Los Angeles Tech Scene Expands Beyond Silicon Beach


The tech scene is alive and well in Los Angeles, specifically in the westside beach communities between Malibu and LAX airport—namely Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Rey and Playa del Rey—and the adjacent inland neighborhoods, including Playa Vista, Culver City, El Segundo and Mar Vista. Collectively, these neighborhoods where tech is prevalent, are known as Silicon Beach.

In the last 18 months, major technology companies with an entertainment bent either moved into new Silicon Beach office space or are set to do so. Snap Inc., the parent company of social media platform Snapchat, moved from Venice beach to Santa Monica; Google employees moved from Santa Monica into a remodeled 500,000-square-foot airplane hangar known as the “Spruce Goose” in Playa Vista; and HBO, Apple and Amazon Studios are slated to move creative segments of their businesses into new office space in downtown Culver City later this year.

As these newsworthy tech moves are taking place, real estate prices have finally leveled off in greater Los Angeles after a seven-year run-up that started in 2012, and led to many years of double-digit price growth. Median sales prices are down 4.5% to $1.455 million, according to Douglas Elliman’s Q1 2019 market report; and the number of sales declined, as inventory increased.

But that market data doesn’t tell the whole story, said Erin Kennelly, the executive director of research at the L.A.-based luxury brokerage, The Agency, who noted that when you dig into the numbers, what’s happening in real estate differs greatly depending on the neighborhood.

For now, Silicon Beach communities are holding strong, and performing among the best in the region.

“What we see is that Silicon Beach neighborhoods have among the lowest inventory and the best performance over the past year,” Mr. Kennelly said.

In addition to the impact on price, tech influence has also changed the type of homes that are desired and built in Silicon Beach; communities like Venice and Playa Vista look totally different than they did a decade ago, with more multi-million dollar modern homes in Venice, and more multi-family dwellings, including condos and townhouses, in Playa Vista. And as people get priced out of Silicon Beach, Mr. Kennelly said, the tech influence on price and design is spreading further east to neighborhoods including Echo Park and Silver Lake, where young buyers who often work in tech or tech-adjacent fields are putting down roots and either working remotely or commuting in.

When it comes to the question of why tech companies opened offices in L.A., the answer is simple, Mr. Kennelly said: They followed a pool of well-educated potential employees south from Silicon Valley down to the beachfront communities where those people wanted to live, which at the time, was much more affordable than the traditional tech hubs up north, such as San Francisco and Palo Alto. “This is what always happens,” he said. “Tech employers chase top talent, who have relocated for a better quality of life.”

As this tech workforce moved near the beach and the tech companies followed, the growth of the tech industry in L.A. “put legs under the city’s housing market,” said Paul Habibi, a professor in the Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA. “If real estate was strong before the tech sector, I think it’s made it increasingly so.”

Specifically, he continued, tech has helped the $1 million-to-$3 million segment of the market. “All the communities around Silicon Beach have undoubtedly succeeded due to the success of the tech sector,” he said.

Returning to the latest market data, Mr. Kennelly said the influence of tech is clear. In March, inventory in the greater L.A. region was 5.2 months, which means it will take active units an average of just over five months to sell. Anything under six months is considered tight inventory.

In Venice, inventory remains tight at 3.8 months. The same is true in Santa Monica, where inventory is at 3 months, and in the nearby communities of Palms and Mar Vista, where inventory is extremely low, at 1.4 months for single-family homes.

Another important metric is median sales price. While March data shows that prices in greater Los Angeles are up 1% compared to one year ago for single-family homes, Venice prices are up 8% compared to a year ago, to $2.481 million, Mr. Kennelly said, and Santa Monica prices are up 9% to $2.529 million.

Finally, homes in Santa Monica are still selling for 1% over list price, and 2% over list price in Culver City.  

This upward price trend has also continued in Playa Vista, a mixed-use urban community that houses a slew of tech companies, including Facebook, YouTube, Electronic Arts and IMAX, alongside parks, restaurants and residential units, from one-bedroom rentals to multi-million dollar detached homes.

