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Developer of Metropolitan Water District site to file plans for megaproject

By Dennis Lynch for Los Angeles Times | Read the original article here

A $600 million mixed-use project north of Downtown is inching closer to reality.

Palisades Capital Partners is expected to file an application with city officials for its $600 million, mixed-use complex at 1111 West Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park on Thursday, according to the Los Angeles Times. The property would rise on 5.5 acres at the former headquarters of the Metropolitan Water District on Sunset Boulevard near the interchange of Route 101 and 110.

The developer tapped Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in October for the nearly 1 million-square-foot development. The main components are two residential towers of up to 31 and 49 stories with a combination of a total of 778 apartments and condos, including 76 set aside for low-income tenants. Japanese architect Kengo Kuma is set to design a 17-story, 98-key hotel.

There will also be “low-rise bungalow residences,” retail and offices on the site. James Corner Field Operations, known for the High Line park in New York City, is designing two acres of public space that will include terraces, gardens and courtyards, according to Palisades.

The site is a hill that drops nearly 60 feet from its highest point to its lowest on Sunset Boulevard. The new development will incorporate parts of that hill. Its towers will be a distinctive landmark in the largely low-rise neighborhood, set far from the high-rises Downtown.

The Metropolitan Water District moved out of the complex in 1993 and has been sparsely occupied since, according to the Times. Palisades nabbed the property in 2015 during the bankruptcy proceedings of the former owner, Holy Hill Community Church.


Six-story apartment complex planned near Venice Boulevard in Palms

By Elijah Chiland for Curbed Los Angeles | Read the original article here

A row of single-family homes and a small triplex in Palms may soon be replaced with a six-story apartment complex, according to plans filed last week with the Los Angeles city planning department.

Located just off Venice Boulevard at 3739 South Cardiff Avenue, the project would add 74 new units of housing above an underground parking garage.

Property records show that the cluster of homes that would be razed to make way for the project were all purchased within the last year, and that an Ellis Act application was filed in February to remove the units in the triplex from the rental market.

Some of the apartments in the new building would be affordable, as the developer (listed as Frame DTCC, LLC) plans to take advantage of new incentives meant to spur the creation of affordable housing in areas close to transit stops. Less than two blocks from a bus stop, the project site is also roughly a half-mile from two different stops on Metro’s Expo Line.

It’s not clear yet exactly how many units would be affordable and what income level residents would need to earn in order to live in them.

It’s no Koreatown, but the Palms area has seen a bit of new development since the Expo Line extensionopened last year. Less than a mile from this project, another six-story complex is in the works near the Sony Pictures Studios lot. Yet another six-story development would bring 41 units to Overland Avenue.


7 ways LA tried to solve its housing crisis in 2017

By Elijah Chiland for Curbed Los Angeles | Read the original article here

The lack of affordable housing in Los Angeles has become a difficult issue to ignore. With thousands of new units needed to meet demand (one recent study found a shortfall of 551,807 affordable residences), rents are rising steadily and many longtime residents feeling compelled to look for housing elsewhere.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin recently described the affordable housing shortage an “existential crisis” for the city—one that threatens the very concept of what Los Angeles is to many residents.

It’s not surprising, then, that the topic of housing dominated discussion at City Hall and beyond throughout the year.

Amid all the debate, several key pieces of legislation moved forward that could have major impacts on how affordable housing is built and maintained across the city.

Here are seven of the most significant developments:

1. Linkage Fees

Approved by the City Council just last week, these fees charged to developers are expected to produce up to $104.4 million per year that could be used to construct or maintain between 1,699 and 1,767 units of affordable housing annually.

What remains to be seen is the effect they’ll have on construction of new projects. Prior to the vote, some business groups argued that developers would simply stop building if the fees were imposed—though the fee structure settled on by the council was far leaner than what an economic report suggested could be charged.

The new ordinance will also take a while to produce funds for new housing. Thanks to a long phase-in, the full fees won’t be collected for another 16 months.

2. New incentives

Thanks to Measure JJJ, the ballot initiative approved by Los Angeles voters last year, new incentives went into effect this fall encouraging development of affordable housing close to transit stops.

