Unique Five-Bedroom in L.A.’s Westside Hits the Market


2492 Mandeville Canyon, Los Angeles

Just put on the market is this ultra-chic Mid-Century home in Los Angeles, which recently underwent an expansion and complete re-interpretation. It’s a fully-modernized, yet serene retreat, which the listing notes is a rarity for L.A.’s Westside.

Architect Gregory M. Crawford spearheaded the home’s makeover. In its new incarnation, the house boasts six en-suite bedrooms, five baths and 5,349 square-feet of living space. Featured in the home is Loft-like Post and Beam living, which flows smoothly into the formal dining room. There is also a chef’s kitchen, which has been remodeled, and a family/den area. A separate guest house is also on the property.

While the home is certainly magnificent, you will really be impressed with its surrounding grounds. It’s truly one of the finest settings in Los Angeles. The back yard has stunning canyon views and features a Montecito-inspired central courtyard, rolling lawns and a secret meditation garden. There’s also a private hiking path on the property.

All of it adds up to a terrific environment that’s proven to be inspirational and is perfect for the creative/artistic type.

Finally, all of this set behind impressive gates that guarantees its owners with privacy and serenity.

This home was put on the market just this week for a price of $5,995,000. According to the mortgage calculator, the estimated monthly payment is $28,621 given 20% down on a 30-year loan with a 5% interest rate.

You can find much more information on this home in L.A’s Westside, including additional pictures, by clicking Listing.

DTLA Revitalization Continues with Hotel Fig, Giannini Place

Hotel Figueroa

Giannini Place

Two historic buildings in downtown Los Angeles—Hotel Figueroa near Staples Center and Giannini Place at Olive and 7th—will each undergo major renovations as part of the ongoing makeover of L.A.’s city core.

Hotel Figueroa, which dates to the 1920s, currently serves as largely a “low-cost alternative” to foreign travelers, according to the Los Angeles Times. Plans are for it to undergo a $30 million that will restore the building’s original Spanish Mediterranean décor. The number of rooms at Hotel Figueroa will also be reduced from more than 400 to 270. One of the building’s owners, Jack vanHartesvelt, told the Times the general idea is to lighten and brighten the space .

Hotel Figueroa currently has one of the more unique decors in downtown. The Times called it “quirky” because of its “flamboyant interpretation of Moroccan style.” Work on the renovation project is slated to begin in November and be finished in about a year.

As for Giannini Place, the former Bank of Italy (now Bank of America) building will be transformed into a “hip hotel.” Giannini Place was built in 1923 and was considered perhaps the most opulent building in Los Angeles with its ornate gold ceiling, marble floors and Doric columns. However, it fell into disrepair in recent decades and has lately been identified by architect as one of L.A.’s 10 biggest eyesores.

The New York-based development firm Sydell Group purchased Giannini Place for $39 million and will spearhead the renovations. Plans call for there to be 250 guest rooms, a “living room” lobby on the first floor, rooftop deck, bar and restaurant.

The project should take about a year to complete.

The renaissance that is underway in downtown Los Angeles is truly remarkable, especially for those around long enough to remember how completely different it once was. Giannini Place and Hotel Figueroa will be just the latest to enter the 21st century.

Buyer Sought for Unique and Stylish House in Sherman Oaks

sherman oaks homes for sale

14820 Valley Vista Sherman Oaks

This large, gated residence in Sherman Oaks offers up a slice of traditional East Coast style and sophistication. You will find things like English gardens, lounging patios, a classy front veranda; in short, this home is full of unique character ad qualities.

Originally built in 1940, this house in Sherman Oaks comes with five bedrooms, three baths and 3,769 square-feet of living space. There is also a detached home gym and artist studio.

As for the residence, it has a welcoming veranda to greet residents. There are also an array of interior features, including hardwood floors, high wood beamed ceilings, built-in bookcases and French doors.

This home’s high square-footage allows for things like a spacious living room with mantled fireplace, and which opens to a patio with views; a formal dining room and large family room with a second fireplace.

