On Long Beach street lined with bungalows, 1970s modern with pitched ceiling asks $1.1M

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House with pitched roof.Photos by Sterling Reed, courtesy of Nate Cole/Suprstructur

The California Heights home has a flexible floor plan

Located in Long Beach’s California Heights Historic District, this trapezoidal modern is an anomaly in the sea of 1920s Spanish-style bungalows that dominate the local landscape. Known as the Sagehorn Residence, the angular dwelling was designed in 1979 by James F. Porter, a USC-trained architect and AIA Fellow who began his practice in the offices of Frank Gehry before becoming a partner in the international firm of Altoon and Porter.

Though you might expect otherwise from its outward appearance, the 2,454-square-foot home’s interior incorporates numerous elements associated with classic midcentury moderns—think an open plan, clerestory windows, and glass sliders. Taking a page from Gregory Ain, a sliding partition on the main level enables a versatile floorplan. Other notable features include brick flooring, a gas fireplace, built-in bookshelves, quartz countertops, and a private terrace off the updated kitchen.

At the rear of the 4,753-square-foot property is a three-car garage topped by a one-bedroom apartment. Built in the late 1930s, it features an open kitchen, office nook, full bath, and a 200-square-foot rooftop patio.

On the market for the first time since being built, the property is listed with Nate Cole of Suprstructur at an asking price of $1.098 million.

Room with pitched ceiling and glass walls.
The open-plan living room has double-height ceilings, brick floors, and glass sliders.
Bright room with clerestory windows, ceiling fan, and a fireplace.
Other features include a gas fireplace, clerestory windows, and built-in shelving.
Kitchen with white cabinets and stainless steel appliances.
The kitchen has a pass-through window, quartz countertops, and stainless modern appliances.
Bright bedroom with white walls and a wood platform bed.
One of the home’s three bedrooms.
Bathroom with white walls, tub, and glass door.
The master bathroom.
Outdoor area with a dining table.
The property also includes a one-bedroom rental unit atop a three-car garage.

Los Angeles wants to help pay your rent

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As many as 74,074 renters in Los Angeles could get help from the city to pay their rent. | Getty Images/iStockphoto

But you have to qualify

If you’re a renter in the city of Los Angeles who earns $63,100 or less, City Hall might help pay your rent.

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez is moving to put $100 million in federal coronavirus relief dollars into a local renters assistance program. The city would pay up to half of your rent—up to $1,000 each month—for two months, and the checks would go directly to landlords. The goal is to get the program up and running by July 1.

To qualify, renters would need to prove that they have been impacted by the pandemic. They would also need to meet income requirements: 80 percent of the area’s median income, which varies based on family size, but is $63,100 for a single household and $90,100 for a family of four, for example.

With LA’s unemployment rate at a record 19.6 percent, “there is an absolute feeling of desperation out there,” said Martinez. “There are people who were living pay check to pay check before the pandemic and are now living day by day.”

The city’s housing department estimates that as many as 74,074 renters could benefit from the program. Roughly 862,000 households citywide are renters.

The city had already planned to create a COVID-19 relief fund, but had only come up with about $3 million so far, all from council offices. The $100 million injection would make it “the largest rental relief fund in the nation” created by a city, Martinez said.

It will take some time to get the expanded program put together, because it’s up to the full City Council to decide how to spend its $694 million in federal CARES Act money, which must be used by the end of the year. But the proposal already has the support of John Lee, Mitch O’Farrell, and Herb Wesson, along with Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Martinez says she anticipates that demand will be so high that the volume of online applications could crash the housing department’s website.

“The need is so great,” she said.


106-year-old Craftsman bungalow in Hollywood asking $1.7M

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Room features stone fireplace, wooden floors, and art on walls.A stone fireplace commands center stage in the living room. | Photos by Christine Bullard, courtesy of Alyssa Valentine and Kurt Wisner/Compass

Built-ins, beautiful woodwork, and two bonus rental units

Along with building such landmarks as the Roosevelt Hotel, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and the Hollywood Masonic Temple, Charles Toberman developed 53 of Hollywood’s residential subdivisions. One of the earliest was the Del Mar tract, where you’ll find this 1914 Craftsman bungalow.