In February 2017, Playa Vista’s developer, Brookfield Residential, unveiled the most expensive residential units in the community—three-story, 4,500-square-foot detached villas with expansive indoor/outdoor entertainment space, in a development known collectively as Jewel. Priced starting in the high-$3 millions—well above other homes in the area—“people weren’t sure this would be a slam dunk,” said Kris Zacuto, an associate broker with Hilton & Hyland, who represents these properties.

But today, there are 11 closed sales, one unit in escrow, and only two Jewel units remaining, with a sales price for the project averaging above $4 million, Mr. Zacuto said.

“The success of Jewel is a testament to the overall impact and growth of the tech sector on the Westside of L.A., and the Silicon Beach vibe,” he said, noting that they just closed on a Jewel unit in the beginning of the second quarter at asking price, for $4.058 million.

“At this price point, these buyers could purchase a home anywhere in L.A.,” Mr. Zacuto said, “but they really value that sort of low-maintenance, lock-and-leave, amenities  outside your door lifestyle that Playa Vista offers.”

In addition to an amenity-rich, walkable neighborhood, wealthy tech employees also have specific demands when it comes to the aesthetics and comfort of their space, said Venice-based designer and custom homebuilder Kim Gordon of Kim Gordon Designs.

For Ms. Gordon, who has lived and worked in Venice for 28 years, the tech industry has brought in a new slew of buyers, for whom the old stock of homes—either “cute, but not great” houses, with inconvenient design features, like tiny kitchens and backyards only accessible through a master bedroom, or “severe modern boxes”—just don’t work anymore.

That’s why when she works on a new project for a tech industry client—of which 80% of her clients now are—she brings in a strong indoor-outdoor influence, with al fresco dining options, floor-to-ceiling windows and landscaped water features. There’s always an open floor plan and a big kitchen, with en-suite bathrooms with most bedrooms, not just the master, which makes it comfortable for guests to stay over.

The tech industry has brought in people who want flexible homes, where they can have friends and colleagues over to have creative meetings and collaborate, she said. “People want to come home to a quieter, more comfortable environment, where they can focus on their projects.” When she works on the home, they often sell for over $5 million.

As some younger tech employees have been priced out of Silicon Beach, they’ve been moving east, to hip neighborhoods like Echo Park and Silver Lake, Mr. Kennelly said.

“We’ve seen the steady march of development move from the beach to downtown L.A.,” said Justin Barth, the owner/operator of Barth Partners, an L.A.-based development firm with a residential focus, noting that Venice was a completely different place 20 years ago and Culver City, located five miles inland, is far removed from what it was 10 years ago. “Silver Lake in undergoing those changes today.”

Much of the reason is because it’s conveniently located about five miles from the hip downtown Arts District and less than four miles from Hollywood, where Netflix has recently signed several leases for additional office space, that will bring their real estate footprint to over 1 million square feet of space in the next year and a half.

It’s also walkable, urban, and home to plenty of hip and interesting restaurants and businesses, such as bedding and bath company Parachute Home and a soon-to-be-open Erewhon Market (think a smaller and higher-end L.A.-based Whole Foods). Notably, both of these businesses also have flagship locations in Venice.

Real estate data supports this trend.

“Silver Lake is the hottest neighborhood in L.A. right now,” Mr. Kennelly said, with inventory remaining low at 3.3 months, and prices up 21% in March 2019 to $1.28 million compared to a year ago.

Other market indicators are also strong. The median days on the market for a listing is only 16 days, Mr. Kennelly said, and homes are typically selling for 4% over their list price.

To accommodate this new population and take advantage of their interest in more compact, urban homes, located close to amenities, The Agency Development Group is representing a new Silver Lake residential project, called VICA, developed by Mr. Barth.

VICA, which recently topped out at five stories on Sunset Boulevard, will have 31 modern residences—many of them available for under $1 million—above a ground floor restaurant space, which Mr. Barth said is the first West Coast location of a popular cafe that’s located in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. (He declined naming the cafe). It will be finished in late-2019, and according to Mr. Barth, represents the “first new condominiums built in Silver Lake in over a decade.”

Before this project, his company also developed 10 small lot homes called Ridge Silver Lake. Another small lot home project by a different developer, called 850 North Coronado, which will be located just south of Sunset Boulevard, is also in the works, as is an apartment project by CIM Group that will be located near Erewhon, and a Palisociety boutique hotel called Silver Lake Pool and Inn.