As for the kitchen, it is a large country-style delight. There is a great room with center island and a breakfast room, all of which come with high ceilings and views.

This home has three secondary bedrooms, as well as a home office that could be used as a large fifth bedroom. The master suite, which is upstairs, has a sitting area, custom closets, private bath with dual vanities, as well as high ceilings and sky lights.

The grounds of this property are park-like with rolling lawns and gardens. For the golfers out there, there is also a putting green to work on your game.

All of this can be yours for $2,295,000. According to the mortgage calculator, the estimated monthly payment is $12,724.79 given 20% down on a 30-year loan with a 5% interest rate.

This unique house in Sherman Oaks may be worth a further look. You can find more information here.

Billionaire Pays $32 Million for ‘On Spec’ Beverly Hills Estate

on spec mansionA nine-bedroom, 12,644 square-foot mansion in Beverly Hills that was built “on spec” has gotten a buyer. Forbes is reporting the home, which had been listed for $35 million, will be sold to billionaire financial executive Steve Cohen for approximately $32 million.

Officially there has been no comment on the sale of the estate, but sources have confirmed to Forbes that a deal is in place and Cohen will become the new owner. This would be just the latest “trophy” home for Cohen, who earned a fortune as the founder of SAC Capital Advisors. Among his holdings is a 35,0000 square-foot main house on 18 acres in Greenwich.

The Beverly Hills estate, which is located at 901 Oxford Way, was built by Los Angeles-based developer Gala Asher without a committed buyer, hence the term “on spec” or on speculation. He very nearly got his asking price from Cohen.

The main house contains nine bedrooms and 13 bathrooms. There are also two guest houses on the property, garage space for eight cars and parking for 30 cars total. Additionally, there’s a saltwater pool with waterfall and other features like underground music and color-shifting lights.

Inside the main house, amenities include a home theater and wine room.

Cohen is a bit of controversial figure in the financial world. That’s because in 2013, he pleaded guilty to insider trading with SAC Capital Advisors and agreed to $1.2 billion in fines and penalties. Forbes reports it is the largest inside-trading settlement ever.

Downtown’s Fig Central Complex to Include 3 High-Rise Towers


Artist's rendering of the $1 billion Fig Central complex (Image from Los Angeles Times)

Artist’s rendering of the $1 billion Fig Central complex (Image from Los Angeles Times)

Work has begun on the ambitious $1 billion Fig Central complex, which will be located across from Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Chinese developer Oceanwide Real Estate Group has begun demolition of the current buildings on the sprawling site. Eventually, three skyscrapers will rise from the site which will include a hotel and retail and residential space. The plan is for the 4.6-acre lot to be the “shopping section” of the L.A. Live Entertainment complex.

The Times reports Fig Central will be “decidedly upscale.” Plans are for the project to include three towers—two that will rise 40 floors and a third that will reach 49 stories. In total, there will be 450,000 square-feet of retail space, 504 condos and 183 hotel rooms.

Construction is scheduled to take three years.

Adding retail to downtown’s South Park neighborhood is described as being “critically important.” Currently, the area is dominated by restaurants and event venues.

Oceanwide bought the land for Fig Central for $200 million last year, the Times reports.

This project is the latest move into downtown Los Angeles by Chinese developers. The Times reports wealthy Chinese individuals and developers are drawn to the area because land is much cheaper than in their native country.

The architect for Fig Central told the Times the complex will be designed to encourage pedestrian activity. This will include a two-level, open air galleria about mid-block on Figueroa Street. There will also be front-facing shops and public paseos throughout the project.


Buying Newly-Constructed Homes Comes with Plenty of Benefits

new constructionThe prospect of buying a newly-built home is appealing to most people. While affordability can become an issue with newly-constructed homes—you can expect to pay a premium for the privilege—it could in the long run be the best financial deal out there.

