DevelopmentWatch: 81-Room Hotel Proposed in Possibly Gentrifying Boyle Heights

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Boyle Heights has become ground zero for gentrification fears and skirmishes in 2015. Just days ago, locals spoke out strongly against a proposed medical office development at Mariachi Plaza, forcing Metro (which controls the Gold-Line-adjacent site) to cancel plans and go back to the drawing board. Now, across BH, permits have been filed for a new 81-room hotel "over parking" on an empty lot in the northeast corner of the neighborhood, near Soto Street and the 10 Freeway.

Details from the Department of City Planning are scarce at this point, but given its size, the hotel is almost certain to be a low-rise structure. The proposed hotel is within the East Los Angeles State Enterprise Zone, which means it qualifies to have less parking than would normally be required. The proposed hotel is just across the 10 from USC's medical campus, which is getting its own four-story, 200-room hotel with retail and conference space. So, Boyle Heightsers: how do you feel about this new entrant onto the scene?

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· Boyle Heights is Winning Its War Against Gentrification [Curbed LA]
· USC's Boyle Heights Medical Campus Getting a Mixed-Use Hotel [Curbed LA]

Unarrested Development: Missing 28-Story Piece of South Park’s Concerto Has Returned

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When South Park's Apex apartments (formerly known as Concerto) opened back in 2012 after a looooong bankruptcy battle and all the resulting fallout, it was somehow still missing something: the third and tallest part of the project had never been built, leaving many wondering if they'd ever see it rise. Now, finds Building LA, a recent filing with the LA Department of City Planning shows that things are finally starting up again at the site, and that a 28-story tower is now on its way to the long-dormant spot.

Even as the other pieces of Apex were built, there was never anything to report about that third development once destined for the southwest corner of Ninth and Flower Streets. Back when the project was called Concerto and was under the watch of prominent developer Sonny Astani, it was imagined as condos, but the economic downturn, plus an ugly bankruptcy battle, ended up taking the project out of Astani's control and eventually new owner Corus Construction Venture finished the first buildings as rentals. It's unclear from the brief filing if this tower will be rental or condo.

Original plans called for 280 units and retail at street level, plus a two-story retail building across the street, on the southeast side of the intersection.
· Another Stalled South Park Tower Comes Back to Life [BLA]
· Building Formerly Known as Concerto is Finally About to Lease [Curbed LA]

Rendering Reveal: Major Upgrade For Union Station Bus Riders Starts Soon

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Metro will begin work in April on a new super-bus-station at Union Station that will create a direct link between the El Monte Busway and the station. As it stands now, riders of the Silver Line and Foothill buses that use the busway are dropped off on Alameda Street and face a quarter mile walk on a busy street to make a connection; the new station will allow passengers to alight directly off the busway and take an elevated walkway right inside. As reported by Building Los Angeles, the project also includes a "wind bridge" designed by artist Ned Kahn, which will be a "500-foot long structure ... adorned with perforated aluminum panels, arranged to 'move with the wind, resulting in complex rippling patterns of light and shade created by sunlight penetrating in between the two layers of perforated metal.'"

According to this Metro document, the busway connector was originally supposed to be part of the larger renovation of Union Station's Patsaouras Plaza, but it ran into a snag when site preparation work started in 2010. It turned out the soil beneath the project site was an ugly mix of concrete, bricks, steel, storage drums, telephone poles, railroad ties, and asbestos. Originally, Metro planned on sending the contaminated soil to a site near the Salton Sea, but ended up having to ship it to Yuma, Arizona at twice the cost. Eventually, Metro decided to move forward with the bus plaza project and put the new El Monte station on hold until more funding was available.

The document also makes note of the Union StationMaster Plan, which calls for a large development over the site where the new bridge will sit. The document says that, "In consultation with the Planning staff, the Patsaouras Plaza Busway Station project will be included as a 'site constraint,' and the Master Plan will be developed assuming that this project will be constructed and complete in 2015." The estimated completion date is now October 2016.

