a bill banning the possession and sale of shark fins—often procured by “finning”: sawing off the fins of sharks and throwing them back to die—and Jonathan penned a persuasive argument on the “bitter taste of extinction.”

When the bill was presented, Jonathan’s op-ed was read on the Senate floor, the bill passed, and shark fins were banned statewide. Fong later said that Jonathan’s words “made the difference at a time when the cultural backlash was putting the bill in jeopardy.”

Jonathan’s prose changed food policy. It wasn’t the only time. About a decade ago, Jonathan helped LA’s leaders start to rethink the role food plays in the city’s public spaces.

In 2009, while I was the design editor at GOOD, I got a call from Paula Daniels, a public works commissioner. Paula was passionate about improving LA’s food system, and was bringing together a group of experts who would eventually become the city’s food policy council.

The plan was to kick off the initiative with GOOD co-producing a 30th anniversary celebration of farmers markets in LA, including a competition to design new solutions for farmers to get their produce to Angelenos. Paula was keen on having Jonathan—arguably the biggest food name in the city—announce the competition’s winner at the celebration.

At that time, Jonathan was still supposed to be an anonymous critic (it wasn’t until 2015 that he officially relinquished his anonymity). I assumed this meant Jonathan might take the podium just for a few moments to read the list of winners before he ducked back into the audience.

But Jonathan came to the jurying and gave insightful feedback that other judges took to heart. At the event, held on the lawn of City Hall, he not only added a few of his own thoughts about each winning project, he wrapped those thoughts into a mini-manifesto about farmers being an integral part of LA’s urban fabric.

As the ceremony ended, the crowd swamped the podium. I think then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa thought they wanted to talk to him, but they were all there to shake hands with Jonathan.

For Jonathan, being present at that event, standing up for LA’s farmers, was more important than hiding behind a disguise. LA’s most famous food critic was also our most eloquent advocate for the people of this city who grow, prepare, and serve the food we eat.

That’s why, when the food policy council was officially formed, Paula asked Jonathan to join its task force.

 City of Gold
Jonathan saw the potential in turning neglected sidewalks into public spaces where communities could come together over food.

“I don’t think I would have considered any other critic,” she told me this week. “But the way he wrote about food and its role in Los Angeles, he understood communities and he knew what was important to each community.”

As the group convened to lay out its priorities for defining “good food” for the city, Jonathan changed the conversation around food again.

“I do remember Jonathan bringing up street vending in the very first meeting,” Paula told me this week. “None of us had really thought about it. But he was very impassioned about it. I could tell immediately how savvy he was about policy.”

After Jonathan’s insistence to include street vendors as a critical part of LA’s food system, some members of the council formed the LA Street Vendor Coalition in 2012, with a goal to propose an ordinance to legalize street vending. Rudy Espinoza, the executive director of Leadership for Urban Renewal Network who is part of the coalition, remembers Jonathan tearing up after hearing a presentation to the task force about how vendors were being targeted by law enforcement.

“When he heard that some of the entrepreneurs he frequented were being criminalized, he was visibly emotional and in shock that the city would target these entrepreneurs,” Rudy remembers. “He recognized that the best food was often found in low-income neighborhoods and was made by street vendors.”

It was Jonathan’s support—and his writing—that helped city leaders recognize these entrepreneurs as a vital part of LA’s streets, agrees Paula, who now heads the Center for Good Food Purchasing. “Jonathan tilled the soil.”

The motion to legalize street vending was introduced in November 2013. Five years later, it has yet to become law—and the city continues to target vendors.

The Monday after Jonathan died, street vendors in Hollywood were told they would be cleared by police using a “bulky item” ordinance normally used to remove large pieces of trash from sidewalks. A protest was organized by vendors chanting “Aqui estamos y no nos vamos!” (“We’re here, and not going anywhere!”)

It was the latest in a long struggle of crackdowns, harassment, and violence against vendors, which Jonathan had chronicled as part of his reviews:

…the saddest moment in Boyle Heights street food, most aficionados would agree, was the evening the Breed Street vendors were finally chased from the scene. This group of carts and tables and propane-fueled infernos gathered after dark in a parking lot just north of César Chávez Avenue, swelling to more than 40 operations on busy weekends and sometimes drawing 1,200 people a night.

It was chaos, the Breed Street lot, intersecting fiefdoms of barbacoa specialists, crepe masters and steam-enveloped centers of pudding-soft tacos al vapor, the long table of Nina’s, whose gooey pambazos, huaraches and toasted-seed salsa de semillas were among the stars of the scene, and the other table belonging to Antojitos Carmen, whose pambazos, Mexico City–style huaraches and salsa de semillas were close enough and good enough to lend the lot a certain tinge of Hatfield and McCoy.

At the LA screening of the City of Gold documentary, Jonathan confessed to me how bad he felt that his truck—that gargantuan, gas-guzzling monstrosity—played such a big role, almost a supporting character, in the film. I laughed and forgave him. Of course he needed the car to cover ground, to get from to Rosemead to Artesia and back again in a single day.

But, as I realized later, to be Jonathan’s passenger wasn’t about isolating yourself in a vehicle. It was about climbing, wide-eyed and open-minded, into his ongoing narrative of a changing city, a story carefully told by someone who had already walked blocks in search of a legendary paletas guy or asked the woman by the bus stop where she sourced her huitlacoche. No one taught me more about the potential of LA’s streets.