Why is that? Over at Totalmortgage.com they answer the question. Here are what it calls the four benefits to buying new construction:

  1. You can customize your home before moving in
  2. You get a home warranty
  3. Maintenance costs are lower
  4. Builder incentives

When buying new construction you are able to customize the home to your liking. In contrast, when buying a previously-owned home you might have to pay thousands of dollars to bring it up to your standards and make it your own. That expense is not necessary with a new home.

One of the best benefits of new construction homes is you receive a home warranty for a year. Any problem and the builder will return to fix the issue at no cost. When buying an older home, you will have a home inspection but there’s is no guarantee the inspector will find every issue. Then, weeks or months down the line if you notice something it is your responsibility to pay to have it fixed.

Obviously, new construction homes would expect to have much lower maintenance costs, especially during the early years, simply because of the newness. There will be no need to replace carpeting, the roof, windows and the like for several years.

Finally, with new construction homes you will often receive builder incentives. Builders want to draw interest to their new creations and do so by offering certain concessions, which could include paid closing costs, or even paid association fees if you buy in a condo community.

So as you can see, even though you might have to pay a higher sticker price for a new construction home, there are plenty of benefits that could make it a sound financial decision.

Google Expands Presence in L.A. with Purchase of Huge Lot


Google could house up to 6,000 employees at this property in Playa Vista.

Google Inc., which until recently had a mere minor presence in Los Angeles, is greatly expanding its footprint in the region with the purchase of 12 vacant acres in the Playa Vista neighborhood near Marina Del Rey. The Los Angeles Times reports the site could soon be home of up to 6,000 highly-educated Google workers.

The purchase by Google includes 900,000 square-feet of living space and is seen as a big boon to the L.A region. The land is located adjacent to the historic airplane hangar where Howard Hughes built “The Spruce Goose,” which will also be leased by Google as part of the deal In addition to the economic impact of Google coming to town, city officials said the move adds to Playa Vista’s reputation as the tech and innovation capital of Los Angeles.

Playa Vista already has offices for such tech companies as Microsoft, Facebook and ICANN.

City Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents the Playa Vista area, called the deal “phenomenal news for the Westside and for the Los Angeles community.

“It really makes and brands Playa Vista as the tech and innovation capital of Los Angeles,” Bonin told the Los Angeles Times.

Also what has city officials so excited about Google’s expansion in L.A. is that it will attract a variety of highly-skilled tech workers like engineers. The thought is many will eventually start their own ventures and that will attract more investors and developers to the region.

Google’s current present in Los Angeles is limited to a 100,000 square-foot campus in Venice that houses about 300 workers; and a 41,000 square foot video production facility in Playa Vista for its subsidiary Youtube.

Even more encouraging is more tech companies are likely to be headed to Playa Vista. None other than Internet titan Yahoo is expected to soon lease about 130,000 square-feet of office space in Playa Vista.

All this expansion will have a big impact on real estate in Playa Vista, a neighborhood of about 6,500 residents. There are about 1,200 new homes in the pipeline there and with the influx of new Google workers, additional shops and restaurants are sure to pop up in the area. According to Zillow, the median home value in Playa Vista is currently $688,200.

Downtown Los Angeles Being Transformed by Chinese Investment, Report

downtownThe wave of Chinese investment in downtown Los Angeles has reached unprecedented heights. Billions of dollars have been spent by Chinese firms this year alone on properties that dot the city’s core. And it may only be the start.

L.A. Downtown News recently took an in-depth look at the impact Chinese investors are having on the Los Angeles skyline. There are a variety of reasons downtown L.A. has become so attractive to Chinese investment, but the biggest is they see this as being on the ground-floor of a “cultural and residential renaissance in Central City,” L.A. Downtown News reports.

Here is what one market-watcher had to say about the trend:

“These investors are seeing huge opportunities to make a return,” said Michael Soto, analyst with real estate research firm Transwestern who specialized in Chinese investment in Los Angeles. “But they didn’t come in overnight. These guys have been circling the market for a while waiting to pounce.”