Surrounded by towering hedges, 1757 Vista del Mar was designed by local architect Arthur White, who also designed a similar house across the street. The 106-year-old home has seen some updates, but not too many. Charming character features include a shaded front porch, box-beam ceilings, built-in hutches and cabinets, hardwood floors, a stone fireplace, detailed moldings and wainscoting, and original windows with a distinctive diamond-pane design.

The 1,994-square-foot residence has three bedrooms and one and a half bathrooms on its main level, while its lower level has been converted to a pair of rental apartments—one a studio, the other a one-bedroom. Per the listing, both units are “currently rented at market rates.”

Outdoor spaces include a front courtyard and a fenced in backyard with pergola-covered dining patio and outdoor shower. Last sold in 2013 for $790,000, the property is now for sale with an asking price of $1.675 million.

Alyssa Valentine and Kurt Wisner of Compass have the listing.

Dining room with wooden built-ins and a wooden dining table.
With detailed woodwork and built-ins, the formal dining room is a feast for the eyes.
The kitchen has white cabinets and blue walls.
Peacock-blue walls and checkerboard floors provide a bold backdrop for a vintage double-oven.
A bedroom surrounded by diamond-paned windows.
Diamond-paned casement and sash windows let in ample sunlight and fresh air.
Bathroom with a round mirror, two windows, and a freestanding tub.
There are one and a half bathrooms.
Outdoor space features a seating area under a blue umbrella.
Hidden behind tall fencing, the backyard features a pergola-covered dining patio and an outdoor shower.

LA now has until September to shelter homeless living along freeways

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Tents occupied by the homeless line a freeway overpass in Downtown Los Angeles. | AFP via Getty Images

The city and county are arguing over who will pay for the shelters

A federal judge is giving Los Angeles a lot more time to move thousands of homeless residents away from freeways.

The city and county now have until September 1 to “humanely” relocate anyone camped within 500 feet of an overpass, underpass, or ramp and into a shelter or “an alternative housing option,” such as a safe parking site or hotel or motel room.

The extension was granted today by U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter in an updated preliminary junction that was initially set to go into effect at noon.

Over the last week, the city and county nearly came to an agreement that would have negated the need for an order from a federal judge. But the deal fell apart at the last minute as they squabbled over who would pay for the shelters.

In court filings, the city said it was ready to commit to creating 6,100 new “shelter opportunities” in the next 10 months—if it received “appropriate levels” of funding from the county. But the judge noted that the number included 2,200 hotel and motel rooms already contracted under the state’s Project Roomkey, as well as 1,000 shelter beds that were set up in recreation centers at the start of the pandemic.

In the updated injunction issued today, the judge reminded city county leaders that money for homeless services is ultimately not their property, because it comes from local taxpayers, the state, and federal government.

“The disagreement between the city and county over the relatively minor costs of this pilot program does not bode well for the future as the program is scaled up across the city and county,” he wrote. “It is regrettable that this ongoing endeavor to develop humane and sustainable responses to the challenges of homelessness is beleaguered by a legacy of bureaucratic entanglement and gridlock.”

Last week, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters that he did not view the preliminary injunction as an “order” and said “we hope… we can come to a common agreement.”

Carter has said that is “unreasonably dangerous” to allow people to live in areas that may be contaminated with lead and other toxins or that carry increased risk of being injured or killed in a car crash or earthquake. He said he was compelled to intervene because neither the city or the county appeared “to be addressing this problem with any urgency.”

Once the city and county meet all of the requirements in the preliminary injunction, they will be able to enforce anti-camping laws in these areas, he said, though it’s not specified how many feet or miles from freeways the order would be enforced.

In 2018, Carter issued a similar ruling in Orange County when he ordered officials to immediately house 1,000 living in tent camps in the Santa Ana River. As a result, Orange County cities committed to opening enough shelters to house all the camp residents.

One detail that’s not made clear in the preliminary injunction is where exactly the unhoused residents will go. Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the city of LA has turned recreation centers into emergency shelters, which are currently housing 988 people, but cannot add more capacity due to social distancing guidance. The city is also negotiating leases with hotels and motels with a goal of housing 15,000 at-risk homeless residents, but currently only 1,850 rooms are filled.