Despite the community’s typically challenging approval process when it comes to residential development, Mr. Barth said he thinks there will be more projects in Silver Lake in the years to come.

And Mr. Kennelly suspects there will also be more of a local tech influence as well. “Smart tech companies will continue to chase lifestyle perks,” he said, “and open offices in downtown L.A. or near Silver Lake—closer to the places their work force wants to live.”

Photo Credit: https://www.intercontinentallosangeles.com/things-to-do/venice-beach

Source: https://www.mansionglobal.com/articles/los-angeles-tech-scene-expands-beyond-silicon-beach-202795

Author: Anne Machalinski

Claws’ star Niecy Nash nails down a deal for Northridge home

MAR 15, 2019 | 10:05 AM

Actress-comedian Niecy Nash, who stars on the TNT drama “Claws,” has sold her Northridge home of more than a decade for $970,000, records show.

Built in the 1970s, the hacienda-vibe home sits on roughly half an acre on a cul-de-sac with separate guest house. Details include picture windows with patterned grilles, box beam ceilings and two fireplaces. The family room features a wet bar.

Four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a formal dining room and a sunken living room fill out the floor plan. The house has a little over 3,300 square feet in a single story.

Niecy Nash's Northridge home | Hot Property


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Outside, a covered patio looks onto a fire pit and a swimming pool with a spa. Mature landscaping and trees create a natural property screen.

The property originally came up for sale in early 2018 for $1.129 million, records show. More recently, it was listed at $979,000.

Nash, 49, has received Emmy Awards as host of the Style network show “Clean House” and for her role on the HBO show “Getting On.” Her other credits include the shows “The Soul Man” and “Scream Queens.”

She is set to appear in the forthcoming Netflix miniseries “When They See Us.”

Thomas Davila and Kennon Earl of Compass hold the listing. Murphy Lynch of Coldwell Banker Greater Valleys represented the buyer.


Source: LA Times 

2019 Will Be A Great Year For Buyers AND Sellers

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2019 Will Be A Great Year For Buyers AND Sellers

2019 Will Be a Great Year for Buyers AND Sellers

Many homeowners believe that rising interest rates and home prices have scared away buyers and therefore have not listed their houses for sale. However, the truth is that buyers who were unable to find a home last year are out in force, and there are even more coming!

NerdWallet’s 2018 Home Buyer Report revealed that:

“Approximately one-third (32%) of Americans plan to purchase a home in the next five years. Millennials are most likely to have such a purchase in their five-year plan (49%), versus 35% of Generation X and 17% of baby boomers.”

As we can see, buyers are optimistic! According to the report, here are the top reasons Americans plan to buy:

2019 Will Be a Great Year for Buyers AND Sellers | Keeping Current Matters

The most common reason Americans prioritize buying is that they believe it’s a good investment!

If you’re a homeowner looking to sell, 2019 is the perfect year to put your house on the market. But why?

  1. Buyers want to buy
  2. No competition!

At least 3 of the renowned organizations that report on real estate market trends predict that homeowners are going to wait until 2020 to list their homes, leading to a nice increase in sales (as shown in the graph below).

2019 Will Be a Great Year for Buyers AND Sellers | Keeping Current Matters

Don’t wait for a competitive market; be ahead of the curve and sell your house at the best possible price!

Bottom Line

There are more and more buyers entering the market every day! Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a current homeowner looking to move-up to your next home, sit with a real estate professional who can help you with your real estate needs!

Source: www.keepingcurrentmatters.com

Compass launches West Coast tech campus in Seattle

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Compass is launching a technology campus in Seattle geared toward building “real estate’s first-ever end-to-end platform,” and plans to hire at least 100 engineers.

The SoftBank-backed brokerage, which has been in expansion mode, announced the West Coast Product & Engineering Campus in a Facebook post this week, according to Geekwire. The move came about two weeks after Compass brought on former Microsoft and Amazon executive Joseph Sirosh as its new chief technology officer.