The incentives vary based on the number and type of transit stops that are close to a project (bonus points for being less than 750 feet from a rail station), but reward developers for making a percentage of units available to low- or moderate-income renters.

So far, the incentives have proven fairly popular; since September, developers have filed plans for 13 projects that make use of them, according to Cheryl Getuiza, planning department spokesperson.

3. Preventing the loss of rent-controlled units

LA officials made it a bit harder for landlords to remove rent-controlled units from the housing market earlier this year.

Under new rules, property owners planning to tear down and replace buildings protected by the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance will have to make an equal number, or 20 percent (whichever is larger), of units in the new building affordable.

They’ll also have to provide annual updates to the city on the status of units pulled from the market through California’s Ellis Act, which allows landlords to evict tenants when demolishing buildings or undertaking condo conversions.

4. Fast-tracking projects for the homeless

In August, the planning department proposed new guidelines for development of permanent supportive housing aimed at homeless and formerly homeless residents.

Under these rules, such projects would be subject to a streamlined review process that would save developers time and money.

Eligible projects (those containing only affordable units, with at least half set aside for homeless residents) would also benefit from rules allowing them to be more dense and have a bit less parking than similar market rate developments.

5. Funding projects for the homeless

Last year, Los Angeles voters approved $1.2 billion in funding for construction of 10,000 permanent supportive units over the next 10 years.

On Wednesday, construction began on the first of those projects. It’ll add 122 affordable units to a two-phase development in East Hollywood.

6. “Value Capture”

Measure JJJ placed new requirements on developers, mandating a percentage of affordable units for projects that go beyond the scope of what local zoning rules allow.

New rules passed by the council last week fill in a few gaps left by Measure JJJ and expand the number of projects that would be affected by these affordable housing requirements (developers seeking a conditional use permit or a height change permit would now be subject to them, for instance).

The new ordinance also ensures that developments replacing previous apartment or condo buildings add more units than they take away.

7. Measure H

LA County residents committed new resources to the fight against rising levels of homelessness when they approved Measure H in March. Among the 47 strategies that the measure will fund are the development of new short-term housing facilities that will keep people sheltered while they are looking for a permanent residence and a rapid rehousing program that provides badly needed rental assistance to those who might otherwise be forced onto the street.


Kofi & Mimi Nartey Named to Angeleno Magazine’s Power Couples of 2018

Read the original article here

A devotion to sports, entrepreneurship, cultural diversity, and giving is at the heart of Mimi and Kofi’s dynamic partnership. Both born in the United States to American mothers and Ghanaian fathers, Kofi and Mimi met while she was playing soccer for Ghana’s 2003 Women’s Team at the FIFA World Cup in Los Angeles, and his father hosted a team dinner. “A day or two after that dinner, I was asked to do an interview with the Los Angeles Times,” Mimi remembers. “About 10 minutes into the interview, the reporter revealed himself to be Kofi playing a practical joke! He got me with his sense of humor!” Kofi Nartey, MBA, played football at UC Berkeley and also spent ten years as an actor before becoming National Director of the Compass Sports and Entertainment Division. Dr. Mimi Nartey is an accomplished athlete, model, and Columbia University graduate who is an Adjunct Professor of Sustainability at Occidental College and Loyola Marymount University. She is also the Founder and CEO of Race, Class and Parenting.

This talented and ambitious duo combine their strengths, compassion and humor to reach their potential, which is key to their success at work and in life. “The fact that we both appreciate diversity of thought and experience is our unifying bond,” Mimi says. “Kofi gives our family wings, while I give us roots.” “Our sports backgrounds make us a team,” Kofi adds. “We flow seamlessly together through our various identities: Some days we are Barack and Michelle; some days we are Jay-Z and Beyonce.” Mimi and Kofi work hard to instill humanity and a sense of fun into their family. “Every year we celebrate our children’s birthday parties in the theme of a different culture. We’ve had everything from an English tea party to a Brazilian Carnival with Samba dancers,” Mimi reports. “We parent from a social justice and inclusion perspective.” This year, the couple launched the Nartey Sports Foundation to support sports-related interventions for underserved youth.