For decades, Los Angeles has failed to provide enough shelter to house people living on the streets and in their cars. In 2017, a United Nations official who toured Skid Row called LA’s homelessness crisis a “tragic indictment of community and government policies.”

Complying with the preliminary injunction would require a massive undertaking, mostly because Los Angeles County is so large and is traversed by so many freeways. Los Angeles is home to an estimated 974 miles of state and federal freeways traveling through the 4,751 square-mile county. Last year, a point-in-time survey counted 58,936 homeless residents, 44,214 of whom were unsheltered.

The city and county must give reports to the judge on their plans for establishing shelters and clearing the freeway areas, and the judge has threatened to advance the deadline if they don’t “demonstrate satisfactory progress.” The first is due June 12.


How the Third Street Promenade became too successful for its own good

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Aerial view of a wide, tree-lined street where lots of people are walking.Shutterstock

At the height of car culture, Santa Monica made a radical decision

In the 1950s, with urban sprawl, the creation of the indoor shopping mall, and the rise of the mega-department store, downtowns across the country began to lose patrons. As downtowns were drained of high-traffic commerce, they become a mishmash of lower-tier shopping experiences, like thrift stores and convenience markets. Santa Monica was no exception.

Since the Victorian era, Third Street in downtown Santa Monica had been a bustling, vibrant commercial center of brick office buildings, entertainment venues, and civic organizations. But the Third Street of the postwar era, according to architecture critic Aaron Betsky, was “in many ways reminiscent of the somewhat seedy Santa Monica celebrated by Raymond Chandler, a stagnant downtown sitting next to the homes of movie stars and lawyers.”

Local business leaders knew something had to be done. “Our city’s retail area seems to be standing still while major new developments are being planned in Century City, West Los Angeles, Culver City, and the San Fernando Valley. No planning seems to be taking place here,” Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce president Ernest Gulsrud told the Los Angeles Times.

So how did this outdated street, which seemed fated to go the way of many a downtown ghost town, become one of the most popular walking streets in Southern California? The story of the evolution of the Third Street Promenade is one of innovation, persistence, and, above all, adaptability in the face of social and civic changes. It is a success story almost 150 years in the making.

Vintage photo of a downtown street where people are walking in front of small shops.
In 1963, at the recommendation of Victor Gruen, Santa Monica decided to close Third Street to cars.

In 1959, according to Sara Crown of the Santa Monica History Museum, city leaders began to look into a way to a to compete with new Southern California shopping centers like the Lakewood Center in Long Beach and Crenshaw Plaza in Baldwin Hills. That same year, Kalamazoo, Michigan, became the first of around 200 cities in the United States to close its downtown shopping streets to cars, making them pedestrian-only destinations, radically rejecting the car culture that had come to define America.

“For a period of time civic leaders were just desperate. They would latch on to anything to get people to come downtown,” says Adrian Scott Fine of the LA Conservancy. “These kinds of things were just one of many that communities attempted to try to get people to come to downtown, when everyone didn’t think they were relevant anymore.”

In 1960, Victor Gruen, who designed the first open-air shopping center in the suburbs of Detroit in 1954, was commissioned by the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce to study their central business district. His recommendation—to convert Third Street into a pedestrian mall and add parking facilities—was adopted by the city of Santa Monica in 1963. According to KCET’s Nathan Masters:

Their plan was controversial. Although 65 percent of merchants along the proposed mall supported it, property owners were initially cool to the idea, and Ralphs, which operated a supermarket at Third and Wilshire, challenged the plan’s constitutionality in court. But the city council pledged its support, and by 1965 the plan had overcome all its legal and political obstacles.

Charles Luckman and Associates, architect of the 1964 Federal Pavilion at the New York Worlds Fair, was hired for the project (future designs would include The Forum, Inglewood Civic Center, and the Wilshire Federal Building). The firm designed a three-block open-air pedestrian mall landscaped with trees, planters, and decorative fountains. The new open-air Santa Monica Mall (also called the Third Street Mall) opened on November 8, 1965, just in time for the holiday rush.