The firm’s Seattle office, at co-working space Industrious, will house company engineers. They will work on marketing technology, web and mobile, security, image and artificial intelligence, with a focus on enhancing Compass’ existing agent platform, Geekwire reported.

Compass, which has been expanding quickly across the country, also leased more space in downtown Seattle. It will end the year with 150 offices, after starting with 30. But next year, Compass plans to have 300 offices. It raised $400 million from Softbank and Qatar Investment Authority in September, which valued the brokerage at $4.4 billion. The Seattle campus is the company’s first tech hub outside its New York City headquarters. That means Compass is now knocking on the door of Redfin and Zillow, both based in Seattle.


[Geekwire] — Katherine Kallergis 

The Best Thanksgiving Day Specials, Attractions & Events in Los Angeles

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Los Angeles has always been known for bucking tradition, so it’s no accident that Southern California gives those who visit during Thanksgiving ample opportunity to do the same. With average temperatures well into the 60s, numerous dining options, and many attractions open for at least part of the day, Thanksgiving in L.A. is as stuffed with activities as that turkey about to be carved.

NOTE: All Thanksgiving dinners and events are taking place on Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018 unless otherwise noted.


Thanksgiving at Fogo de Chão
Photo courtesy of Fogo de Chão

On Thanksgiving Day, restaurants across Los Angeles are preparing sumptuous holiday meals that will please every palate. From traditional dinners to globally inspired feasts and vegan menus, read on for L.A. restaurants and hotels that are hosting Thanksgiving celebrations. 


"The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" at Universal Studios Hollywood
“The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™” | Image Courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

For a fun, family-friendly Thanksgiving Day, a visit to one of L.A.’s numerous attractions may be just the ticket.

Book the VIP Experience at Universal Studios Hollywood, and get VIP seats to shows and front-of-line privileges to all attractions, including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ - from magical spells to magical creatures, from dark villains to daring heroes, it’s all here! Experience Fast & Furious: Supercharged, Springfield – home of The Simpsons, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem – a 3D Ultra-HD movie motion-simulator ride – and Super Silly Fun Land, an interactive playland adventure.

For movie and TV fans, few L.A. attractions can compare to Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood, which offers an immersive, behind the scenes look into Hollywood at work. Highlights of the two-hour tour include DC Universe: The Exhibit, featuring legendary superheroes like Wonder Woman and their nemeses; props and costumes from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the beloved Harry Potter films; Stage 48: Script to Screen, an interactive soundstage that explores the film and TV production process; and cinematic treasures in the Prop Department.

If you’re looking for thrills, there are 19 roller coasters at Six Flags Magic Mountain - more than any amusement park in the world – making it the undisputed “Roller Coaster Capital of the World.”

For a classic oceanfront experience, visit Pacific Park at the Santa Monica Pier for rides and games the whole family will enjoy.

Book a first-class tour of the legendary Queen Mary and experience the 4-D Theatre, Princess Diana Exhibit, Their Finest Hours: Winston Churchill, the Engine Room and much more. Then enjoy a lavish Thanksgiving Brunch or prix fixe dinner at Sir Winston’s.

Enjoy a Thanksgiving lunch buffet at the Aquarium of the Pacific‘s Cafe Scuba, then gobble gobble with sea otters and over 11,000 other animals from the world’s largest ocean.


LA Kings Holiday Ice at L.A. LIVE
LA Kings Holiday Ice at L.A. LIVE I Photo courtesy of L.A. LIVE

From Downtown L.A. to the Beach Cities, enjoy a quintessential Southern California holiday experience and work off some of that turkey at one of the outdoor ice skating rinks that are open on Thanksgiving. 


Hollywood Sign viewed from horseback
Photo courtesy of Sunset Ranch Hollywood

Spanning more than 4,200 acres, Griffith Park is is one of the largest municipal parks with urban wilderness areas in the United States. Griffith Park is open to the public daily from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Hiking paths, bridle trails and mountain roads are closed at sunset.

Griffith Park is also home to several attractions that are open on Thanksgiving Day, such as the L.A. Zoo, Travel Town Museum and Sunset Ranch Hollywood. The landmark Griffith Observatoryand the Autry Museum of the American West are closed on Thanksgiving Day but will be open on Friday, Nov. 23. 