Neighborhood Spotlight: Manhattan Beach

By Scott Garner for Los Angeles Times | Read the original article here

Long before the first Europeans set foot on the shores of Santa Monica Bay, it was, from the mouth of Ballona Creek southward, fronted by massive sand dunes.

The Spanish called the area Rancho Sausal Redondo, meaning “round clump of willows,” although there were no willows and precious few trees where the city of Manhattan Beach now stands.

Although it was in a remote region far from the growing city of Los Angeles, in the late 19th century the area began to attract a few hardy pioneers who built cottages atop the windblown dunes, which offered broad, unbroken ocean vistas.

Development of the shore proceeded at a glacial pace until the Santa Fe railroad ran a spur to nearby Redondo Beach, which made travel to the area more convenient.

A few years later, the forerunner of the Pacific Electric Railway would also run a line down the coast, bringing in even more visitors to what was then known as “Manhattan” — so named as a tribute from one of its founders to his home city thousands of miles to the east.

From the beginning, the town struggled with its dunes. Extensive wooden boardwalks were laid out, as traditional sidewalks were quickly buried by the shifting sand. Windstorms would push the stuff against the ocean-facing fronts of the homes and businesses of the town, sometimes piling in drifts high enough to reach the tops of the lampposts lining the Strand.

Finally, contractors were brought in to cart the troublesome silicate away. Much of it was shipped to Hawaii to broaden Waikiki Beach; the floor of the Los Angeles Coliseum and the roadbed of Pacific Coast Highway were also built on Manhattan Beach’s surplus sand.

The taming of the dunes thus complete, Manhattan Beach was free to grow. The oil refineries to its north offered local employment, which increased the number of year-round residents. World War II and the resultant rise of the Westside and South Bay as dominant players in Southern California’s aerospace industry brought even more well-paying jobs to surrounding areas.

That relative affluence has given way to stupendous levels of wealth, with the median home price in Manhattan Beach topping $2.5 million.

Neighborhood highlights
Upscale beachy vibes: With its famous Strand and pier, Manhattan Beach is the quintessential oceanside living experience, for those who can afford it.

Spot a sports star: Lakers Coach Luke Walton, Kings goalie Jonathan Quick and volleyball Olympian Kerri Walsh Jennings are just a few of the pro athletes who call Manhattan Beach home.

Fine dining: The seafood joints are as good as you would expect from a beach town, but the culinary scene goes well beyond the catch of the day.

Neighborhood challenge
Those prices: There are more expensive oceanside communities in the Southland (hello, Malibu!) but Manhattan Beach is still unaffordable to all but the wealthiest among us.

Expert insight
Robb Stroyke of Stroyke Properties has been operating in Manhattan Beach for 30 years and said Interstate 105 has changed the culture of the city.

“Before the freeway, Manhattan Beach was a bedroom community filled with lots of service workers living in small homes built after WWII,” Stroyke said. “But since the 105 made access to downtown so easy, we’ve had an influx of wealthier financial service workers move in.”

The 105 even affects home values, as houses near the highway are generally much more valuable than their counterparts of the same square footage across town.

Whereas its neighbors, such as Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach, function as beach towns, Stroyke said, Manhattan Beach is more of a beach city, with commuters from the finance and tech industries mingling with retirees and families.

Market snapshot
In the 90266 ZIP Code, based on 28 sales, the median sales price in August for single-family homes was $2,550,000, according to CoreLogic. That’s a 43.5% increase in median sales price year over year.

Report card
Each of the seven public schools within the Manhattan Beach boundaries scored above 900 in the 2013 Academic Performance Index. Pacific Elementary scored 968, and Grand View Elementary scored 966. Mira Costa High scored 912.


Spotlight: Villa Capistrano

By Benjamin Sidon for Sellebrity | Read the original article here

With a history dating to 1776, the California city of San Juan Capistrano – perched between Los Angeles and San Diego – is one of the state’s oldest, most beautiful and most diverse communities. Many of the city’s homes pay architectural homage to Mission San Juan Capistrano, the city’s namesake…but none more dramatically or luxuriously than Villa Capistrano, located at 26162 Calle Roberto.

