Category Archives: Venice Beach Real Estate

Affordable Housing Proposal for Venice


In a move that could create much-needed affordable housing in Venice, Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin today proposed building housing on the site of a controversial Metro bus yard that closed last month.

In his capacity as a member of the Board of Directors of LA County Metro, the region’s transportation agency, Bonin succeeded in shutting the bus yard and making sure it would not to be sold to the highest bidder for use as office or commercial space.

“Neighbors in Venice have been calling for the bus yard to be closed for years, and I was proud to make that happen,” said Bonin. “Now that it is closed, we can use this site to deliver needed affordable housing through a neighborhood-serving project that will be a great fit in Venice.“

The 3.5-acre property, on Sunset Avenue near the beach, has been a bus yard since 1951, drawing regular complaints about noise and pollution. At Bonin’s urging, Metro consolidated operations and closed the yard last month. Under state law and Metro policy, the transportation agency can auction the property, sell it to a government agency for fair-market value, or develop the property through a community-driven process. Metro policy dictates that a minimum of 35% of the units on Metro property must be affordable units.

Given the zoning of the property, an auction would have almost certainly resulted in a large “by right” office or commercial project, creating significant traffic impacts, Bonin said.

“There was no way that kind of development would have been the highest and best use for the property,” Bonin said. “Venice is in real, desperate need for more affordable housing. As we talk about what we are going to do to combat homelessness and the housing crisis in LA, we need to take advantage of every opportunity to create affordable housing where we can.”

Bonin formally directed LA Metro to begin the “joint development process” at a board meeting January 28. Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl co-sponsored the motion.

Developing the property will likely take a few years. The first step will be an environmental assessment to determine what it will take to make a former bus yard suitable for residential use. An extensive community engagement process will follow, so neighbors can help shape and design the project. Metro recently mandated extensive community engagement processes for any development on its properties.

Bonin said affordable housing is essential, as the city and region grapple with skyrocketing rents and housing prices.

“Long-time residents are being forced out of neighborhoods,” he said. “Recent graduates cannot afford to live where they grew up. It is a crisis – and it is particularly acute near the coast. We need to take big actions to create affordable housing, and given the cost of land on the Westside, it is going to take government property to make it happen.”

Mayor Eric Garcetti and Kuehl recently spearheaded the Metro affordable housing policy – which requires at least 35% of housing created through Metro Joint Development efforts to be affordable for residents earning 60% or less of the Area Median Income. In Los Angeles 60% of the AMI would be about $33,000.

The lack of affordable housing in Venice has been a major concern shared by Bonin and Venice residents, and Bonin has taken a series of legislative actions to protect affordable housing in the neighborhood, including pushing for: tightened regulations preserving affordable units in the coastal zone; regulations curbing the loss of affordable rental units to short-term rentals; and state legislation closing a legal loophole that allowed a loss of affordable units under a state law designed to increase affordable units.

Abbot Kinney Real Estate Price Explosion: Former Hal’s Property Sold For $44.75 Million

Everyone loved Hal’s Bar and Grill, but did anyone think that someone would love the building, that had been home to Hal’s for nearly 30 years, so much that they’d pay $44,750,000 for it?

It’s no surprise that Venice property is in demand but the price tag on this latest exchange on Abbot Kinney has come as a shock to many, including local realtors.

The sale of the property was finalized just over a month ago on June 11. The $44 million price included, not only the old Hal’s restaurant space, but adjacent retail, and the old Casa Linda restaurant space on the corner of Abbot Kinney and California Ave.

At $44,750,000, the price is more than double the amount paid by the property’s previous owners, when just two years prior, on June 14, 2013, DCA Abbot Kinney LLC paid $20,000,200 for the property parcel.

This latest transaction, on the street GQ Magazine famously called “The coolest block in America,” follows the sale of the Wabi-Sabi restaurant building for $7,143,000 in March this year. At this number the price per square foot for the 1,500 square foot space comes out at $4,762. The $44 million dollar Hal’s property parcel sale equates to a whopping $5,498 per square foot.