As many have noted, Jonathan championed unsung urban spaces like strip malls and swap meets. He showed us how curbs can become impromptu kitchen tables, with paper plates wobbling on precariously perched milk crates. He showed us that parking lots aren’t just for cars, they’re places for communities to gather, under a string of lights and over the hum of a generator, to share experiences.

Jonathan showed us why sidewalks should be expanded: to make room for more local ingredients, more neighborhood traditions, and many, many more rainbow umbrellas.

When the food policy council presented its official report to the city in 2010, Jonathan was tasked with writing the report’s introduction. He described LA’s food scene like this: “a frieze of fine dining overlaying a huge patchwork of immigrant communities big enough and self-sustaining enough to produce exactly the food they want to eat.”

 Grzegorz Czapski /
The quintessential fruit stand with a rainbow umbrella is part of LA’s streetscape.

In today’s LA, our food policy, as drafted, does not allow for these entrepreneurs to be self-sustaining. The hulking shadow of displacement and deportation now threaten the city’s immigrant communities like never before. As my colleague Meghan McCarron wrote so eloquently in the hours after Jonathan’s death, the Los Angeles that he championed is at risk.

It was particularly disheartening, as LA’s City Hall was illuminated in Jonathan’s honor, as the mayor of that city issued a statement praising Jonathan’s appreciation of food “whether served from a truck window or atop a white tablecloth,” that the lawmakers who meet in that building had still not validated a citywide practice that predates the existence of every single white-tablecloth restaurant in LA.

The draft recommendation will ban street vendors from some of the city’s busiest corridors, namely, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, where the blocks are inextricably laced with the scent of bacon-wrapped hot dogs.

The city’s argument is that it’s too dangerous to have so many people scrunched into narrow, poorly maintained sidewalks, so the vendors should have to leave. The effect is prioritizing the driving and parking of cars over the lives and livelihoods of people.

A public celebration of Jonathan’s life is planned for August 26 in Downtown LA. Los Angeles lawmakers should use that date as a deadline to acknowledge the incredible outpouring of public support for his legacy and design more inclusive streets.

I urge our City Councilmembers to pass an ordinance that will legalize street vending for good—and fully realize the vibrant city that lives on in Jonathan’s words.

Enchanting 1920s Storybook-style compound in Silver Lake seeks $1.9M

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The whimsical residence was designed by French-born architect Jean-Louis Egasse and revamped by design firm HabHouse

Now jazzing up the market in Silver Lake is a Storybook-style residence designed by architect Jean-Louis Egasse. A Parisian immigrant, Egasse designed a handful of period-revival homes around Southern California, most notably Eagle Rock’s historically landmarked Egasse-Braasch House, colloquially known as “the Good Will Hunting House.”

Built in 1924, the compound property contains a two-story main house with three bedrooms and three baths, plus a separate one-bedroom, one-bath cottage.

Since last on the market, both structures have undergone a thorough makeover by design and development firm Habhouse; however, per the listing description, “all components and details have been attended to with original recovered materials or meticulously sourced items.”

Standout features of the revamped residence include clinker brick accents, wood-beam ceilings, wrought-iron sconces and light fixtures, French doors, archways, built-in shelving and seating, and stained-glass windows. Outside, there’s an expansive deck, a patio with outdoor fireplace, and a yard with mature trees and succulents.

Asking price is $1.988 million.

“Mr. Ballmer: Enjoy your team—but do not build your arena here”

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D’Artagnan Scorza, with Uplift Inglewood, walks with former Sen. Barbara Boxer on Doty Avenue.

“Mr. Ballmer: Enjoy your team—but do not build your arena here.”

Former Sen. Barbara Boxer met Inglewood residents Thursday in the modest residential neighborhood that surrounds the site where the Clippers intend to erect a new arena, telling them: “I’m here to help.”

“If the arena is built, this community will change overnight,” Boxer said.

The retired senator rolled onto Doty Avenue—which offers a clear view of the massive NFL stadium rising one block to the north on Century Boulevard—in a Nissan Altima and was immediately surrounded by residents who fear the arena would further drive up housing prices.

The Inglewood City Council is negotiating with Murphy’s Bowl, a company owned by the Clippers, to develop a new basketball arena on a multi-acre site owned by the city. The 18,000-seat arena would be privately financed by Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and would be built on a site bounded by Century, Doty, 103rd Street, and Prairie Avenue. Most of the land sits empty.

 via city of Inglewood
This map shows where the arena complex would be built.

It would be part of a larger complex that also includes parking lots, a practice facility, team offices, shops, and an outdoor plaza with basketball courts that would be open to the public.

An earlier agreement had called for building the complex on a larger site—and using eminent domain to seize single-family homes and apartment buildings in the neighborhood.

That’s no longer the plan, and Mayor James Butts has tried to assure residents that they won’t be displaced. He has called the arena a “job-creating and revenue-generating project” that would provide “property taxes… that fund our schools.”

“I can’t wait for the Clippers to be part of Inglewood,” he said in June.

Residents, however, are skeptical.

Boxer walked a couple of blocks through the neighborhood, led by D’Artagnan Scorza, a member of the Uplift Inglewood Coalition.

“Once folks get displaced, there’s nowhere for them to go,” Scorza, who grew up in Inglewood and attended nearby Morningside High School, told her.