Here are just three of the biggest real estate deals completed by Chinese buyers in downtown L.A. within the past 12 months:

–A group from Shanghai bought the 6.33-acre Metropolis site located north of L.A. Live. The property has been “stagnant” for nearly three decades, but now plans call for a $1 billion multi-phase prject that would add three condominium towers and a 19-story hotel.

–Another investment firm bought the Luxe City Center Hotel, also near L.A. Live, and two adjacent lots for $105 million in August. Plans call for a $250-million revamping of the site.

–Finally, a firm in Beijing bought a 4.6-acre site east of Staples Center that will be the home of the Fig Central mega-project. It will include three towers, ranging from 40 to 49 stories in height, which will house condos, hotel rooms and almost 167,000 square-feet of retail space.

That’s three major project already in the pipeline with expected to be on the way. The L.A. Downtown News article explores several other topics on how and why Chinese are investing in Los Angeles. It’s well worth a read and can be accessed here.

Two-Story Loft in Hollywood Listed for $699,000

hollywood lofts for sale

6253 Hollywood Blvd. #506

Here is your chance to own a two-story loft in one of Hollywood’s iconic Art Deco buildings on the corner of Hollywood and Vine. It comes with one bedroom, two baths and 1,240 square-feet of living space.

This historic Hollywood building was originally built in 1929, but in 2007 it underwent an extensive renovation by building creatively-designed lofts. This unit boasts an open floor plan and is light filled with north/east exposure.

Among this loft’s many features are built-in shelving with a desk and closet system. Downstairs, there is an office/guestroom created by a beautiful walnut wall addition and pocket door. There is custom wallpapering, concrete floors, metal stairs and rail and exposed duct work, giving it a modern, industrial feel.

The upgraded kitchen comes with high-end Viking appliances, a breakfast island and Casesarstone countertops.

One of the best features of this loft is its location in the heart of Hollywood. The building provides views of such Hollywood landmarks as the Capital Records building and Pantages Theater. Also note the HOA for this loft includes a 24-hour front desk person and valet parking.

The list price for this loft in Hollywood is $699,000. The estimated monthly payment is $3,875.66 given 20% down on a 30-year loan with a 5% interest rate.

For more information, click here.

Survey: Luxury Buyers Prefer Hilltop Homes Over the Oceanfront

hillsThe luxury housing market in Los Angeles is well-known for its hilltop mansions and lush ocean-front estates. But what you may not have known is just how much more popular hilltop homes are than ocean-front properties among luxury homebuyers.

A recent survey by the California Association of Realtors found that of homes sold for more than $1 million statewide, 41% of purchases were of homes on a hilltop with views, while oceanfront properties made up just 10% of those same sales.

Of course, you may correctly point out there is a greater supply of hilltop homes than those located right along the coast. That would be correct, but consider that oceanfront homes and homes with ocean views combined still did not approach the number of hilltop homes that sold for more than $1 million in California.

Further breaking down the luxury housing market in California, the survey revealed 16% of home buyers elected to buy near a golf course; 12% preferred mountainous areas; 9% selected resort areas and 4% bought on lakefronts.

There was lots more from the C.A.R survey and some of it was very illuminating on the habits and preferences of luxury homebuyers. For example, high-end shoppers spend a lot less time than “traditional” buyers do when looking for properties. The former spent an average of five weeks looking at properties before buying, while the latter spent an average of 10 weeks. Additionally, luxury buyers looked at an average of 10 properties before buying, while traditional buyers looked at eight properties before pulling the trigger.

There was also a rather large discrepancy in how long these home buyers planned to keep the home.  According to the survey, luxury buyers planned on owning their new home for a median of 10 years, while for traditional buyers it was six years. Also, luxury buyers were more optimistic than traditional buyers by almost a 2-to-1 margin that home prices would increase during the next year.

It’s always interesting to learn the thoughts and opinions of home buyers and this particular survey provides some good insight into just that. For the real estate professionals out there, it always pays to know your customer and this survey goes a long way towards achieving that idea.