With new owners paying high prices for real estate it’s no surprise that currently it’s cheaper to rent a store in Beverly Hills than it is on Abbot Kinney. Especially as many new landlords are passing on costs to tenants, such as property tax, in leases known as a “Triple Net,” or “Hell or High Water” lease.

On the same day the sale of the building went through Hal’s Bar & Grill co-owners Don and Linda Novack and Hal Frederick, announced signing a lease with Lincoln Property Company. A move that, by December this year should see the award-winning restaurant re-open at Runway Playa Vista.

Issuing a joint statement, the Novacks and Frederick said, “We’re taking 4,700 square feet of totally raw space and working with an architect and designer to create the same welcoming, relaxed feel as the original Hal’s on Abbot Kinney. It’ll be about the same size, maybe a touch roomier. We plan to preserve the elements people value most – Chef Manuel Mares’ beautifully prepared food, fine art, and live music–and create a vibrant new space and experience that still feels familiar and authentically Hal.”

Little is known about the new owners of the old Hal’s building except that while the LLC has a very Venice name; Speedway Group LLC, its mailing address is as New York as it gets.

It seems New Yorkers are flocking to the West Coast’s Westside, even Beyonce and Jay-Z had been seen dining at Hal’s on multiple occasions in the lead up to the restaurant closing its doors on April 26. The superstar couple were not exclusive to the old school Venice favorite, however, also spotted dinning at Gjelina. It’s been said a staff member was fired after posting pictures of the famous duo on social media.

When asked what the team at Hal’s thought to of $44 million price tag on their old building, they said, “We wish the new owners and our extended Venice community well.”

Price Check: 1346 Abbot Kinney listed at $7,350,000

1346 Abbot Kinney has been listed at $7,350,000.
1346 Abbot Kinney has been listed at $7,350,000.

Spectacular live/work building in the heart of Abbot Kinney Blvd. this unique property can be configured for many uses.

Located one block from Gjelina and next door to Tom’s, this opportunity features: A one bedroom, 1 1/2 bath loft style second floor apartment that includes an open roof deck, hot tub, chef’s kitchen, hardwood floors, and patio; a two bedroom, one bath ground floor apartment; with hardwood floors and direct access parking a 600 square foot street level studio/gallery with its own 3/4 bath.

The building was remodeled and restored in 2000 and updated in 2009 by architect Eva Sobesk , a protege of Frank Gehry.

Click here to read more about the listing.

Price Check: #4 26th Avenue

My brother’s favorite house in Venice, a Greene and Greene craftsman style home originally built in 1935 and previously the residence of songwriter Jerry Leiber, who died of cardio-pulmonary failure in August 2011, is on the market. You’re probably going to need to dip into your rainy-day fund in order to afford it because it’s listed at $10.85 million. That’s Ten Million Eight-hundred Fifty Thousand and xx/00 Dollars when you’re filling out the check. (related: does anyone still write checks?)


Venice Housing Market Update | June 2014

Jeff Marino sent in this month’s report:

Venice Housing Market Update for June 2014

By Redfin agent Matt Jones

The Greater Los Angeles real estate market appears to be stabilizing while Venice remains a seller’s market. Across all of L.A., the:

  • median sale price showed no change from May, holding steady at $475,000;
  • number of homes sold declined a scant 0.9%; and
  • total homes for sale increased 2.0% since May and a significant 13.7% since June of last year.

Most L.A.-area buyers are cheering the return of a balanced market. But Venice is special, as everybody knows.

Here’s how the Venice real estate market looked in June, according to real estate brokerage, Redfin:

  • The median sale price increased 12% since May and is now $1.62M (16% higher than one year ago).
  • 4% more homes were sold in Venice than last May; 33% more than last year.
  • The number of single-family homes for sale tumbled 4% from May, which means Venice inventory remains 10% lower than one year ago.

Some super high-tier homes ($2M plus range) are sitting on the market a little longer. But for the most part, competitively priced homes are selling very quickly.

Some Venice homeowners are concerned they will not be able to afford to find a suitable replacement home (dare they say, “upgrade”?) given the past price increases across all of the Southland. Affluent beach communities like Venice will almost always be the last to cool off. But that means right now could be great timing to sell if you are looking to move inland to one of the markets that has already showed signs of stabilizing.