According to the LA Times, the mall was a “modest initial success.” Public parking garages were soon added to Second and Fourth Streets to aid in access, but this resulted in the forced closure of many local businesses.

In 1981, to compete with the rise of air-conditioned indoor malls, the indoor three-level Frank Gehry-designed Santa Monica Place opened at the southern end of Third Street. It was hoped that the new mall would bring life back to the pedestrian portion, but it had the opposite effect. “Unfortunately, it was such a draw that it pulled shoppers away to the detriment of stores on Third Street,” Crown says.

Vintage photo of people shopping on a downtown street. The signs on the front of the businesses read “Beach Drugs,” “The Jerry Brills,” and “Singer.”
The promenade, then known as the Third Street Mall, was only a “modest” success at first.

The Santa Monica Mall may have been a failure, but it was not alone. Throughout the late ’70s and early ’80s, pedestrian-only downtowns across America were becoming commerce dead zones. In 1987, the Los Angeles Times called the Third Street Mall “both Santa Monica’s heart and one of its eyesores,” a place where merchants joked that homeless residents outnumbered shoppers.

“The early results of that were positive for businesses, but generally over time most of those pedestrian malls in downtown environments proved to be less than successful,” says Alan Loomis, who until recently served as the city of Santa Monica’s urban designer. “By the ’80s we start to see a lot of cities tear out their pedestrian malls, and restore the street back to a conventional street with cars and sidewalks and on-street parking. The logic for that decision is that it’s hard to know that you have a business if nobody drives past you.”

Although nearby cities including Burbank and Pomona reopened their downtowns, the city of Santa Monica was wary of letting go of the no-car concept. In 1983, the city created the Third Street Development Corp. and began to study different ways to revitalize the mall.

“They ended up doubling down on kind of the pedestrian-only experience,” Loomis says. “When you talk to people who were involved in that decision-making process in the mid-eighties, they were actually really trying to create first and foremost a kind of Town Square, a kind of place that the community could gather.”

In 1987, the city approved a $10 million renovation of Third Street, to be designed by the San Francisco-based ROMA Design Group, known as experts in revitalizing urban districts. Planners carefully studied what had gone wrong with the original design and sought to correct these problems. “They did time-lapse photography of the original ’65 mall and realized that without there being any clues as to how people should walk, they walk like they did in a park… kind of like lost sheep in the meadow,” Loomis says. “They just kind of wandered all over the place.”

Aerial view of a downtown at sunset, with tall and mid-size buildings lining a wide boulevard open only to pedestrians. Hills are present in the background.Getty Images
In the late 1980s, curbed sidewalks were installed to lead customers into stores and restaurants.

To correct this, the plaza was redesigned with a narrow 20-foot-wide road and large 30-foot curbed sidewalks. Initial plans called for limited two-way car traffic in the late afternoon and evenings. But the curbed sidewalks also were installed to lead potential customers into stores and restaurants.

“They built the street with curbs to give the street a sense of scale, because we all instinctively behave when we see a curb—we walk on the sidewalk, right?” Loomis says. “Having curbs really gives pedestrians a cue to how they should behave—and if you go to like the Grove or the Americana it’s a similar kind of arrangement.”

Construction began in 1988. On September 19, 1989, the newly christened Third Street Promenade was open to the public. City boosters were thrilled with the result. “I think the design of the public space is lovely,” said Santa Monica Mayor Dennis Zane. “It was on a slow death march, and we have saved it.”

According to Loomis, this smart new design was backed up by clever public policy. “The city of Santa Monica basically made it illegal to allow movie theaters to go anywhere but the downtown, specifically on Third Street, so the idea was that when you went out for a movie you would come to the downtown. That would be the only place you would go to see a movie,” Loomis says.

The city also invested millions of dollars in the area surrounding the new promenade. In 1990, 3,000 new parking spaces were added. Retail space was put in the ground floors of the Second and Fourth street garages, and mixed-used housing was built throughout the downtown area, bringing it back to life.