“I understand. There’s a housing crisis everywhere,” she responded.

Houses on Doty Avenue.

Sara Santos, 30, who shares an apartment with her boyfriend and daughter on 104th Street, says she knows lots of people who are relocating to places like Lancaster because they can no longer afford Inglewood. Her rent, she says, has gone up by $400 in a year and a half.

“We can’t save for a downpayment. We have less money for food, utilities, and everything else,” Santos says.

Unlike the city of Los Angeles, Inglewood doesn’t have rent control or rent stabilization, so landlords are allowed to hike rents by however much they want. An effort to put rent control on the ballot in Inglewood proved unsuccessful.

Santos works nearby at LAX, and she says she loves Inglewood for Market Street, its proximity to the beach, its restaurants—Dulan’s Soul Food Kitchen and Hungry Joe’s Burgers & Jamaican Restaurant—and culture.

“When you to start to kick us out, the culture is gone,” she says.

As of July, the cost of renting in Inglewood is up 12.1 percent since the beginning of 2016, compared to 7.4 percent in all Los Angeles County.

Boxer told residents that she’ll support their fight against the arena and urged them to advocate against a state bill, AB 987, that would fast-track the arena by allowing it to skirt state environmental law. AB 987 is supported by Butts and Ballmer.

“Many rich guys have a dream to own a sports team. That’s fine, except if the dream turns into a nightmare for the community,” she said. “So I say to Mr. Ballmer: Enjoy your team—but do not build your arena here.”

Cher selling Bevery Crest ‘retreat’ for $2.5M

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The house sits on a half-acre lot with a grassy yard and a koi pond.

The home has hardwood floors and ivy climbing the walls

Pop icon Cher is parting ways with a cozy (by celebrity standards) home above Beverly Hills.

Property records show the singer and actress bought the house in 2013 for just over $2.1 million. According to Mansion Global, Cher and her two sons have used the house as an LA “retreat” when they’re in the area.

The house certainly looks like a nice place to retreat to. Built in 1957, the English-style home has hardwood floors, beamed ceilings, French doors, and bay windows. Listing material describes the four-bedroom house as a “country home,” and it sits on more than half an acre, with foresty surroundings and ivy growing on the walls.

The living room opens out to a large balcony overlooking an adjacent hillside, and the grassy yard includes a stony koi pond.

Last year, the much grander Owlwood estate in Holmby Hills, once occupied by Cher and then-husband Sonny Bono, sold for $90 million—one of the priciest real estate deals in LA history.

This house stands to sell for a bit less. Featuring three bathrooms and more than 3,000 square feet of living space, it’s asking $2.499 million. Branden and Rayni Williams of Hilton & Hyland have the listing.

Living room
Bedroom with fireplace
Koi pond

LA lawmaker wants to temporarily ban electric scooters

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Councilmember Paul Koretz says the scooters have become a safety hazard.

The ban would “protect riders and pedestrians”

Los Angeles officials are considering new regulations for electric scooters that have flooded the streets of Westside communities, but at least two City Councilmembers want to ban the vehicles.

On Tuesday, Councilmember Paul Koretz, who represents Fairfax, Palms, and Century City, introduced a motion that would ban scooters until LA’s rules are finalized. The councilmember tweeted that “too many” scooter users were riding unsafely, and that the ban would “protect riders and pedestrians” while the city irons out “firm regulations.”

His motion, if ultimately approved by the full council, would require scooter companies to remove the vehicles from streets and sidewalks until they receive permits to operate—permits the city doesn’t currently issue.

The motion was “seconded” by Mitchell Englander, who represents the Chatsworth and Northridge neighborhoods, meaning that the full council will vote on the measure.

Under the motion, scooters would be impounded and police would be asked to issue tickets to riders violating state rules on scooter use, including requirements that riders have valid driver’s licenses, wear helmets, and avoid riding on sidewalks.

Koretz, a member of the council’s Transportation Committee, expressed support for the scooters at a committee meeting earlier this year. But, he told City News Service on Tuesday, that was before the vehicles arrived in his neighborhood.

“I’ve probably seen a thousand since just on Beverly Boulevard where I live, and 100 percent have no helmet usage,” said Koretz.

Alison Simard, spokesperson for Koretz, tells Curbed the councilmember supports the use of scooters for short commutes, as long as riders use them safely.

But commutes are “not what we’re seeing right now,” says Simard. “We’re seeing families saying ‘that looks like fun’ and hopping on two or three at a time.”

Not all members of the council are supportive of Koretz’s proposal. In a statement Wednesday, Councilmember Mike Bonin, who heads the Transportation Committee and who represents Westside neighborhoods, said that the city needs “smart regulations for dockless scooters, not a total ban.”

Bonin has argued that the scooters could serve as an affordable mode of transportation and an alternative to driving for many riders.

“If we are serious about combatting climate change, cutting emissions, or reducing gridlock, we need to put our mobility where our mouth is,” he tweeted Wednesday.

Santa Monica Pier’s twilight concerts will return in September

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The new line-up features fewer shows and more stages

Santa Monica Pier’s free concerts are coming back—this fall.

The too-popular-for-its-own-good music series has new dates, a new name, and a few other changes as part of an effort to control the throngs who turn up to hear the tunes.

The city announced last week that this year’s festival, renamed Twilight on the Pier, would begin on September 5 instead of in June, as in past years.

