Where to Park It: Los Angeles Will Literally Take Your Car Away If You Don’t Drive It Every Three Days

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 5.11.30 PM.png
One of Los Angeles's impound yards

Los Angeles has got infamously tall parking signs everywhere, telling you when and for how long cars are allowed to sit there. Don't follow the rules, find a ticket on the dash. But one LA parking rule—a rule that can be one of the most expensive to break—is a frigging secret that is not explained on any sign anywhere: the 72-hour parking limit. Officials admit on record that there's no posted signage about the citywide restriction which, if violated, can result in a ticket and the car being towed to impound, but their defense is basically a trumped-up version of "If you don't use it, you lose it." The city's now being sued by a couple whose car was towed away while they were on vacation, the LA Times reports.

The Sackmans live in Sawtelle. They have a parking permit for their minivan so they can park on the street outside of their house. They didn't know about the 72-hour rule, probably because despite having every single other restriction clearly explicated in curbside sign form, LA doesn't have a sign for this one. They went on vacation to San Francisco and, on that same day, a neighbor "flagged down a parking enforcement officer and lodged an anonymous complaint about the couple's car." An officer put a ticket on the car after three days and it was towed after five, but, while the Sackmans had returned, they didn't know their car was gone because they don't drive every day. Less than a week after the initial anonymous complaint, Mr. Sackman went to drive to work and discovered the car had been towed. Lesson learned: if you hate your neighbors because they get the street parking you want, just wait until they go on vacation.

The city says they need this law to keep the streets from getting cluttered with abandoned cars; last year, LA impounded 4,539 cars, so maybe there are some cars clogging up viable spaces, right? But then what do they have to lose by just putting up a sign that tells people about this law, like they do for every other parking rule? The Sackmans even cite a section of the California Vehicle Code stating that "a vehicle shall not be removed unless signs are posted giving notice of removal"; it seems like this is something that should be explicit. They're suing to stop enforcement of the law, to have it declared illegal, and for damages plus a refund of the $274.20 impound fee and the $68 fine. (Coincidentally, Mr. Sackman happens to be a lawyer, but many who face similar impound situations resulting from this rule probably are not.)

The City Attorney wouldn't comment on the ongoing suit, but in papers filed by Deputy City Attorney Gerald Sato, the office argues that "City Council's adoption of the parking restriction was adequate notice" of the restriction (because every Angeleno is super familiar with what is decided and has been decided in council chambers) and adds that since the car was left unused for a whole three days—an eternity!—there was clearly no harm done because the Sackmans don't use their car enough to miss it. If they really cared about this car, they'd be driving it on the daily and spending all their free time moving it around to different spots in the neighborhood.

Sato concluded the filing by saying, "Perhaps it is too broad a generalization to state, as everyone learned in grammar school, that ignorance of the law is no defense." So why even have parking signs at all, then? Why not just assume that people know when and where they can and cannot park and give them tickets when they don't? LA would save $9.5 million a year in temporary parking signs alone, and the coffers would be so full from all that parking ticket revenue.
· L.A. is carried away on impounding vehicles, suit says [LAT]
· LA Spends $9.5 Million on Temporary Parking Signs Every Year [Curbed LA]
· See the Most Ridiculous Parking Restriction Sign Ever [Curbed LA]

GentrificationWatch: Arts District Artists Surprised to Find Out They’re Getting Evicted For a SoHo House

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 2.32.37 PM.png

It was unexpected to hear that exclusive private club SoHo House is planning on opening its long-rumored second Los Angeles location in the Arts District, and on top of that in the building where the Downtown Rehearsal studios—a practice space for musicians—takes up the majority of the space. If ever there were a single, symbolic move that captured what's happening in the increasingly posh neighborhood, musicians being booted from their rented studios by an expensive, members-only club with a rooftop pool is probably it. Unfortunately, no one was more surprised at the news than Downtown Rehearsal management, who, according to The Hollywood Reporter, had no idea that the club was moving in.

A letter written by the rehearsal space's management, addressing the "hundreds" of musicians who rent out space, explains that they were blindsided by both the imminent end to their tenancy at the 1917 building and the arrival of SoHo. "This is news to us," DR general manager Mike Daugherty writes in the note. They found out SoHo was coming in after reading about it in news outlets.

Daugherty adds that management figured something was afoot when they weren't having any luck renewing their long-held lease, but they weren't sure what the issue was. "We simply could not get a response to our proposals to extend [our lease] last year. We now understand why." They were recently told by the building's owners that they are in the process of selling the property. DR doesn't know when they'll have to leave; they just know that their time in the space is limited.