“They brought back street vendors, outdoor dining. So, with a venue a couple of blocks from the beach, in a high tourist destination, they really had all the markings for success to occur here, and fortunately they’ve been able to sustain that long-term,” says Scott Fine. “They kind of had a leg up just based on where they were, and who they were.”

The Third Street Promenade soon became a must-visit sea-breeze-tinged strolling destination for locals and tourists. “It has exceeded our wildest dreams in terms of generating a new social center for the city,” Santa Monica mayor pro tem David Finkel said in 1989. “It’s just amazing to see and feel the electricity of the people.”

The promenade may have been a hit with the public and city officials, but some critics, including Betsky in the Los Angeles Times, decried it as “just another Disneyland Facsimile”:

The actual design of the new components of the mall ranges from serviceable to atrocious. The copper-roofed pavilions that provide focal points at the center of the mall are confused little structures trying to be 19th-Century market stalls. The lighting fixtures are anonymous, green-painted poles from which pots of plants hang precariously. The street benches look inviting while being designed to discourage the homeless from using them as resting places. Ivy-covered dinosaurs spouting water stand in for public sculpture. The cineplexes and office buildings loom over their smaller neighbors, their bulk decorated with a ridiculous collection of arches, columns and parapets.

The 1990s were the golden age for the Third Street Promenade. Loomis remembers this as an era when the mall boasted five bookstores—two national chains and three independents—as well as unique one-off shops, three movie theaters, and restaurants. The promenade’s success, however, would be its Achilles’ heel.

“They did not anticipate, and did not plan for the promenade to become the kind of economic juggernaut that it became by the late ’90s,” Loomis says. “What happened by the late ’90s, early 2000s is that the promenade became so successful that the real estate prices just went skyrocketing, and at that point only national retailers could afford the rent that property owners were expecting. So, you end up losing a lot of the kind of local shops that gave the street a kind of local flavor.”

The 2000s saw the rise of the national chain store on the promenade. “I think if you talk to a lot of people… their criticism of the promenade would be: ‘It doesn’t say anything about Santa Monica. There’s no reason for me to shop there because the retailers are all national retailers, the local flavor is gone,’” Loomis says.

The other problem facing the promenade in the last few years has been the same thing affecting all malls across the country, be they indoor or outdoor. With the rise of the internet and the iPhone, companies such as Amazon, Netflix, and Postmates have made them virtually obsolete.

Proactive once again, the city of Santa Monica, along with the nonprofit organization Downtown Santa Monica Inc., were planning for a top-to-bottom, multimillion dollar redesign when the pandemic hit. Called “Promenade 3.0,” and designed by the Rios Clementi Hale Studios, it was hoped the new plan would reassert the promenade as the cultural heart of Santa Monica once again. In the plan, the street curbs are removed so that the promenade can be used as programmable space for in-person experiences like food festivals, book fairs, and farmers markets.

The pandemic has put these plans on hold for at least a few years. But this doesn’t mean the promenade is down for the count. According to Loomis, new conversations about a “European-style beer garden” and safe waiting areas in front of popular stores are taking place.

From a Wild West dirt road to a slick corporate tourist trap, the Third Street Promenade has faced many challenges. Despite shifting trends and the march of time, it remains a unique, ingenious public space, and serves as a a lesson to us all: Embracing change can be a good thing.


Postcard-pretty property overlooking the Silver Lake Reservoir asking $5.9M

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The house sits on a .45-acre lot with mature trees and a saltwater pool with spa. | Photos by Pierre Galant Photography, courtesy of David Kubiczky/PLG Properties

Built in 1939 for the head of Van de Kamp Bakeries

Occupying a sweet spot atop Silver Lake’s nicest street, Micheltorena, this East Coast Traditional was built in 1939 for Van de Kamp Bakeries president Edward Mills and his family. The elegant residence was designed by MIT-trained architect Theodore Criley, Jr., who began his career in the offices of Gordon Kaufmann before establishing his own firm in 1937.

