Curbed LA: All Posts by Eve Bachrach Love where you live 2013-10-11T19:00:45-07:00 2013-10-11T19:00:45-07:00 2013-10-11T19:00:45-07:00 Romney Finally Won Something: Permission For a Giant House <img alt="" src="" /> <p>At long last <strong>Mitt Romney</strong> has permission to build an 11,000-square-foot mansion on the beach in La Jolla, with a campaign-troubling <strong>car elevator</strong> and all, <a href=",0,3597073.story">reports the <em>LA Times</em></a>. San Diego had already approved the failed presidential candidate's plan to demolish a 3,000-square-foot house that he bought back in 2008 and replace it with a much larger two-story house with a ginormous <strong>4,500-square-foot basement</strong>, but neighbors complained to the California Coastal Commission that the approval was invalid. They alleged that the maximum square footage allowed for the site was improperly calculated because the calculations included part of the publicly-owned beach in front of the house. A handful of commissioners agreed, and one took issue with the basement not being strictly underground (it's built into a hillside), but they were outvoted and the Romneys are now free to build their behemoth, which is more than <strong>four times larger</strong> than the median house in the area. Meanwhile one neighbor is sure <a href="">all the fuss in the neighborhood</a> is just some controversy ginned up by dirty hippies: "The neighbors whose letters you mentioned didn't vote for Gov. Romney and in fact represent the <strong>radical left wing</strong>," explains totally unbiased neighbor/Romney bundler David Sear.<br>· <a href=",0,3597073.story">Coastal Commission says the Romneys can build La Jolla dream home</a> [LAT]</p> Eve Bachrach 2013-10-11T17:40:28-07:00 2013-10-11T17:40:28-07:00 Harvard-Westlake Terrifying Neighbors With Big Garage Plan <img alt="" src="" /> <p>Even after paying the exorbitant tuition, it seems that parents of students at fancy private school <strong>Harvard-Westlake</strong> still have money left over to buy their kids cars. And those kids need a place to park those cars. So the school cooked up a plan to grade the hillside across Coldwater Canyon from its entrance to build a three-story parking garage, topped with a new playing field, and linked to the campus via a <strong>41-foot high pedestrian bridge</strong>, which they're billing as a "gateway" to Studio City. The school says they need the parking spaces to accommodate all the new staff they've hired, and to stop students from clogging up the neighboring streets.</p> <p> The neighbors, however, think if they build it, everyone's going to die. Or at least some people: "I think there's a <strong>risk of human life</strong> and property, because of this massive engineering project," a cofounder of Save Coldwater Canyon! <a href="">told the <em>Daily News</em></a>. They're also not at all happy with the 10 84-foot lighting towers that would illuminate the playing field during the week, or the 13,500 truck trips necessary to haul away all that hillside dirt. The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy is also against the plan. City Councilmember Paul Krekorian, who reps the area, is predictably measured, saying he hopes the developer will be "thoughtful." And what about that rare bird, a canyon-dwelling H-W parent? The <em>DN</em> found one and she is pro parking structure. The 45-day public comment period on the project began yesterday, though it may be extended.<br>· <a href="">Harvard-Westlake garage plan sets off controversy</a> [Daily News]</p> Eve Bachrach 2013-10-11T16:06:46-07:00 2013-10-11T16:06:46-07:00 Handsome SaMo Craftsman On Half Acre Asking $8.495MM <img alt="" src="" /> <p></p> <p><br> Well this is lovely: a 1912 Craftsman in beautiful condition has just hit the market. Sitting on half an acre, the four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bathroom house is a roomy 4,645 square feet, with formal entertaining rooms, family room, eat-in kitchen, master suite with a fireplace, and "front porch along with Batchelder and Malibu tiles, oak flooring and moldings [that] are hallmarks of the original architecture." The garden sports "mature trees, pool/spa, barbeque, outdoors shower, dream tree house &amp; separate guesthouse." There's also detailing in the office that creates a perfect Pez dispenser collection display, showing the timeless nature of early twentieth century architecture. Last sold in 1996 for $3.1 million, it's now listed for <strong>$8.495 million</strong>.</p> <p> · <a href="">607 Georgina Ave.