Downtown Rehearsal has been in this building since 1989, long before the now-rapid fancification began in the AD. (They have another location in Boyle Heights that they don't seem worried about losing.) Since they hadn't been able to get any information on renewing their lease, they've been looking for a new location "for some time now," but they haven't found a replacement locale quite yet. Here's the full letter:

tenant notice downtown rehearsal.jpg
· Soho House Downtown L.A. Plan Could Displace Nervous Local Musicians [THR]
· New Arts District SoHo House Will Replace Actual Artists [Curbed LA]
· SoHo House Coming to the Arts District, Bringing Rooftop Pool [Curbed LA]

Curbed National: John Lautner’s Stevens House Languishes on the Market Because There is Something Wrong With the World

John-Lautner-Stevens-House-78-Malibu-Colony-Rd-2.jpg

Beloved modernist John Lautner produced many of Southern California's most legendary and distinctive homes, from his mushroom-capped Palm Spring estate for Bob Hope to his curvaceous concrete gem, Silvertop, which recently sold, to the president of Beats by Dre, for more than $1 million over the asking price. So why oh why has his glorious Stevens Residence, which is shaped like an "avant-garde boat," lingered on the market for nearly two years? The ocean-facing glass and timber house in Malibu is an architectural marvel, designed by Lautner in 1967 in the form of a wave. Listed in August of 2013 for $22 million, the 8,700-square-foot spread received a significant price chop in June of 2014, and is now listed for $19.75 million. Are there really no celebrities or other rich people who want to throw really rad parties in this pedigreed modernist property?

Curbed National laments >>

Maps to the Stars: The Vin Scully Map Guide to Los Angeles

In Maps to the Stars, Curbed LA maps the lives of the most notable figures in Los Angeles history through the places that were important to them.
vscully.jpg

In honor of Opening Day (this Monday!), we're taking a look at the greatest Dodger in history, a man who's never played a single inning: Vin Scully. Over the course of his 66 years in the broadcaster's booth, Scully's concise, poetic style has become as iconic, as indicative of the Dodgers as their blue and white caps. He's covered everyone from Koufax to Kershaw, and while there's no telling how much longer he'll be the "soundtrack to summer" in Los Angeles (he's 87), take solace in the fact that we have at least one more season—of sunset start times, of Doyer Dogs, of poorly-made giveaway bobbleheads—together.

Scully began calling Dodger games in the early 1950s, back when the team was still in Brooklyn and their name (for Trolley Dodgers) made sense. In 1953, at the age of 25, he became the youngest person to ever call a World Series; two years later, he called the Fall Classic again, as the Dodgers won their only championship in Brooklyn. When the team packed up and headed west in 1958, Scully came with.

The Dodgers met with quick and easy success under the sun. Sandy Koufax ruled the mound, a new stadium was built (shadily), and championships were won in 1959, 1963, and 1965. Scully was there for it all. His call of the ninth inning of Koufax's only perfect game is held up as arguably the single greatest bit of sports broadcasting in the history of the medium.

Scully, a transplant, ingratiated himself with Angelenos. Players, managers, and owners have come and gone, but through it all, he's been there. A 1964 Sports Illustrated profile states that his "voice is better known to most Los Angelenos than their next-door neighbor's is," that "millions of southern Californians have Vin Scully with their supper." He is a titan, a walking civic landmark on par with the Hollywood Sign and LA's scattered, smoggy skyline. As apple pie is to America, Scully is to Los Angeles. He put it best himself, in a piece for Los Angeles magazine:

The first few years I was here, the Mets were not in existence. It's 1958, '59, '60, '61, and we'd go to Philadelphia, and I would take the train to New York to visit family and friends. They would say, How do you like it? I would say, It's really nice, and they would say, It's got smog and earthquakes and so on. The first few times I would argue and say, No, it's not that bad. By the fourth year they would start up and I'd say, You're right, and tell your friends to stay right here. And that's when I knew I was an Angeleno. As God is my judge.

Go Dodgers. Ian Grant

· Maps to the Stars [Curbed LA]

Silicon Beach is a Thing: A Partial List of Venice Businesses Potentially Pushed Out By Unstoppable Snapchat

ServeAttachment.jpg

The totally-not-just-for-sexting-but-we-don't-really-know-why-because-we're-old app Snapchat has grown rapidly over the last couple years. In 2013, the company got to be too large for the little yellow house/former pot shop they were renting on the Venice Boardwalk and moved their base of operations into some undoubtedly high-ceilinged, industrial-chic space on Market Street, still not too far from the beach. Now, the LA Times reports, they're expanding again, taking up about 40,000 square feet at Abbot Kinney and Venice Boulevard, plus spreading into more Market Street storefronts, and into Thornton Lofts on Ocean Front Walk.

Office space has become incredibly desirable and expensive in Venice, in part because of the success of tech companies like Snapchat (Silicon Beach is a thing, somehow!). Offices in the neighborhood now cost twice what they did in 2011—it's now $5.82 a square foot per month, on average—while the vacancy rate has fallen from 20 percent to just 10 percent. That's great news for landlords, but it's squeezing down on other, smaller companies who lease space in the area.