Measuring 3,269 square feet, the two-story home has four bedrooms and two bathrooms on its upper level, while the lower level holds the living room, dining room, screening room, additional bath, and kitchen. Featuring concrete floors, uniform grain cabinetry, and walls of sliding glass, the kitchen was redesigned by JFAK principal architect Alice Kimm. Other notable interior details include hardwood floors, pocket doors, crown moldings, casement windows, and built-ins.

Exterior features tick all the boxes: saltwater pool and spa, rolling lawns, manicured gardens, mature trees, and glorious reservoir, mountain, and city skyline views.

Last sold in 2007 for $1.8 million, the .45-acre property is listed with David Kubiczky of PLG Estates at an asking price of $5.85 million.

The East Coast traditional was designed by Ted Criley, Jr., in 1939 for Van de Kamp Bakeries president Edward Mills.
Features include hardwood floors, crown molding, and pocket doors.
Remodeled by architect Alice Kimm, the kitchen features concrete floors, uniform grain cabinetry, and walls of sliding glass that open to the dining patio.
The 4K screening room.
A set of French doors in the master bedroom opens to a private balcony deck.
A dining patio with firepit overlooks the Silver Lake Reservoir.

Here are some hot takes on the Taix redevelopment plans

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A view of the development that would make a new home for Taix on Sunset Boulevard. | Renderings courtesy of Los Angeles City Planning

The Echo Park restaurant will survive redevelopment, but its building will not

If you love old-timey buildings, you probably look at the Echo Park restaurant Taix and see the worn wood and the two little towers, and a charming resemblance to a chalet in the Alps. If you don’t, maybe all you see is a suburban funeral home.

The French restaurant serves cold pre-game beers to Dodger fans and tureens of soup to hungry, hungry hipsters, and has been at its Sunset Boulevard location for 58 years. But the Tudoresque building is not long for this world. Holland Partner Group plans to tear it down and give Taix a new home on the first-floor of a boxy apartment complex.

“The legacy business is what everyone cares about—it’s not the architecture,” says Ryan Guthrie, Holland Partner’s development director, referring to Taix’s current home.

A building with a yellow stucco exterior, green wood details, and a brown shingled roof.Kent Kanouse (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Taix, as it looks today.

But the architecture of the old building does matter to some people. It has been the topic of dozens of Twitter tirades after renderings of the new development were published this week. At least one person claims to be willing to chain themselves to one of the those towers to stop the bulldozers.

A debate among YIMBYs, preservationists, and homeless activists has ensued, dredging up the big questions that have become flash points in any conversation about LA’s changing landscape: Why do developers have so much influence over neighborhoods? And, what’s more important, saving an old building or adding more housing?

“It is a change, and that is going to invoke passions on all sides of the spectrum, but we’ve been very thoughtful,” says Guthrie.

He says that above all, the plan keeps Taix alive. The restaurant owners have said their current space is too big, and that with rising food and labor costs, the business is struggling. The redevelopment will also bring to the neighborhood 170 apartments, including 24 that are deed-restricted for tenants with low-incomes, and make the stretch of Sunset easier and more fun to walk along, with the addition of outdoor dining, colorful crosswalks and murals, and pathways that connect the restaurant to the public library immediately to the west and Reservoir Street to the east.

A large “Taix” sign would be placed on the rooftop of the complex.

The new complex that Holland envisions would have looked absolutely wild in Echo Park in the 1990s, but is now right in line with the type of developments that have been cropping up as the neighborhood has grown more expensive and more white. Just down the street from Taix, a black steel and glass complex opened in 2017, replacing a couple of smaller stucco buildings that had been occupied by a 99-cent store, a pottery and tile shop, and coin laundry. The only business in that little strip that returned was a Starbucks, which was joined by a Chipotle, Habit Burger, and a yoga studio.

The two main remnants of Taix that will survive the redevelopment are its big bar top and a large red and white sign bearing the restaurant’s name that will be placed at the very top of the new six-story complex.

That will probably never be enough to satisfy those with decades worth of memories tied to Taix, and who probably won’t recognize the restaurant and bar when they reemerge. The big question according to Adrian Scott Fine, director of advocacy at the Los Angeles Conservancy, is if LA can find a way to build more housing without sacrificing some of its most cherished businesses? “These places mean a lot to people, and it’s hard to divorce all of that from the place in which it happened,” he says.