The series will have six events—fewer than the eight shows of the 2017 season and a 10-concert season the year before that. The last show of the series will be October 7.

In another departure from previous years, bands will be spread across three stages along the world-famous pier, instead of one main stage. There’s also an end to viewing the concerts from the beach, as the area “will not be activated as viewing or picnicking grounds like past seasons.”

Multiple acts will play loosely themed nights, including “Latin Wave,” “Afro and R&B,” and “eclectic indie.”

The changes come after a 2017 concert season that saw numerous city officials voicing concern that crowds were reaching unsafe numbers, and that security costs were ballooning.

“With two new stages, a new ‘art walk’ vibe, and a focus on creating a sustainable, safe event that will last another 3 decades, Twilight on the Pier will feel different in a lot of ways from past years, but the spirit stays the same,” says Santa Monica Pier Corporation Executive Director Negin Singh.

21-story hotel across from Amoeba moves ahead

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New renderings offer a better look at the Art Deco-ish hotel

The Ivar Gardens, a 21-story hotel planned to replace the Jack in the Box on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, is still kickin’.

Urbanize LA noticed the hotel project from developer R.D. Olson is set to be discussed by the governing board of the successor entity to the defunct community redevelopment agency. (The project is located in a redevelopment area.)

The Art Deco-inspired tower, designed by architecture firm WATG, would hold 275 rooms, a gym, a rooftop deck, and parking for 135 cars.

In documents provided to the governing board, the hotel is described as an improvement on the “currently underutilized site” that would “upgrade the site and the immediate surrounding area along Sunset Boulevard.”

A number of hotels have recently opened or are in the works for the blocks surrounding the property on Sunset between Cahuenga and Ivar. Across the street, the Amoeba Records is set to be replaced by a 28-story tower with over 200 residential units. Their lease runs out in early 2019.

‘The time is ripe to take action’: Old Children’s Museum pinpointed as possible emergency homeless shelter

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Skid Row, home to about 2,000 homeless residents.

City officials are looking for new shelter sites in Downtown LA

Los Angeles officials are considering new sites for temporary homeless shelters in Downtown LA, including the former Children’s Museum directly across the street from City Hall.

Now vacant, the museum, which closed in 2000, is situated within the Los Angeles Mall. The 1970s shopping center is eventually slated for demolition, as the city moves forward with an overhaul of its Civic Center. In the meantime, it could house some of the roughly 2,000 people living on the streets and sidewalks of Skid Row, Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar said Tuesday.

The 14,000-square-foot museum site—along with a soon-to-open shelter beside the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument—would be insufficient to house all those on Skid Row in need of shelter.

To do that, Huizar said, the city would need to explore the possibility of leasing sites from private owners, rather than building facilities exclusively on public land (the El Pueblo and Children’s Museum sites are both owned by the city).

Officials have already identified one such site in Downtown LA—a warehouse at 1426 Paloma Street, just north of the 10 freeway. The City Council asked staffers Tuesday to research both that property and the Children’s Museum site.

“The time is ripe to take action,” said Huizar prior to the vote.

But some Downtown advocates say that action isn’t coming quickly enough. In a letter to the council, the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council urged the city to speed up the process by which shelter sites are selected and opened.

Los Angeles MallVia Google Maps
A view of the former Children’s Museum at the Los Angeles Mall.

“Unsheltered folks living in Skid Row simply cannot continue to abide while the City studies the issue of homelessness into perpetuity,” the letter says.

The push to open more temporary shelters began earlier this year, when Mayor Eric Garcetti declared a “shelter crisis” and promised to spend at least $20 million on new facilities to house residents while the city funds construction of new permanent housing through Measure HHH.

The Paloma Street site and the Children’s Museum are the latest of more than a dozen proposed sites for shelters and overnight parking facilities across the city—including a site in the heart of Koreatown that has drawn resistance from many local residents.

First look at 100-unit affordable housing complex headed for Westlake

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Across the street from MacArthur Park, the project would replace 36 rent-stabilized units

More affordable housing could be heading to Westlake, thanks to a 100-unit complex planned for a site just across from MacArthur Park.

Abode Communities filed plans with the city last week for its latest project, a 100-unit, 100-percent affordable housing project just off Seventh Street. Today, we’re getting a good look at the project, designed in-house by Abode Communities Architecture.

The new development would replace 36 existing rent-stabilized duplex units. In an announcement about the project, Abode says that tenants of those units will receive relocation money and be offered a right of first return in the completed complex—“at a rent they can afford,” says CEO Robin Hughes.

The project, expected to cost $64 million, will receive funds from a number of sources, including Measure HHH, a ballot initiative approved two years ago to help fund homeless housing. Abode expects the proposed project’s tenants will include low-income and homeless families.

The project, located roughly 500 feet away from the Red and Purple line’s Westlake/MacArthur Park station, will also be the first in LA to receive Match funding, which is available to projects providing affordable housing near public transit.

Construction on the project is expected to begin in fall 2020, with completion slated for summer 2022.

Spanish-style charmer in Pasadena has a backyard with ‘tremendous opportunity’ for $850K

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Built in 1925, it sits on a roomy lot

Fronted by a deep lawn with garden beds, this Spanish-style charmer in Pasadena sits on a roomy lot that spans 10,834 square feet. The green space continues in the rear, where, as the listing proclaims, there’s “tremendous opportunity for a new vision.”