Purchased by Hollywood screenwriter Steve Oedekerk (whose credits include the Ace Ventura films, Evan Almighty and Jimmy Neutron) and his wife Tonie in 1997, the lush two-acre estate features an impeccably detailed 10,400 sq ft main home filled to the brim with unique amenities. A Spanish courtyard-themed home theater (complete with a star-filled night sky), a vaulted game room with raised karaoke stage and a soaring, 2-story living room that recalls a 5-star hotel lobby solidify Villa Capistrano as one of the state’s most distinctive and luxurious homes.

But it’s what’s outside the main house that truly amazes. Towards the back of the property sits The Clubhouse, a soaring, airy 3,222 sq ft live/work space that wouldn’t be out of place on a tech campus. Designed for film/television collaboration, The Clubhouse’s work space (with twin 25-ft desks) blends with a meeting area, a lounge, a kitchen, a dining space and a game room….all with tranquil views of Villa Capistrano’s resort-like outdoor space.

There’s no better place to enjoy San Juan Capistrano’s famed Southern California weather than  the estate’s 2+ acres of relaxation. Covered, arched patios extend from the main home and encompass romantic seating areas and an outdoor kitchen with pizza oven; beyond them you’ll find a breathtaking, brick-lined Spanish pool & spa, dramatically accented with flaming terra cotta bowls.

But that’s not all. Between the wings of the main home is a private, tree-lined courtyard with a peaceful fountain….perfect for large-scale entertaining. But your guests needn’t feel confined to one space; wandering the beautifully landscaped grounds reveals a picturesque fire pit, as well as a stately, heated gazebo.  And should the need for exercise arise, your own lighted tennis court and basketball court await…to say nothing of the property’s two workout rooms.

Villa Capistrano is truly one-of-a-kind, and its luxury and sophistication are unparalleled. The estate is offered at $9,995,000 by Kofi Nartey of Compass and Tracy Weintraub of Surterre Properties.


Neighborhood Spotlight: West Adams lures with its architecture, small-town vibe

By Scott Garner for Los Angeles Times | Read the original article here

No discussion of the history of West Adams can be complete without drawing a distinction between the district of mansions that make up the heart of Historic West Adams, and the relatively newly designated neighborhood to its west that shares its name.

Whereas Historic West Adams is a close-in suburb dating from the 1880s, the bulk of the “new” West Adams neighborhood was developed in the 1920s, on a wide swath of land between two major east-west streetcar routes: the Los Angeles Railway West Adams Boulevard line and the Pacific Electric Santa Monica Air Line (the Expo Line’s predecessor).

The lines traversed an agricultural no man's land. It wasn’t a destination, just a series of farms and marshes on the way to Culver City or the beach resorts of Santa Monica and Venice of America.

But as the city expanded westward in the 1920s, the lima bean fields were plowed under and the swampland drained to make room for homes. The new arrivals were drawn to the city by plentiful work in the region’s booming manufacturing, petroleum and construction industries.

The dream of homeownership for Angelenos of more modest means was born here in West Adams and the other neighborhoods built across the city in the 1920s. The old model of homeownership — one that depended on enormous wealth, as typified by Historic West Adams and its baroque palaces — was swept away.

Affordable land and the cheaper, more easily replicated design of tract homes made it possible for almost anyone to buy a home and still have enough left over to purchase a car to go in its driveway. The boom of the 1920s became the template for all succeeding booms, save the current explosion in high-rise residential developments.

That template and the dream it represented forever changed L.A. The streetcar lines were ripped up, and entire neighborhoods were bulldozed to make way for freeways as the city expanded further and further out in the pursuit of more cheap land to build more subdivisions.

The housing bust put an end to that era, as the development of the far-flung suburbs of Riverside County was swamped by a wave of foreclosures. Close-in homes are again in demand, and West Adams seems poised to be the next L.A. neighborhood to watch as those horizontal flipper fences go up, and prices follow.

Neighborhood highlights
Culver City-adjacent: West Adams offers relatively reasonable prices right next door to this booming tech hub, and the Expo Line makes commuting a breeze.