Twitter doesn’t hold all of the answers. But there are plenty of other hot Taix worth reading.

LA desperately needs more housing

And above all, more subsidized housing that residents can actually afford. By one estimate, Los Angeles County needs more than a half-million such units to meet existing demand from low-income renters.

Businesses sell to developers in order to keep their business alive

And Taix is no exception. The Taix family sold the property to Holland Partners in July 2019 for $12 million, property records show. The same goes for Amoeba Music, which sold its Hollywood property to a developer in 2015 and is now moving from its beloved location into a new development on the Walk of Fame.

‘Sterilizing’ the neighborhood

The developer is trying to make a lot of admirable changes to encourage walkability, but there are not many, if any, people defending the overall look here.

The new complex looks like every other new apartment building in LA

It’s not just Los Angeles. A very similar boxy style is being repeated over and over again in mid-rise apartment complexes in cities across the country. In a nutshell, the buildings tend to be wood-frame buildings with colorful facades set over concrete parking structures. The architect designing the new Taix complex is Togawa Smith Martin Inc., a firm that has been credited with coming up with the look that can be called “developer modern, McUrbanism, or fast-casual architecture.”

Who gets to decide what gets built?

At this stage, mostly the developer. Holland’s development team worked with the councilmember’s office and the Los Angeles Conservancy to come with the design. Scott Fine, of the conservancy, says he weighed in on an earlier schematic, but not the one that was filed with the city planning department last week and is not satisfied. (He calls saving a bar top and putting a sign on the new building “tokenism.”) A spokesperson for the Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell says the councilmember was always “open to exploring the possibilities without the current structure.”

But the plans are preliminary, and still have to be vetted not only by city commissions but by the local neighborhood council. Guthrie says there will be opportunities for the public to weigh in.

Is the Taix building even special?

Taix’s current home was constructed in the 1920s and originally looked a lot more streamlined, with none of the decorative trims or gables that give it a Tudor flair. Ironically, both Art Deco and revival style like Tudor once proliferated in LA, and while they might be considered quaint and charming now, in the early half of the 20th century they might have been considered as overplayed as fast-casual architecture is today.

The flourishes to Taix’s facade were added in the 1960s, just before the restaurant moved in. The building has since been expanded and remodeled on a number of occasions, including in the 1990s, to make many of the interior spaces look old. But to say there’s nothing historic left? “I wouldn’t agree with that,” says Scott Fine.

Federal judge: Homeless living along LA freeways must be given shelter

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Getty Images

Los Angeles wasn’t “addressing this problem with any urgency”

Los Angeles has been ordered by a federal judge to “humanely” move all homeless residents away from freeways and into shelters—and the city and county have less than one week to comply.

Under a preliminary injunction issued this afternoon, which applies to the city and county of Los Angeles, anyone camped in the “vicinity” of freeway overpasses and underpasses and near entrance and exit ramps must be given shelter or “an alternative housing option,” such as a safe parking site or hotel or motel room.

In issuing the injunction, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter said it was “unreasonably dangerous” to allow people to live in areas that may be contaminated with lead and other toxins or that carry increased risk of being injured or killed in a car crash or earthquake.

He said he was compelled to intervene because neither the city or the county appeared “to be addressing this problem with any urgency.”

Once the city and county meet all of the requirements in the injunction, they can enforce anti-camping laws in these areas, he said, though it’s not specified how many feet or miles from freeways the order would be enforced.

The judge said he would he wants to hear input from the city and county and would consider an alternative plan or agreement before the injunction goes into effect at noon May 22.

“There is no order,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told reporters this evening. “We hope in the coming week we can come to a common agreement.”

In 2018, Carter issued a similar ruling in Orange County when he ordered officials to immediately house 1,000 living in tent camps in the Santa Ana River. As a result, Orange County cities committed to opening enough shelters to house all the camp residents.

One detail that’s not made clear in the temporary LA ruling is where exactly the unhoused residents will go. Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the city of LA has turned recreation centers into emergency shelters, which are currently housing 988 people, but cannot add more capacity due to social distancing guidance. The city is also negotiating leases with hotels and motels with a goal of housing 15,000 at-risk homeless residents, but currently only 1,850 rooms are filled.