The home is noteworthy in its own right. Built in 1925, it’s filled with charming elements, most of which are on display in the living room: a plaster fireplace that stretches from floor to ceiling, a barrel ceiling, arched entryways, and a picture window.

Coming in at 1,967 square feet, the home holds four bedrooms and two and a half baths. The master suite “features walk-in closet and a full bathroom with original tile floor and a vintage toilet.”

On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, the property, which also holds a two-car garage, is listed for $850,000.

  • 1251 North Hill Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91104 [Matt McIntyre / Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices]

Eagle Rock house with fabulous outdoor space seeks $1.1M

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A deck, a patio, and a converted garage make these outdoors great

This newly renovated Eagle Rock home has cool, minimal interiors and a spacious backyard in a great neighborhood.

The living room offers a decorative fireplace and well-placed windows, and flows into the dining area. This section of the house gets plenty of sunlight and connects to the kitchen, where there’s plenty of counter space, a patterned tile backsplash, and high-end appliances.

The one-story property holds three bedrooms and two bathrooms within its roughly 1,400 square feet. Like the rest of the house, the roomy bedrooms feature light wood flooring throughout.

The master bedroom opens onto the rear yard and its wooden deck. The lot measures about 9,800 square feet, so there is plenty of room to run around in the backyard. The rear yard also holds a patio and the garage, converted into “bonus room” that could be used as anything from a home office to a studio.

The house is listed for $1.095 million.

New East Hollywood music venue will open next year in converted theater

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The Vermont Hollywood

Just across the street from a Red Line stop

A busy East Hollywood intersection is about to get a new draw.

A former movie theater on the southeast corner of Vermont and Santa Monica is set to reopen next year as a music venue called Vermont Hollywood. Alexander Massachi, vice president of MCAP Partners, which owns the venue, says it will “become the gold standard for the ultimate concert and event-going experience.

Designed by Santa Monica-based Ryder Design & Architecture, the 10,000-square-foot music venue is equipped to hold up to 1,200 people.

The building most recently functioned as a movie theater, Campus Theater, and then a performing arts space, El Teatro Casablanca. It was purchased by MCAP Partners in 2010.

Massachi says it took six years to get approval for the project because it faced “the usual opposition from neighbors,” including an attempt to stop the project made by the Silverstein Law Firm, which is famous for stalling developments across the city.

A look at the interior.

The venue won’t have a particular musical focus, but it will have shows booked by a handful of vendors three to four nights a week, leaving some open days when the space could be rented for private events.

The Vermont Hollywood will be just up the street from Los Angeles City College, and across the street from the Vermont/Santa Monica Red Line station. There’s also an affordable housing project in the works for the corner above the Red Line station. The project, proposed by the non-profit Little Tokyo Service Center, doesn’t have a clear timeline.

The doors to the venue off Vemont.

Downtown Los Angeles doesn’t need a streetcar—it needs better buses

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Jeepneys are a popular form of transit in the Philippines, and there’s one in LA’s Historic Filipinotown.

Oh, the money LA would save…

Los Angeles is gearing up to drop about $291 million on a streetcar that will serve Downtown. It’s a bad idea.

Not only will the streetcar be wildly expensive and slow-moving, DTLA doesn’t need it. It already has the bus.

City officials say the streetcar is needed to help people get around and “support the growth and revitalization of downtown Los Angeles.”

Streetcars are sometimes worth their expense—when they “signal government investment in an underperforming neighborhood,” and are paired with policy changes and improvements that support the streetcar, says Juan Matute, associate director of UCLA’s transportation studies institute.

Downtown Los Angeles is hardly “underperforming.”

Adaptive reuse is blowing up, as existing buildings are restored to become epic mixed-users, weed-focused business centers, and an Apple store. Plans are in place to slowly but surely overtake parking lot after parking lot like an incredibly slow game of Hungry Hungry Hippos.

And, Matute says, “if mobility is the primary criteria for the investment, a bus will always perform better.”

The majority of the planned streetcar route is on Hill and Broadway—two thoroughfares already covered by buses.

The bus gets a bad rap. It’s slow, and service has been cut.

Putting in dedicated lanes in Downtown for buses to travel could solve those problems, and it’d be far cheaper and less intrusive than laying rails for a streetcar.

But for most Angelenos, the issue is that the bus has an image problem. For many, buses are devastatingly plebeian—anybody can ride them—and that makes them unappealing.

Maybe the solution, then, is not just to give buses their own space on the road, but to give buses some pizzazz. Below are five examples of show-stopping public transport that people would line up to ride through Downtown.

Double-decker buses

‘Allo guv’nor! Double-decker buses are all the rage overseas, so why not have them run through DTLA? The San Gabriel Valley’s Foothill Transit already has plans to add a few to its fleet—they’ll be North America’s first all-electric, double-decker transit buses.

The buses are expected to hit the road next year, and commenters on Foothill Transit’s Instagram seem pretty excited to hop on. Why not have some of these sweet rides cruising the streetcar route instead?

It wouldn’t be unprecedented: LA has experimented with double-decker buses before, as this 1982 photo of a double decker bus from a pre-Metro transit agency on Flower Street in Downtown shows.