</a> [Estately]</p> Eve Bachrach 2013-10-10T19:41:24-07:00 2013-10-10T19:41:24-07:00 New Renderings Revealed For DTLA's Macy's Fortress Makeover <img alt="" src="" /> <p></p> <p><br> Downtown LA's <strong>The Bloc</strong> (formerly known as Macy's Plaza or Macy's Fortress) is set to begin its huge makeover in the first few months of 2014, and developer Ratkovich Company has just released new renderings showing, as promised, a much more pedestrian-friendly building in place of the existing brick fortress. As we noted when the <a href="">previous round of renderings</a> came out, the Seventh Street entrance is the big winner in the makeover derby, but now we have a better idea of what will happen on the other four sides--it doesn't look like there's much by way of street activation there, but the Hope and Flower facades will at least get some windows to make them a little less pedestrian-repelling. All told, the $160 million renovation will turn The Bloc into the largest single mixed-use property in the city, with a renovated 485-room Sheraton, 750,000-square-foot luxury office tower, and more than 400,000 square feet of retail and outdoor space that "will provide a curated experience of local boutiques, artisans, premier retailers, and restaurants." Ooh, curated. Work should be done in the fall of 2015.</p> <p> · <a href="">Here's the Open New Look For Downtown's Macy's Fortress</a> [Curbed LA]</p> Eve Bachrach 2013-10-10T15:23:14-07:00 2013-10-10T15:23:14-07:00 Plans On the Way For Hollywood's 101 Freeway Cap Park <img alt="" src="" /> <p>Plans to put a park over a stretch of the 101 Freeway in Downtown took a <a href="">big step forward last month</a>, and now similar plans to <strong>cap the freeway</strong> in Hollywood are about to move forward, too. <a href=""><em>Park La Brea News</em> checked in</a> with cap park advocates Friends of Hollywood Central Park and finds they're hoping to announce a project description for the park in less than a month, and conduct the environmental impact report process in 2014. The EIR was due to be paid for by the now-defunct Community Redevelopment Agency, but will now be funded by a grant from the Eileen Getty Foundation and the city. And then all that's left is the small matter of lining up the <strong>$725 million</strong> to build it--FHCP has been working with state and federal officials to identify available grants. If all goes well, it could set off a miniwave of Southern California <a href="">cap parks</a>--several plans have been floated in recent years. In addition to the two over the 101, there are similar proposals for Glendale and Ventura, and two in Santa Monica. Now if only we could get that <a href="">cat park going</a>...<br>· <a href="">Freeway park proposal ready to hit rush hour</a> [PLBN]<br>· <a href="">Hollywood Central Park Archives</a> [Curbed LA]</p> Eve Bachrach 2013-10-10T11:38:12-07:00 2013-10-10T11:38:12-07:00 Average LA Family Can Only Afford 24% Of Houses On LA Market <img alt="" src="" /> <p>Good news, Eric Garcetti! LA's already well on its way to becoming the unaffordable playground for the rich <a href="">you so admire on the East Coast</a>. In August we learned that <a href="">only 37 percent of LA families</a> could afford to buy a median-priced home in the county. Now comes an even <a href=",0,1260288,full.story">grimmer statistic</a> from the <em>LA Times</em> (courtesy Trulia): a household that earns the county's median income can afford only <strong>24 percent</strong> of homes on the market today. That's way way down from last year, when 39 percent were affordable, and even <strong>less affordable than the New York metro area</strong>. The San Gabriel Valley and the Westside are among the priciest places in the county--only 12 and 16 percent of homes are affordable there, respectively. In central LA it jumps to 30 percent. And then there's always Lancaster. The numbers come from a new study by real estate site Trulia, which took the area's median income--<strong>$53,001</strong> last year--and figured that would allow a buyer to spend <strong>$271,000</strong> on a house (assuming they put 20 percent down). That was never going to buy you a castle in LA, but it gets you even less after a year of soaring prices. "The housing recovery has benefited some people more than others. A lot of the income gains in recent years have gone to the top percentage of households," Trulia's chief economist said. Which is great, because if any segment of society should enjoy the potential social, community, and economic benefits of homeownership, it's the rich. <br>· <a href=",0,1260288,full.story">L.A. County is among least affordable housing markets</a> [LAT]<br>· <a href="">Affordability Archives</a> [Curbed LA]</p> Eve Bachrach 2013-10-09T19:49:29-07:00 2013-10-09T19:49:29-07:00 Tourism Improvement Districts <img alt="" src="" /> <p></p> <p><a href="">The West Hollywood City Council has voted to create a Tourism Improvement District to boost the city's marketing efforts, but one member wanted to exclude some hotels.