In this single wave of growth, Snapchat will displace about three dozen renters in the multiple buildings they're moving into. It's not clear which addresses and suite numbers exactly Snapchat is going to occupy, but at the complex on Abbot Kinney, they're snatching up about 40,000 square feet, leaving roughly 6,700 square feet of the space alone. Who will be mercifully passed over? We've compiled a semi-complete list of tenants now in the buildings that Snapchat is taking over. Some of them might be spared; others are definitely on the chopping block or have already had to leave.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 12.14.44 PM.png
Image via Loopnet
At Abbot Kinney and Venice:
—an IT consultancy
—An interior design studio
—CNTRL Me Robotics
—A State Farm Insurance agent's office
—Hyperspots, a digital ad agency
—A law office
—Clever Creative, a branding and design agency

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 12.16.45 PM.png
Snapchat's HQ and surrounding shops
Near their 63 Market Street headquarters:
—a youth shelter/space for AA meetings
—an art studio
—"by next year, probably a tavern" (likely Nikki's)

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 12.18.06 PM.png
Image via Loopnet
25,000 square feet of Thornton Lofts at 619 Ocean Front Walk:
—An ice cream shop called N'ice Cream
—Swing Studios LA photo studio
—Red Line clothing shop
· Is Snapchat's rapid growth changing Venice's funky vibe?[LAT]
· Rent Snapchat's HQ/Former Pot Shop On The Venice Boardwalk [Curbed LA]

Curbed National: How Architects Save Money When They Build Their Own Homes


Photo by Paul Warchol via Gluck+

If you can be sure of anything, it's that when architects design their own homes, the end result is going to be high on style. And with a new piece that interviews several architects who've recently built dwellings for themselves, the Wall Street Journal would like to suggest that, compared to structures built for clients, these personal projects are actually quite practical. Granted, architects get to save on design fees and with trade discounts, but as this Austin couple has demonstrated already, it's also all about knowing where to spend money and where to conserve. Read on for three quick money-saving takeaways from WSJ's exploration into various architects' "simple, sophisticated structures that merely look expensive."

Overall, keep it simple >>

SPONSORED POST: The Tech Behind the New Lincoln ContinentalĀ Concept

Celebrity Real Estate: Jason Statham and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Buy a Trendy-Restaurant-Lookin’ House in Bev Hills For $13M

British actor and star of fast-car action movies Jason Statham (The Transporter, Furious 7), and model/actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Transformers 4) have purchased a brand new home in Beverly Hills, Trulia hears. TMZ says the couple went splitsies on their new 7,119-square-foot home. The listing for the five-bedroom dwelling is short on details, but a quick glance at photos of the interior reveals a pared-down, reclaimed-wood aesthetic going on in there (they could be serving pork belly and uni in there!). White paint, skylights, and large windows keep things bright inside; outside, the backyard has large hedges and a spectacular pool. The pair paid $12.995 million for their new digs.

· Jason Statham and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley Buy in Beverly Hills [Trulia]

Bridges & Tunnels: The Playboy Mansion’s Secret Plans For Tunnels to the Homes of the Randiest Celebs of the 1970s

playboy tunnel 1.jpg
Image courtesy Playboy.com

This drawing shows a tunnel running underneath the Playboy Mansion to the "residence of Mr J. Nicholson." It's one of a couple blueprints found in the unfinished basement of the Mansion in Holmby Hills that also shows underground tunnels to the homes of "Mr. W. Beatty," "Mr. J. Caan," and "Mr. K. Douglas." Warren Beatty, James Caan, Kirk Douglas, and Jack Nicholson were all in the neighborhood in the late 1970s and early 1980s, which is the approximate time that these passageways are said to have existed—if they existed at all, says Playboy (via BLDG Blog).

The proposed network was discovered when an editor at Playboy.com uncovered Polaroids, dated 1977, showing some serious excavations at the Playboy Mansion. When asked about the dig photos, the Mansion's general manager casually responded, "that's probably when they built the tunnels in the 70s," like it was totally common knowledge that these celebs, at the height of their stardom, had private paths onto Mansion grounds.

The search for truth carried on in the unfinished basement of the Playboy Mansion, where a few undated blueprints were found showing plans for the underground walkways. The drawings do say "conceptual" on them, and seem to have been made fairly early in the process. But they also show that the idea for these subterranean routes got far along enough for someone to think seriously about how to connect Warren Beatty's house with the Mansion. Beatty's house, according to the plans, was on the opposite site of the Los Angeles Country Club, on Sunset Boulevard—the tunnel would have had to go under the golf course and part of Sunset.

In the end, no one—not even the initially helpful general manager—will say whether the secret underground network was ever built, though an anonymous staffer did say that they'd "heard [the tunnels] were closed up sometime in 1989." There are more blueprint and excavation photos over at Playboy.com.

playboy tunnels 2.jpg
Image courtesy Playboy.com

playboy tunnel 2.jpg
Image courtesy Playboy.com
· So, there were tunnels to celebrity homes below the Playboy Mansion [Playboy]

Real Estate Blog | Los Angeles Broker | Los Angeles Real Estate