Neighborhood-inspired buses

A post shared by Ana Barredo (@grandfenwick) on Jul 18, 2018 at 6:17pm PDT

Buses could be a great chance to show off Los Angeles’s vast network of neighborhoods and what makes them each unique. There could be a bus that takes a design cue from these autonomous shuttles designed to reflect the Leimert Park neighborhood, or a bus that mimics the look of the funky, bright Jeepneys that take people on tours of Historic Filipinotown.

Few people would take a selfie with a streetcar, but who could resist taking a photo with one of these if they saw it on the street?

 Via Vimeo
An imagined autonomous shuttle with a design inspired by Leimert Park, as seen in a 2017 video produced by Karl Baumann and Ben Caldwell.

Vintage buses

 Via Metro Library and Archive/Creative Commons

This streetcar through Downtown is often pitched as bringing back a mode of transport that used to be there—“the return of the streetcar!” They say. If everyone’s so hot for a throwback, why not get some buses that look like they’re old? (They’d be up to current environmental standards, of course.)

Metro appears to have some old Metro buses like the one above that are trotted out on rare occasions and look sharp.

“Rail bus”

It’s a bus, it’s a train, it’s rail bus! This remarkable hybrid exists in China, where a bus that looks convincingly like a train travels along the street, following “rails” made of white paint and aided by sensors on the rail bus. No ripping up the street required, no protracted construction and street closures—just some paint and a high-tech bus in disguise for a fraction of the cost of a regular tram.

Trolley buses

A post shared by TopGayNewz ️‍ (@topgaynewz) on Mar 7, 2018 at 10:50am PST

Clang, clang, clang went the streetcar? No! No one sings joyfully about streetcars. A trolley is a surefire way to capture the hearts of locals and visitors, and to have your public transport be immortalized in song. LADOT’s trolley bus is adorable and a delight to see on the streets. The adorably named, Pop Art-bedecked WeHo PickUp trolley is functional and fun. Downtown can follow its lead!

Renderings: MAD Architects’ wavy development would envelop Barney’s Beanery in West Hollywood

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The futuristic project would include the Beanery, hotel rooms, apartments, and retail

The kitschy West Hollywood restaurant and bar Barney’s Beanery could become part of a spacey new mixed-use development that’s planned for Santa Monica Boulevard.

New renderings of the project give a good look at the project, which is planned to wrap around the legendary Beanery.

It would be developed by the Beanery’s owner and the owners of nearby restaurants Ysabel and Laurel Hardware, with West Hollywood-based Vella Group.

The project would be designed by MAD Architects, which is also designing the Lucas Museum. Visually, it looks just as futuristic as the under-construction museum—wavy, undulating, and with ribbons of glass serving as windows and balconies.

The project would hold 45 apartments, including 11 below-market-rate units, and 88 hotel rooms. An 80-seat music venue and recording studio would be placed in the development, but below-ground in an effort to minimize noise for the project’s neighbors.

Retail and restaurants—three including a space for the Beanery—will round out the building’s roster. The plan is to have the Beanery return in the existing building, but it’s unclear whether the entire building will be incorporated into the future development.

The project would also bring a new public green space to Olive Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard to create a connection to Veteran’s Park.

The project is still in its early stages, and a timeline has not been announced.

Metro votes to speed up ride times on Orange Line, prepping it for conversion to light rail

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The Orange Line’s Chatsworth Station.

“These are exciting times for the San Fernando Valley”

Valley residents are already reaping the rewards of Measure M.

That’s how the Valley Industry and Commerce Association’s Armando Flores framed Metro’s decision Thursday to approve a project aimed at speeding up ride times on the Orange Line, the popular bus rapid transit that runs for 18 miles from Chatsworth to North Hollywood.

“These are exciting times for folks in the San Fernando Valley,” he said.

The project will add 35 railroad-style crossing gates at intersections along the line designed to stop cars from driving into the busway. With the gates, bus drivers will no longer have to slow down through intersections to avoid collisions.

In addition, Metro will remove at-grade crossings at Van Nuys and Sepulveda boulevards and will build bridges and aerial stations instead.

To the tune of $286 million, the project, which is expected to cost as much as $393 million, will be funded mostly with revenue from Measure M, a half-cent sales tax hike approved two years ago by voters in Los Angeles County to pay for transportation improvements across the region.

Metro staffers have cautioned that the new gates will cause delays for cars. They say they’re exploring the possibility of operating buses at longer headways with two-vehicle platoons “to enhance person carrying capacity while minimizing the frequency of gate activation and delays to cross-traffic.”

But the changes are expected to make the crossings safer and reduce travel times on the Orange Line by about 20 percent. They’re also the first step toward converting the busway to light rail decades from now.

“The Orange Line has been a spectacular success since the first day it opened to the public,” Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro board chair Sheila Kuehl told The Source. “We are now planning short- and long-term investments to take this popular Valley transit line from rubber wheels to steel wheels, making it much safer, faster and capable of accommodating more riders in the years ahead.”

 Via Metro

The project’s approval comes just one month after Metro’s board signed off on plans to build an entirely new light rail line in the eastern San Fernando Valley.

The new train will run from the Orange Line station in Van Nuys to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station, about 9 miles to the north. Construction is expected to complete by 2027.

The Orange Line project is expected to open two years before that, in 2025, with construction starting next year. Its conversion to light rail wouldn’t start until 2051.