· New Union Station Bus Platform to Begin Construction in April [Building LA] · New Silver Line Bus Station for Downtown's Union Station [Curbed LA] · Here's the Possible New Look For a Reimagined Union Station [Curbed LA]

Urban Exploration: Four Gutsy Instagrammers Taking the Most Alarmingly Vertiginous Shots of Los Angeles

A photo posted by Andy (@vamp_la) on


In between doing some awe-inspiring, ground-level urban exploring and managing to get sharp, interesting photos of it all, these four Instagram users (three based in Los Angeles, one who appears to split time between LA, the OC, and the entire world) are also taking some incredible, shudder-inducing shots snapped while perched on the precipices of very tall buildings, navigating narrow ledges, and hanging off of iconic signage and edifices in Downtown (a favorite) and Koreatown—all to get the shot. One such photographer, Scott Reyes, tells Los Angeles magazine that he doesn't really enjoy being up in high places, but he does it is because "I want people 100 years from now to see what it was like here during our time." They're making our time look really, really good.

A photo posted by Scott Reyes (@4thandspring) on

A photo posted by Riley Mauk (@rileymauk) on

· See the Thrilling View from L.A.'s Most Adrenaline-Filled Instagram Feed [Los Angeles]

New to Market: Perfect 1949 Traditional in Long Beach For Sale For First Time

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The original owner of this very spacious Long Beach house was, according to the listing, "a civil engineer intent on perfection" who worked with the designer to create a space that would be a literal and figurative gift to his wife and children. He did a good job: as the listing states, the house has been home to three generations of the family now, each one passing the house on to the next. When it sells now, it will be the first time anyone outside the family has owned the 1949 residence.

Stand-out features of the five-bedroom, four-bathroom house—which looks like it's ripped from a mid-century TV show about a perfect family—include the sweeping staircase in the entrance, the privacy-affording 11,182-square-foot lot, and four bay windows. The 3,800-square-foot house has just received new copper pipes throughout, and someone even Photoshopped in some stately furniture so it's easier to imagine the space filled with all the trappings of a family. It's all yours for $1.19 million.

· 4406 California Avenue, Long Beach, CA [Estately]

Rankings: The 10 Most Expensive Places to Buy a House in Los Angeles

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[This house sold for $3.1 million in September]

Most people cannot really afford to buy a house in Los Angeles. But that means that some people can afford to buy a house. And logic dictates that some of those people must be able to afford to buy really expensive houses. Who are those people? No one knows. Where do they buy houses? Well, our pals at PropertyShark have provided us with a list of the priciest Los Angeles neighborhoods of 2014, calculated using the median sales price for all residential sales, and the most expensive neighborhood of the year wasn't Bel Air or Beverly Hills (though they both made the top 10), but the fancy North of Montana section of Santa Monica.

Santa Monica was the surprise most-expensive with a median of $3.1 million, but Manhattan Beach had the craziest year, with the list's highest prices per square foot in its El Porto and Sand Section 'hoods (that means it has smaller places selling at higher prices). El Porto and MB's Hill Section saw the largest leaps in home prices; the former was up a difficult-to-believe 54 percent over 2013 and the latter was up by a full third. Meanwhile, poor Beverly Hills is the only place on the top 10 to see prices drop over 2013; they were down seven percent, to a totally laughable $2 million.

This list does not at all track with the biggest house sales of last year, most of which were clustered in Holmby Hills and Bel Air.

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· Mapping the 11 Biggest Los Angeles House Sales Of 2014 [Curbed LA]
· You Have to Make $96,513 to Afford a Cheap House in LA [Curbed LA]

Curbed National: Mapping the Most Expensive Houses For Sale in America

Screen%20Shot%202015-01-26%20at%205.33.44%20PM.png[This living room will cost you $195 million]

A lot has changed since the definitive list of unreasonably expensive residences was last updated. Old standbys like NYC's $114MM Viola Mansion have de-listed. (These properties, like Martin Zweig's penthouse at the Pierre, haven't sold, mind you, they're just, you know, taking a breather.) There's nary a listing to be found for Aspen's $90MM Aspen estate or Hillsborough, California's long-awaited DeGuigne estate, either. In the meantime, we've welcomed a $195MM estate owned by subprime mortgage hero (and the guy who told us all that Americans should "live with less") Jeff Greene and an adorably optimistic $140MM Hamptons property. Still, some of the major players have stuck around—looking good, $139MM Floridian "Beaux Arts" mess.

Intrigued? Curbed National has the full list, right this way >>

Car Culture: East Hollywood Has California’s Most Expensive Car Insurance

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[A car fire for a TV show via Sterling Davis / Curbed LA flickr pool]

Glendale, previously California's reigning champ for most expensive car insurance, has been unseated, according to a survey done by the quote comparison website CarInsurance.com, via the LA Times. In this latest survey, they didn't even make the top four. While there are many factors that affect car insurance rates, where a driver lives is usually the first thing taken into account, so zip codes where lots of drivers have filed severe claims are seen as higher risk areas and command higher insurance rates. The number one most expensive zip code, according to the site, is 90029, which covers a large part of East Hollywood, where the average premium was a pocket-emptying $2,416. That's high enough to put the neighborhood sixth in the nation.