</a> "If we're going to be dedicating an additional $2 million to promote these hotels, we should be insisting that the maids and the busboys and the other employees there are getting a wage of $9, $10, whatever our <strong>living wage</strong> ordinance requires right now," said John Heilman. He can insist all he wants, but it turns out that would be illegal, since all hotels are required to contribute to the TID. (And the living wage is $13.19 if no benefits are provided.) [Wehoville]</p> Eve Bachrach 2013-10-09T18:26:32-07:00 2013-10-09T18:26:32-07:00 Formerly Very Blue Glassell Park House Flipped For $769k <img alt="" src="" /> <p></p> <p><br> This Glassell Park house was very robin's egg blue when <a href="">it sold</a> for <strong>$475,000</strong> in June--and the old listing had no interior pictures, so we can only assume it was a real wreck. But the three-bedroom, two-bathroom Spanish is back, all prettied up, a much more reasonable shade, restored, and with all the bells and whistles you'd expect in a Northeast LA flip. There are "hardwood floors, stenciled beam ceilings, formal dining room with vintage lighting," and a perfectly fine kitchen with those familiar gray stone counters--the listing calls it a "chef's kitchen," which makes us wonder what <em>isn't</em> a chef's kitchen these days. One without a stove? The 1,561-square-foot house has a nice grassy little yard out back, and is asking <strong>$769,000</strong>. If that sounds like a lot, rest assured that it's "one of the finest Spanish homes in the area," according to the listing.</p> <p> · <a href="">3700 West Avenue 40</a> [Redfin]</p> Eve Bachrach 2013-10-09T12:29:20-07:00 2013-10-09T12:29:20-07:00 Toxic Malibu High School Might Be Giving Staffers Cancer <img alt="" src="" /> <p>Well this is depressing: a chemical cocktail at <strong>Malibu High School</strong> is being blamed for a <strong>cancer cluster</strong> among staffers there, in addition to other health problems like migraines and rashes. "Parents and teachers point to a 2011 effort to remove over a thousand cubic yards of soil contaminated with PCBs, pesticides and hazardous materials," <a href="">explains the <em>Santa Monica Daily Press</em></a>, which says that most of the troublesome classrooms are overdue for a renovation--overdue because the project has been held up by "appeals from neighbors." Way to give teachers cancer, NIMBYs. Parents, meanwhile, are freaking out about their kids' exposure and have demanded that students be relocated. The district obliged, and has hired an environmental firm to assess the contamination and determine whether it really is behind the cancer cluster. This kind of swift action is exactly what we haven't seen in response to recent public health nightmares in South LA, in Vernon around the <a href="">Exide battery recycling facility</a> and the <a href="">Allenco drilling operation</a> in University Heights. Weird.<br>· <a href="">Malibu students relocating over cancer scare</a> [SMDP]</p> Eve Bachrach 2013-10-08T18:44:00-07:00 2013-10-08T18:44:00-07:00 Monster Spec House That Started Bev Hills Beef Asking $36MM <img alt="" src="" /> <p></p> <p><br> <a href="">Back in 2010</a> we heard about a neighbor-on-neighbor lawsuit on Laurel Way in Beverly Hills--developer Papcap Laurel Way LLC (aka businessman Richard Papalian) got permission from the city to demolish 50 percent of the house he was renovating, but he rounded that up to <strong>90 percent</strong> instead, and he started building to 23 feet high when the limit was 14 feet. Papalian claimed he had verbal permission from the city for both changes, which the city disputed. Bygones, we guess! The (enormous) house is done now, and listed on <a href="">The Agency's website</a> (but not in the MLS). From the <a href=""><em>Wall Street Journal</em> we learn</a> that the 11,000-square-foot house has six bedrooms; 10 bathrooms; master suite with bar, a deck, and six-person jacuzzi with fire feature; screening room; 1,000-bottle wine cellar; and glass-walled, six-car garage (One spot for each jacuzzi occupant? Thoughtful.). The outdoor space has an infinity pool, firepit, a water feature that looks like a lap pool, a tiny-looking little putting green, and serious views "that inspired a team to build a home like no other with the utmost integrity," according to the listing. It's huge, glassy, insane, comes fully furnished, and is asking <strong>$36 million</strong>.</p> <p> · <a href="">Nine West Co-Founder Asks $49.5 Million for Hamptons Home</a> [WSJ]<br>· <a href="">1201 Laurel Way</a> [The Agency]</p> Eve Bachrach