Moonlight Forest at the Los Angeles Arboretum
Moonlight Forest | Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Arboretum

Take advantage of L.A.’s beautiful weather with a stroll through one of the city’s stunning botanical gardens. Located in La Canada Flintridge, Descanso Gardens is a 160-acre urban oasis complete with a camellia oak forest, streams, a lake, bird sanctuary, five-acre International Rosarium and colorful flower displays, as well as a mini-train route for the kids. Further east in Arcadia is the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, which has 127 acres of birds, plants, animals, and the historic Queen Anne cottage, which famously appeared in the opening credits of TV’s Fantasy Island.

For a dazzling evening experience, both Descanso Gardens and the Arboretum are hosting holiday light shows



The annual Turkey Trot Los Angeles is taking place in Downtown L.A. from 8am to noon on Thanksgiving morning. Turkey Trot L.A. features 5K and 10K routes on the historic streets of Downtown, a post-event festival at Grand Park, costume contest and much more. Entry fees are $45 for the 5K Run/Walk (ages 18 and up), $50 for the 10K, $65 for the 5K/10K Combo, and $20 for the Widdle Wobble, a mile-long kids and family run/walk.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the Turkey Trot benefits The Midnight Mission – an amazing organization that offers a path to self sufficiency to those experiencing homelessness. Make a difference in the lives of L.A.’s neediest individuals by registering and buying a pair of Bombas socks. For each pair sold, another pair is donated to The Midnight Mission along with a $6 donation. Participants can also purchase an I HEART L.A. button during registration.

The annual Tofurky Trot is taking place from 9 a.m. to noon on Thanksgiving Day at the Crystal Springs Recreation Area in Griffith Park. The plant-powered race is 5 km (3.1 miles) and is a run, trot, or walk that’s open to all physical fitness levels. Prizes and medals will be awarded to the first adult and child finishers, for best costume, and to the cutest dog. Every participant will receive free early admission to the post-trot Fall Vegan Food Fest from 11am-3pm featuring vegan food vendors, guest speakers and live performances. (The Food Fest opens at noon for those who didn’t register for the Trot.) Tickets are $35 for adults, $20 for students (ages 12 to college), and $15 for children 6-11. Children under age 6 are free. Proceeds benefit local nonprofits, The Animal Museum, Bunny World Foundation and the Jackson Galaxy Foundation.

The world famous Laugh Factory will host its annual free Thanksgiving Feasts on Thanksgiving Day. Top comedians like Dane Cook, Kevin Nealon, Shawn Wayans, Tim Allen, Tom Arnold and other celebrities will help serve each guest a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Comics will perform live shows following each meal served throughout the day at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Last year, the Laugh Factory served 2,500 people – the goal is to host even more guests this year.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Thanksgiving Day Run & Food Drive takes place at Memorial Park in La Cañada Flintridge. The 5K run/walk is open to all ages and abilities and is a major fundraiser for the Community Center; proceeds are used to support its year-round programs. The race is professionally timed and begins promptly at 8:30 a.m. The 1-Mile Kids’ Run begins at 9:30 a.m. and is ideal for children age 12 and under. Pre-registration for the 5K is $40 and $20 for the Kids’ Run. Participants are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to be dropped off at Memorial Park on Thanksgiving morning and donated to families in need.

The Westside Thanksgiving – Community Dinner & Celebration is taking place at the West L.A. Civic Center on Thanksgiving Day. A free sit-down dinner is served from 11am-3pm. Free services include haircuts, blankets, clothing, hygiene kits, medical/optica/dental exams, vaccination, resource fair, and a children’s carnival. Everyone is invited – veterans, students, low-income families, seniors, anyone who is homeless, and anyone who is alone on Thanksgiving.

The entire family is invited to participate in the 39th Annual Harry Sutter Memorial Thanksgiving Day Fun Run. The three-mile fun run/walk begins at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. A raffle follows the fun run – winners must be present to receive prizes. Runners and spectators alike can bring canned goods for a special Thanksgiving Food Drive. While you watch, run or walk, your canned foods will be distributed to people in need throughout the South Bay.


Source: www.discoverlosangeles.com

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