The announcement that LA was going to receive Promise Zone designation that would allow the city advantages when applying for federal grants was briefly applauded, then rapidly questioned. Why didn’t areas that are historically underserved—South LA, Skid Row—get pulled in to the Zone? It’s been explained as a mayoral conspiracy or a leadership failure on the part of South LA leaders, but yesterday Mayor Garcetti himself appeared on Tavis Smiley’s PBS show of the same name to discuss with the host how South LA was left out (federal requirements to apply stipulated that the area had to have won a previous planning grant; South LA communities did not fit the bill). Garcetti elaborated that this actually is going to translate to money for the entire city. Because the Promise Zone provides an increased chance of getting grants (not actual money—yet), he is “darn determined” to get some of that government dough applied to the areas that need it most. We’re not sure that’s going to change anyone’s mind, but there you have it.
· Video: Why South L.A. Wasn’t Included In $ 500 Million Grant To Combat Poverty [LAist]
Old Bank District developer Tom Gilmore is in advanced talks to sell a surface parking lot next to Vibiana, the 1876 church-turned-private events venue, to another developer, the Downtown News reports. It’s not quite a usual sale, though, as Gilmore is seeking city approval to ensure whatever is built on the parking lot is a “unified development” that meshes well with the historic church, which is prepping for construction on a permanent groundfloor restaurant. “It just means that we’ll have input [on the design of a future project] and that’s really all we want,” Gilmore says. “It’s protecting us from anybody who would do something inexcusably stupid.” The lot is entitled for a residential tower up to 41 stories; as Gilmore likely realizes, a skyscraper would not necessarily complement the mid-rise nature of Vibiana and the Civic Center. The city will consider his entitlement change at a June 5 hearing.
· Gilmore Planning to Sell Lot at Vibiana as Restaurant Advances [DN]
1347 Montecito Circle, Montecito Heights Price: $ 1589,000 Beds, Bath: 3, 1.75 Floor Area: 1,400 sq. ft. Per the Listing: “Rare opportunity to own this two-story 1926 Spanish Style home on the nicest street in Montecito Heights. Montecito Circle is a quiet and private street at the top of the hill where homes rarely become available. This 3+2 charmer features period styling with modern updates. The living room has a wood burning fireplace & beamed ceiling and there are hardwood and tile floors throughout. Both dining room and step-down family room have French doors opening onto an expansive, flat back yard with lawn, garden spots and a lovely patio. Parking is no issue, with the long curved driveway to an oversized detached garage that would make a great artist studio or home office. The yard is large enough for a pool and secured by an electronic gate. Two bedrooms and a bath downstairs plus the master upstairs with a rooftop deck offering tranquil mountain and canyon views. Excellent location, just minutes from downtown LA, So Pasadena, & major freeways. Your respite from the city awaits!”
We go back to Montecito Heights to get some views with affordability. If you’re wondering, yes this is yet another flip. It last sold in February of this year for $ 430k. At the peak of the housing bubble insanity of 2007, it sold for $ 659,000, according to Redfin.
· 1347 Montecito Circle, Los Angeles, CA 90031 [Redfin]
KOREATOWN: The 1940 Richardson Apartments in Koreatown have switched hands, selling for $ 2.5225 million to L33T, LLC of Malibu. The streamline moderne beaut, “believed to have been designed by Milton J. Black,” according to a release from broker Hendricks-Berkadia, comes with 13 units (including “two large penthouse units with massive rooftop decks”–see one here), underground parking, and Mills Act preservation tax breaks. [Curbed Inbox]
WEST HOLLYWOOD: The Pacific Design Center’s long-awaited Red Building was apparently not awaited enough–it’s had trouble finding office tenants to fill up its 400,000 square feet. Three outside brokerage firms have tried to lease the building, according to the commercial real estate experts at Bisnow, but now the PDC has brought in a new internal director of leasing to have a go. (Meanwhile, Red just got its certificate of occupancy in February, despite being pretty much done for at least a year.) The new guy says he’s “in discussions with several tenants for leases ranging from one to four floors,” plus Charles Cohen of PDC owner Cohen Brothers “is moving his West Coast real estate and media operations from the Blue Whale into the Red Building’s east tower.” [Curbed Inbox]
The mixed-use Blossom Plaza project in Chinatown is seeing a little more forward motion this week, after two years of quiet (save for a tentative mid-2013 start date announcement). On today’s City Council agenda is a report from the LA Housing Department (pdf) requesting permission to commit to funding the project with $ 5.3 million from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Developer Forest City and the city of LA are still working out terms of FC’s lease for the site, but this is another sign that the project really might be back from the dead, again. All told, Blossom Plaza will have 240 apartments, 53 of which will be classed as affordable. The transit-oriented development will also include a cultural plaza, 175 parking spaces for the adjacent Gold Line stop, bike amenities, and an enhanced bus shelter. In addition to Blossom Plaza, the Housing Department is also seeking to commit to funding phase two of the Linda Vista Hospital redevelopment in Boyle Heights, which will have 97 senior housing units, and the Navy Village development on the Harbor City/San Pedro border, which will provide 74 two-bedroom apartments for homeless families.
· Council Transmittal from Los Angeles Housing Department (pdf) [City Clerk]
· Blossom Plaza Archives [Curbed LA]