Last Week in Los Angeles Real Estate 6/22/2015

Affordable housing is a oxymoron in Los Angeles. The California Supreme Court has taken steps to address the problem by making it easier for cities and counties to require developers to sell housing at below market rates. This could be a condition attached to the issuance of building permits. They could also be given the option of paying into a fund for low cost housing.

California is among the most expensive places to buy a home. An average home price at $440,000 is two and a half times the national average of $180,000.

Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Pasadena already have this ordinance in place, and it is likely to be in place in Los Angeles by next year. The negatives to this are that developers may just not decide to build, or compensate for the lost income by pricing out the middle class buyers of other units.

The Silver Lake reservoir is due to be drained, possibly in July, and cease to function as a water source for Los Angeles as the city transitions from open-air to underground storage for drinking water. A new pipeline is to be built under the reservoir, and the 400 million gallons of drained water will be treated and returned to the supply. It will take about a year before it is refilled with non-potable water. Meanwhile joggers need not worry. The path around the reservoir will remain open. Hopefully, like Echo Park Lake nearby, the new area will become a neighborhood recreation area.

Century City mall is getting a facelift again. Last renovated in 2004 by the new owners, Westfield, the latest expansion will include 70 new stores and eateries, an outdoor event area called The Terrace, eight acres of outside space, and will double the number of parking spaces to around 4,700. The mall will add another 422,000 square feet. The total area of the mall will be 1.2 million square feet. Nordstroms will be joining Macy’s and Bloomingdales.  A new residential/office building is also being constructed at 1801 Avenue of the Stars.

The Howard Hughes Center’s new owners Larus Corporation want to take advantage of the influx of residents and office workers into the area and neighboring Playa Vista.  They have plans for a $30 million upgrade to make access to the Center more walker friendly. There will be a new crossing for Center Drive, new courtyards with landscaping, the courtyard across from the theaters will become the center of the complex and feature an outdoor screening area and fire pit. And the current building facades will be getting a facelift. There will also be more than 3,200 new multifamily units and a total of more than 1.3 million square feet of office space. Renovations are starting now.

Beverly Hills City Council is revisiting its historic preservation law. The ordinance adopted in 2012 has protected buildings such as Greystone Mansion, The Beverly Hills Hotel, and City Hall. Too late for the iconic Friars club which was demolished in 2011. Proponents of the changes want the City to prevent historic status being given in single family residential neighborhoods by providing such high standards that only a few residences could qualify. However, allowing the ordinance as is makes it easier for non-qualifying residences to possibly receive historic status. It will be interesting to see how this progresses.

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