To the tune of $286 million, the project, which is expected to cost as much as $393 million, will be funded mostly with revenue from Measure M, a half-cent sales tax hike approved two years ago by voters in Los Angeles County to pay for transportation improvements across the region.

My landlord offered me $35K to move out

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Downtown Los Angeles.

Across Los Angeles, property owners are trying to entice tenants to leave

Our neighbors in Downtown Los Angeles are leaving. A newly married couple was off to Nashville. A friendly man who livened up our community parties was suddenly gone without a farewell, headed for Houston, we later heard. Another lady, whose elderly mother was ill in Florida, left to take care of her.

All these departures are not a coincidence. The landlord in our rent-stabilized building has been offering “legacy tenants” five-figure buyouts to move away. It’s a practice called “cash for keys,” and it’s happening across Los Angeles. Here’s how it’s playing out in my building.

When I relocated to Los Angeles 14 years ago, I didn’t know rent-stabilization existed in the city. Downtown was frumpy then, but I found an apartment on Bunker Hill, across the street from the strange-hours job that brought me here. I didn’t plan to stay long—I intended to return to the East Coast, where I owned a place, as fast as my new boss would allow.

A few months after my arrival, one of my new neighbors clued me in, and, after calling the city, and learning about the city ordinance dating back to 1978, I discovered that my unit was one of 10 percent in this sprawling complex exempted from rent control. Life marched on, and years later, I moved with my boyfriend into a different, larger unit that had the coveted classification.

A few years ago, as the owners of this 50-year-old property embarked on a $76 million renovation, they counted on typical attrition to clear out the buildings. Residents died or just got tired of living in a construction zone, as apartments were gut-renovated and upgraded with open-plan living areas, better flooring, and nicer appliances. Rents on these places run upwards of a thousand dollars a month more.

The $2,400 a month we were paying for a two-bedroom isn’t cheap, but it is higher than the median citywide. Suddenly, it felt like we had a deal.

 Liz Kuball
The Broad museum opened on Bunker Hill in 2015.

City laws still locked in yearly increases for new tenants at 3 to 4 percent. But the nurses, teachers, flight attendants, retired professors, and others like us who’d long called this place home would no longer be able to afford to live here were they just arriving.

As the numbers of legacy tenants began to dwindle, the deal-making amped up.

To entice us to “upgrade” into a new, pricier apartment, we were offered $35,000, cash that would cover the higher, market-rate rent for three years.

Was that money taxable, we asked? Yes, we were told, diminishing the offer even more.

We refused to bite. But at least several of our neighbors did.

“You’re not moving into a renovated unit?” The friendly construction manager would ask in the hallways.

We would answer: “Could you afford to pay $1,000 a month more in rent?”

Soon, other neighbors began to leave, cautioned not to discuss the terms of their departures. Now, each time we look out the window and see a renovation underway, we know someone else decided to take the money and run.

The city requires a landlord to offer a base-level sum to buy a tenant out of a rent-stabilized building.

The amount ranges from about $8,000 to $20,000, depending on your age, whether you have kids or are disabled, and length of residency. If they’re not tearing down the building, they can’t force you to move out, but they can offer more as an enticement. It’s up to you to accept the deal.

And it’s up to the renter to know the rules and their rights. Many do not.

To mitigate that, the city’s “cash for keys” ordinance mandates landlords inform renters of the rent-stabilization rules and to put any offers they make for buyouts in writing, while also listing their offers with the city.

But, housing rights advocate Larry Gross says, despite the new rules, landlords still gamble, push their luck, and count on tenant ignorance, hoping they can just scare the uninformed away—especially the poorest of the poor—with eviction notices.

Unsurprisingly, the people getting big buyout offers live in fancier buildings, like mine. Landlords are more likely to abuse people of color, who are less economically advantaged.

The bigger buyouts usually happen in fancier buildings. Gross, who heads the Coalition for Economic Survival, says he’s heard of offers as high as $75,000.

To just about anyone, a sudden windfall of tens of thousands of dollars or more sounds like a winning Lotto ticket. But what’s left after taxes wouldn’t be enough to rent a new, market-rate place in Los Angeles for very long, even if you could find a two-bedroom for the $2,135 median cost.

Gross calls what’s happening an “economic ethnic cleansing.” New residents with higher incomes are moving in, along with amenities catering to them.

Now there are more grocery stores and restaurants and new transit lines and museums for everyone in Downtown. Many of my neighbors, however, won’t be here to enjoy it. We’re grateful for the laws that have made it possible for us to stay. We’ll stick it out as long as we can.

Price tag swells to $291M for Downtown Los Angeles streetcar

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A 3.8-mile loop through Downtown—with a whopping 23 stops

A new report for the Downtown Los Angeles Streetcar has revealed an even larger budget for the project—just under $291 million. That’s about $16.5 million more than an estimate for the project given last year.

But the report, first spotted by the Downtown News, doesn’t anticipate any further delays.

As the projected cost has ballooned over the last 10 or so years, the timeline has been pushed back multiple times. But the report from the city’s engineering bureau says the streetcar could begin construction next year, with completion still expected in 2021.

The rail line will have a whopping 23 stops along its 3.8-mile loop through Downtown, with roughly a stop per block in most cases.

The route will begin at First and Broadway, and travel down Broadway to 11th Street. From there, the streetcar will turn to Figueroa, where it will travel to Seventh Street. There, it turns north on Hill Street and goes up to First Street to complete the loop.