For decades, Los Angeles has failed to provide enough shelter to house people living on the streets and in their cars. In 2017, a United Nations official who toured Skid Row called LA’s homelessness crisis a “tragic indictment of community and government policies.”

Complying with the ruling will require a massive undertaking, mostly because Los Angeles County is so large and is traversed by so many freeways. Los Angeles is home to an estimated 974 miles of state and federal freeways traveling through the 4,751 square-mile county. Last year, a point-in-time survey counted 58,936 homeless residents, 44,214 of whom were unsheltered.


This 105-year-old Echo Park Craftsman with a carriage house asks $1.6M

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The home’s shaded front porch overlooks a thriving garden of succulents and native plants. | Photos by Tony Viegas, courtesy of Karen Lower

Inside, it’s quite the spring chicken!

When this Echo Park Craftsman was built, way back in 1915, D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation was screening in theaters and Typhoid Mary was in the headlines. The century-old bungalow may look much the same on the outside as it did in the silent-film era, but it’s been significantly overhauled to keep in step with modern times and tastes. Along with a new foundation and roof, the three-bedroom, two-bath home has been treated to an interior makeover by designer Karen Vidal.

The 1,556-square-foot bungalow is sited above the street, with a shaded front porch that overlooks an Arroyo-stone bordered garden of succulents and native plants and flowers. A crescent-moon-embellished front door opens to an expansive living room featuring a brick fireplace, built-in cabinetry, beamed ceilings, and picture windows.

Just past the living room is a dining room with pitched ceilings, which flows into the kitchen and breakfast nook, appointed with custom cabinetry, a built-in banquette, and soapstone countertops. Other notable features include hardwood floors, built-in bookshelves, and hand-crafted cement floor tiles.

Outside, there are multiple artfully landscaped patio and terrace areas, as well as a detached carriage house converted to a studio or office.

Last sold in 2013 for $990,000, the property is now asking $1.586 million. Karen Lower of Compass has the listing.

The open living room features large picture windows, beamed ceilings, built-ins, and a decorative fireplace.
The kitchen has been updated with soapstone countertops, period-style light fixtures, and designer tile.
A bank of windows lines the breakfast nook with built-in banquette.
Hardwood floors are found throughout.
The master bedroom has a built-in dresser and walk-in closet.
The master bath has a vintage clawfoot tub and cement tile by Design Vidal.
The 7,499-square-foot grounds contain landscaped terraces and a detached studio.

Laurel Canyon house surrounded by trees asking $1.6M

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An emerald-tiled fireplace steals the show in the living room. | Photos by Alex Zarour/Virtually Here Studios, courtesy of Tori Horowitz

Into the woods!

Located in the Wonderland Park tract, this Laurel Canyon residence is doing its fair share to ensure the neighborhood lives up to its bucolic, bohemian reputation.

Built in the mid-’50s, the hillside home is not for the stair-averse, with a brick staircase leading to its main entry and a spiral staircase connecting its two levels.

On the lower level is the living room, dining room, kitchen, powder room, and office, with the upper level holding three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Per the listing description, the home’s design was inspired by “a cabin in a finely crafted boat,” and as such incorporates a great deal of wood.

Along with built-in bookcases and hutches, the 2,078-square-foot house features two fireplaces, custom stained glass by artist David Scheid, glass sliders, and the aforementioned spiral staircase, which is capped by an oculus skylight.

On a 6,019-square-foot lot with fruit trees and multiple decks and patios, the property is asking $1.64 million. Tori Horowitz of Compass holds the listing.

Built-in bookshelves line a wall of the study.
Knotty pine cabinetry and paneling adds to the cabin-in-the-woods aesthetic.
The master bedroom has curved wood walls, pitched ceilings, a fireplace, and sliding glass doors that open to a wraparound balcony deck.
A skylight floods the master bathroom with natural light.
Exterior spaces include a pergola-shaded lounge and dining deck encircled by fruit trees and bougainvillia.