Parks and rec: With easy access to Kenneth Hahn Park, the Ballona Creek Bike Path and the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, West Adams is a great choice for outdoors enthusiasts.

Culinary delights: Whether you crave soul food, down-home barbecue, pupusas or tacos, there is a place in West Adams for you.

Neighborhood challenge
A boom for some, a bust for others: The neighborhood seems certain to change as commercial development at its margins increases, making it more attractive to new buyers.

Expert insight
David Raposa of City Living Realty has been working in West Adams for 32 years and said the beautiful architecture brings people in, and the small-town neighborly vibe makes them stay.

“The homes and streets here have context; they’re more than just a box of square footage,” Raposa said. “But at the same time, the people here know each other’s names.”

During the last half decade, new restaurants have been slowly popping up alongside historic neighborhood staples, but Raposa said there’s enough room for all to coexist. He said desirable properties usually net multiple offers, so prospective buyers need to be in a strong financial position to land a home.

“Sometimes, even writing a letter to the seller can be a good idea,” Raposa said. “Prove your dedication to the house and the neighborhood.”

Market snapshot
In the 90016 ZIP Code, based on 21 sales, the median sales price in July for single-family homes was $645,000, according to CoreLogic. That was a 2.4% increase in median sales price year over year.

Report card
Schools inside the West Adams boundary include Marvin Elementary and Cienega Elementary, which scored 794 and 792, respectively, in the 2013 Academic Performance Index.

Bright spots in the area include Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies, which scored 897, and Baldwin Hills Elementary, which scored 864. Alta Loma Elementary scored 763.


Manhattan Beach mall makeover finally moving forward


By Elijah Chiland for Curbed Los Angeles | Read the original article here

In the works for over a decade, a major overhaul planned for the 44-acre Manhattan Village Shopping Center in Manhattan Beach may be on its way to fruition.

The Daily Breeze reports that a lawsuit filed by opponents of the project in 2014 was settled earlier this month, after the city approved alternate construction plans in June. A separate appeal of the project from neighboring businesses was rejected by the Manhattan Beach City Council last week.

With these challenges out of the way, the redevelopment—which is expected to be complete by 2020—can get underway.

The planned renovations will transform the northern and central portions of the shopping mall, razing more than 70,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space to make way for 194,644 square feet of new construction.

Developer RREEF plans to give the mall a more free-flowing feel, with a “village” of open-air shops connecting visitors to the enclosed portion of the mall. Major updates include an expansion of the Macy’s store on site and the demolition and relocation of a California Pizza Kitchen.

Plans also call for a lot more parking, with new on-site lots providing between 463 and 749 new spaces.

The Manhattan Beach City Council initially approved the project three years ago, but appeals and other delays have held up work on the mall’s big update.


Neighborhood Spotlight: Glassell Park’s future looks greener and livelier


By Scott Garner for Los Angeles Times | Read the original article here

The massive, 36,000-acre Rancho San Rafael — a gift from the Spanish governor of California to Jose Maria Verdugo in 1784 — can fairly be called the mother of Northeast Los Angeles.

The neighborhoods that were carved from the hilly, scenic expanse of land to the east of the L.A. River include Atwater Village, Highland Park, Eagle Rock and Glassell Park.

Lost by the Verdugo family in foreclosure proceedings and snapped up by Andrew Glassell and Alfred Chapman — two Southern lawyers who had made their way west in the years before the Civil War — the rancho was then split by the men into 31 separate tracts in the Great Partition of 1871.

Glassell and Chapman ended up with fewer than 6,000 acres on the eastern banks of the rio, where the narrow alluvial plains of the Elysian Valley give way to the rolling landscape of the San Rafael Hills. Glassell built a hilltop home for himself and his family on the current site of Washington Irving Middle School and in 1888 founded the agricultural city of Orange.

When Glassell died in 1901, his family began selling off chunks of his holdings (in the 1920s they would sell the land that would become Forest Lawn), and as investors snapped up the acres they began to develop the tract that would bear his name.

Modest Craftsman bungalows began to sprout up along winding streets named after Glassell’s children, and in 1912 the burgeoning hillside community was annexed by the city of Los Angeles.