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90029 (Mostly East Hollywood): $2,416

All calculations were made based on insurance for a 40-year-old man driving a 2014 Honda Accord. According to information found on CarInsurance.com, the top four most expensive zip codes in California are all in Los Angeles. Besides East Hollywood, there are three other central zip codes at the top of the state list.

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90020 (A strip of the city stretching though parts of Koreatown, Larchmont, and Hancock Park between Third and Sixth Streets): $2,403

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90010 (A weird little row centered along Wilshire between Highland and Hoover): $2,402

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90005 (A chunk of neighborhoods running through Ktown and Mid-Wilshire): $2,388
· The 10 worst ZIP Codes if you're buying car insurance [LAT]
· California's 10 Most Expensive Cities For Car Insurance All in LA [Curbed LA]

Cool Map Thing: Mapping the LA Neighborhoods With the Most Illegal Billboards

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[Image via neonspecs / Curbed LA flickr pool]

There are 942 billboards in Los Angeles that are either violating their permits, never had a permit, or operating under a permit that has been lost somewhere along the line, and the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety has just released a report on where they all are and who's responsible for them. The report will be used by a City Council committee, led by Councilmember Jose Huizar, that is in the midst of deciding whether or not to grant amnesty to all these not-very-legal billboards. And get this, the LA Times reports that the company with the most offending billboards, Lamar Outdoor, has posted 100 ads supporting Huizar's reelection, some of them on illegal billboards, all for free.

Building and Safety's report was built off of billboard lists provided by the advertising companies, then confirmed by the department. The check revealed many billboards that had been modified to add a second ad surface without the appropriate permit. Among the guilty companies, Lamar Outdoor Advertising has the most troubled billboards by far, while Clear Channel comes in second with a measly 139 infractions:

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The report by the LABDS also looked at the location of the billboards. The zip code with the most flagged billboards was 90003 in South Los Angeles:
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A map of the illegal billboard-riddled zip codes:
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And now, a zoomed-in view using a handy mapping tool from the LA Times. One caveat: their mapping tool actually maps by city district, not by zip code. First, here is the area around Historic South-Central where the illegal billboards are most common:
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Echo Park is host to its own collection of questionable billboards:
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And finally, here's a map of the whole city. It seems the Westside is largely devoid of unmaintained or egregious billboards, while Downtown and its vincinity more than make up for the dearth further west:
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· Los Angeles Thinking About Legalizing 942 Illegal Billboards [Curbed LA]
· Billboards under scrutiny [LA Times]

Stadium Wars: Inglewood NFL Stadium Takes First Huge Step Forward

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The plan to bring an NFL stadium to the old Hollywood Park site in Inglewood just took its first big step forward—the developers, who include St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, not incidentally, have followed through on their promise to take the proposal to the ballot, collecting more than 20,000 signatures from Inglewood residents, more than twice as many as they actually need—8,400, or 15 percent of the population, was the minimum required, according to the LA Times. If the city can validate enough of the signatures (and there's plenty of cushion), a proposal to rezone the massive Hollywood Park for a football stadium could go on the ballot as early as this summer.

The developers want to move fast here and the ballot initiative will help them do that; a vote will help them skirt a city planning process that would have to include a length, costly environmental review (the kind that are often challenged in court, causing further delays). Stockbridge Capital was already beginning work on a massive multi-use redevelopment of the old Hollywood Park racetrack site when the plan was announced a few weeks ago to add 60 acres, an 80,000-seat stadium, a performing arts center, and more office and retail space. These guys want to start work on that part of the plan as early as December, "with or without a team on board."

No team has signed up to fill a Los Angeles professional football stadium, but Kroenke's Rams has to be a top contender as they've announced their intention to change their lease in St. Louis to a year-to-year option. The moving deadline has passed for next season, so all NFL teams will be staying put for at least another year. This is also not the only NFL stadium in the works in Los Angeles, so the notoriously controlling NFL will have its pick of plans if it does decide to move a team.
· Rams Owner Planning to Build an NFL Stadium in Inglewood [Curbed LA]
· The High Public Cost of the Proposed Inglewood NFL Stadium [Curbed LA]

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