 Via Bureau of Engineering

A possible Grand Avenue extension of the streetcar would add a stop at Grand near Second Street, but it would also tack on nearly $16 million to the project costs, so it wouldn’t be included unless additional funding became available.

Some money for the project will come from local business owners, who voted in 2012 to tax themselves for part of the project’s costs.

The streetcar is scheduled to get $200 million of Measure M funding. But it’s not at the top of the project list, so that money isn’t slated to come through until 2053.

Quentin Tarantino is filming on Hollywood Boulevard, and it feels like a ’60s time machine

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Brad Pitt is seen the set of Once Upon a Time In Hollywood on July 24, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

The production of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood recreated old theaters and storefronts with astonishing detail

Never question Quentin Tarantino’s commitment to his films. For the past week, a one-block stretch of Hollywood Boulevard—between Las Palmas and Cherokee—has become Tarantino’s vintage Los Angeles playground. It’s for his latest feature, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, set in 1969, and the attention to detail is astonishing.

Tarantino’s 10-year passion project is a composite of overlapping stories taking place in the film industry at a time when old Hollywood began to collide with new Hollywood.

The main characters portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt are rumored to be loosely based on legendary stuntman Hal Needham, and (then-roommate) Burt Reynolds. Needham was best known for his frequent collaborations with Reynolds. Sharon Tate, played by Margot Robbie, is their neighbor.

Exterior scenes of this film could have been created on a soundstage using stock footage and computer-generated imagery, but Tarantino chose the streets of Los Angeles as his canvas. Given Tarantino’s attention to detail and nuanced understanding of the period, shooting on a backlot would have been a deal killer.

Musso and Frank Grill was my basecamp for sleuthing on July 24. The restaurant had previously been shut down for days while a pivotal scene was filmed inside.

I witnessed production crews work tirelessly around the clock as vintage store fronts and street props were recreated, nearly bringing tears to my eyes.

I witnessed the return of the Pussycat and Vogue theaters, complete with film titles and original posters advertising the movies released at that time. (The Vogue had been a first run feature theater, and the Pussycat was an X-rated adult film theatre.)

 Alison Martino
The Pussycat Theater in the early ’80s. It looks exactly like what Tarantino re-created.

I waited in anticipation to see which film titles would be displayed on the marquees: The Night They Raided Minsky’s went up on the Vogue, and Babette and The Turn On went up on the Pussycat.

 Stephen Russo
The shuttered Peaches Records & Tapes lives again on Tarantino’s set.

Other store fronts included the original Larry Edmunds Cinema and Theatre Bookshop and Peaches Records.

In the window display of Peaches Records were the latest LP’s, rock flyers for local venues such at the Palladium and Troubadour, and original Fillmore Posters, which were extremely popular at the time. It was exhilarating to see vinyl hanging in the windows again.

 Alison Martino
The recreation of the Vogue theater.

One of the flyers said, “3 cassettes for $1.49!” Other facades created were as follows: a lingerie shop, a TV appliance store with old televisions by Zenith and RCA, a vintage market advertising old ads for Coca-Cola, Miss Clairol and Spearmint Gum, a head shop, a camera repair shop featuring rolls of Kodak film, and a shoe store promoting Hush Puppies, Thom McAn, and Minnetonka Moccasins.

It was a time machine experience LA natives could only dream of. Not only were these historic facades recreated in front of our eyes, they were resurrected in their original locations.

It didn’t stop there. Logos such as KHJ, The LA FREE PRESS, “Hobo Kelly,” “Playboy After Dark,” “The Rosie Greer Show,” “Seymour’s Fright Night,” and “Honey West” were just some of classic advertisements displayed.

All of these beloved visuals were part of the DNA of Los Angeles during the 1960s. Store fronts, bus benches, billboards, neon signs, and murals all helped resurrect the psychedelic era. Extras dressed in vintage garb and hair shuffled down the boulevard. It was a transporting experience.

 Alison Martino
A recreation of a bus bench advertisement for the “Rosey Grier Show.”

Hundreds of residents, tourists, and Tarantino enthusiasts, watched dozens of gorgeous midcentury vehicles, old RTD busses, and a powder blue Karmann Ghia driven at top speed by Pitt himself, drive backwards and forwards, with Tarantino and cinematographer, Bob Richardson alongside.

 Alison Martino
More backdrops: a TV appliance store with old televisions.

Another scene was a slower driving sequence with Brad and Leo in the front seat of a creamed colored Caddy, very similar to the one Mr. Blonde drove in Reservoir Dogs. The crowd screamed like teenagers as the two drove past several times, waving to the onlookers between takes.

Tarantino sported a Dashiki shirt, bandana, and pipe as he directed the two in front, while being towed by a process trailer. To see the man in action at the epicenter of Hollywood Boulevard was a far out scene.

It felt like a Vintage Los Angeles amusement park. What struck me the most is the practical demand of shooting on Hollywood Boulevard. I can imagine a world, in which for whatever reason Tarantino had been denied filming on the actual boulevard, he may never have made this movie.

Before coming to the boulevard, he recreated a Taco Bell in Tustin from one of its original adobe structures, then he used the Cinerama Dome featuring the film Krakatoa East of Java.

Over the next several months, Once Upon a Time In Hollywood might transform a neighborhood near you. My only wish is that they leave it all up when the movie wraps.


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