Because it was served by the Los Angeles Railway’s Eagle Rock line, the neighborhood was a convenient location for commuters who worked downtown or in the rail yards just north of the city. In 1923, the opening of the Southern Pacific Railroad’s Taylor Yard boosted growth in Glassell Park and further reinforced the neighborhood’s ties to the railroad.

Construction of the 2 Freeway, which cut the neighborhood in two in the early 1950s, signaled a shift to the suburbs that was taking place across the city. As many earlier residents followed the freeways out into the valleys (San Fernando and San Gabriel), Glassell Park became a popular destination for newly arrived immigrants from Latin America.

Today, Glassell Park is facing the demographic changes that come in the wake of increased property values and redevelopment of its historic homes and commercial corridors.

Neighborhood highlights
Bungalow heaven: Glassell Park’s charming bungalows and hillside vistas are a big draw for home buyers looking for historic character and classic California living.

Riverside: The old Taylor Yard has been transformed into Rio de Los Angeles State Park, and the city’s river revitalization project aims to reclaim even more land for green space.

Good eats: In keeping with its rustic roots, Glassell Park is home to a number of eateries that serve hearty, unpretentious offerings of everything from tamales to pub fare.

Neighborhood challenge
Managing change: As the Glassell Park real estate market heats up, the neighborhood could become the latest to wrestle with managing the effects of gentrification.

Expert insight
Alyssa Valentine, a listing agent with Courtney + Kurt Real Estate, has been working in Glassell Park for 11 years. She said she has recently noticed excitement brewing in the community.

“Glassell Park lacks some of the big commercial corridors of its neighbors like Highland Park and Mount Washington, so it’s traditionally been a sleepier area with a residential vibe,” Valentine said. “But as of late, there are more and more restaurants and cafes popping up.”

Valentine noted that there’s a wide variety of housing stock in the area. Because the value is a little better than in the surrounding neighborhoods, the market is hot.

“Glassell Park has a few pockets people aren’t as familiar with, so buyers should seek those out and be prepared to make plenty of offers,” she said.

Market snapshot
In the 90065 ZIP Code, based on 26 sales, the median sales price in July for single-family homes was $705,000, according to CoreLogic. That was a 2.8% increase in median sales price year over year.

Report card
Schools inside the boundaries include Fletcher Drive Elementary and Glassell Park Elementary, which scored 746 and 742, respectively, in the 2013 Academic Performance Index.

Bright spots in the area include Delevan Drive Elementary, which scored 915. Mount Washington Elementary scored 915, and Cerritos Elementary scored 874.


Rams stadium could have the priciest tickets in NFL history

By Elijah Chiland for Curbed Los Angeles | Read the original article here

The new Los Angeles Rams stadium, soon to be the largest in the NFL, could also be its most expensive, according to documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Still under construction in Inglewood, the stadium won’t open until 2020, but the Rams organization is already studying possible ticket prices, as well as fees associated with season ticket purchases.

According to the Times, the team is considering charging between $175,000 and $225,000 per seat for the stadium’s most expensive personal seat licenses—one-time deposits that allow fans to purchase season tickets in the future.

Those would be the highest-priced personal seat licenses in NFL history, though they would eventually be refundable—50 years from the date of purchase.

After purchasing the license, buyers would be able to acquire season tickets for between $350 and $400 per game.

Rams fans looking to spend a little less than the price of a Ferrari on season tickets won’t be out of options. Under the proposed pricing scheme, personal seat licenses for the most economical tickets would start at $500—with the actual tickets costing $50 per game.

It’s not clear yet whether Chargers fans will face similar costs. The team, which moved from San Diego to Los Angeles this year, will share the new stadium once it opens, but team executives haven’t figured out a pricing plan yet.

Plans initially called for the new stadium to open in 2019, but construction delays pushed the date back to 2020. Because of the delay, NFL team owners voted to bring the 2022 Super Bowl to Los Angeles—rather than the 2021 game, as originally planned.

Once complete, the stadium will be nearly 3 million square feet in size, with seating for 70,240 fans—and up to 100,000 people in standing-room only scenarios.

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