Real estate newsletter: lavish mansions and hidden ADUs

Welcome back to the real estate newsletter. As the summer gets hotter, the deals get bigger and this week’s headlines have been dominated by some of the larger and more expensive mansions on the market in Southern California.

Two of the most intriguing lists were linked to two big names. The most expensive of the pair came to the Beverly Hills Post Office, where the lavish compound of the late Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen hit the market for $ 55.5 million. The house itself is fine and all, but the amenities are the selling point; it includes a stand-alone cinema building, a 9,200 square foot recording studio, and a glass funicular that transports guests from the scenic pool to the tennis court.

A few kilometers east of Hancock Park, Shonda Rhimes hopes to continue the momentum. Fresh out of her lucrative deal with Netflix, the prolific producer has listed her century-old home for $ 25 million, which she renovated with the help of Barack Obama’s interior designer, Michael Smith.

Hidden Hills has seen some action too, with Sixers star Ben Simmons buying a daring black farmhouse for $ 17.5 million. There is no basketball court, but there is a guesthouse, two swimming pools, and a floating staircase that winds around a bonsai tree.

If mansions aren’t your thing, check out something smaller: a 740-square-foot accessory living unit hidden behind an Echo Park home that mixes Craftsman and Scandinavian styles. A living concoction of glass and greenery, the ADU somehow saves enough space for the owner’s Platoon.

Good business news: The LA County office rental market is slowly stabilizing after the pandemic left the market in its worst condition since the Great Recession. Businesses are still losing space, but at a slower pace than a year ago.

While catching up with you, visit and love our Facebook page, where you can find real estate stories and updates throughout the week.

The billionaire’s house is full of toys

The 3-acre expanse features a 1920s main house, guest house, recording studio, movie theater, and a glass funicular that runs from the pool to the tennis court.

(Antoine Barcelo)

When Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen died in 2018, he left behind a collection of prized real estate spanning the country, including a sprawling ranch in Idaho, a Manhattan penthouse, a mansion in the Bay Area and a glut of waterfront homes near his hometown of Seattle. His last home went up for sale at the Beverly Hills Post Office: a lavish hilltop residence that is up for grabs for $ 55.5 million.

The spectacular Spanish-style retreat is Allen’s second property currently available in 90210. A few miles west, his legendary land known as Enchanted Hill – an undeveloped 120-acre parcel overlooking the city – is listed at $ 95 million.

The $ 55.5 million offering is more move-ready, with five structures occupying a leafy, gated complex that spans more than 3 acres. There is a 9,500 square foot hacienda built in the 1920s, a 1,900 square foot movie theater building, a 1,700 square foot guest house, 1,100 square foot staff quarters and a studio. steel and glass recording unit spanning nearly 9,200 square feet.

Another highlight is the funicular, a glazed box that runs from the pool terrace to the tennis court at the bottom of the property.

Rhimes plans another successful deal

Built in 1923 by Elmer Gray, the spectacular villa also includes a guest house, swimming pool, spa, cabana and secret garden.

Built in 1923 by Elmer Gray, the spectacular villa also includes a guesthouse, swimming pool, spa, cabana and secret garden on over an acre.

(Cameron Carothers / Carothers Photo)

Days after signing a massive deal with Netflix that will allow her to continue working with the streaming service for five more years, Shonda Rhimes is looking to sign another at Hancock Park. The prolific producer behind “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” has listed his 12,000 square foot villa for $ 25 million.

If it gets its price, it will be the most expensive sale in the affluent neighborhood so far this year.

Records show that Rhimes took over the historic estate for $ 8.8 million in 2014. She’s not the only notable name linked to the property: it was built nearly a century ago by Elmer Gray, the Pasadena architect behind the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Huntington Art Gallery. Most recently, it belonged to actress Patricia Heaton, who starred in the sitcoms “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “The Middle”.

While there, Rhimes completely remodeled the Mediterranean-style mansion with the help of Michael Smith, the interior designer President Obama hired to renovate the Oval Office in 2010.

Another NBAer arrives in Hidden Hills

Built in 2021, the daring black farmhouse includes a swimming pool and guest house.

Built in 2021, the daring black farmhouse includes a swimming pool and a guesthouse that has its own swimming pool.

(Christopher Amitrano / CS8 Photo / Nobel Design)

Sixers star Ben Simmons plays basketball in Philadelphia, but he recently bought a West Coast outpost, quietly losing $ 17.5 million at a brand new farm in Hidden Hills, confirmed the Times. The deal was made off the market.

The Australian point guard joins a crop of NBA stars who have flocked to the gated community outside of LA, including Paul George, Tyson Chandler and Dwyane Wade, who paid $ 17.9 million for a 17,000 mansion. square feet in Hidden Hills last year.

Simmons’ Square is 12,000 square feet and joins the all-black farmhouse trend with a spectacular exterior of charcoal-colored brick, glass, and rustic wood. Tucked away at the end of a cul-de-sac, the 1.5-acre lot features two motor lots and a backyard with a pool, spa, wood deck, patio, and cabana – as well as a similarly styled guesthouse that borders a swimming pool of its own.

An ADU hidden in Echo Park

Gail Otter's ADU, located behind her two-bedroom Craftsman House.

Gail Otter’s Accessory Living Unit, or ADU, blends in with other Craftsman homes in the neighborhood.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

When Gail Otter bought a charming craftsman Echo Park in 2001 on land zoned for two units, she knew she wanted to add a second home at some point on the 5,000 square foot lot, writes Lisa Boone.

In 2018, Otter contacted Amy Choc, a designer with a residential practice who had experience designing and building small spaces, including her own Modernist mobile home in Ojai. It took several years before the city’s ADU Standard Plan Program was unveiled to help streamline the permitting process for accessory housing units or secondary units in a larger property, as part of the plans to alleviate the housing shortage.

Many ADUs are built as short-term rentals or as offices and guesthouses. Shock, however, designed the second home to do exactly what the new program intends to do: add to the much-needed housing stock.

In an effort to preserve the yard, Shock designed a 740 square foot raised ADU, which left 460 square feet of living space between the two homes.

LA offices are slowly coming back

Two people wearing masks walk past diners eating at tables covered with umbrellas at the Grand Central Market in downtown LA

The Los Angeles County office vacancy rate hit 17.6% in the second quarter, little change from the first quarter, CBRE said.

(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles County office rental market is showing early signs of stabilizing as businesses lose space at a slower rate in an apparent calculation that better times are ahead, writes commercial real estate reporter Roger Vincent.

Faced with a faltering economy during the worst months of the pandemic, many companies have scaled back office rentals by taking up less space when their leases need to be renewed or trying to sublet space they were not using . Office rental in Los Angeles County fell to its lowest level since the Great Recession in the April-June quarter of last year.

Job vacancies rose again in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the period a year earlier, but at a slower pace as the number of signed leases increased as the economy began to recover, brokers said. real estate.

What we read (and listen to)

In the latest episode of LA Times’Gimme Shelter: Podcast on California Housing CrisisLiam Dillon talks about the state of eviction protections in California, which expire statewide on September 30, and how authorities are trying to speed up the distribution of rent assistance dollars. His guest is Assembly Member David Chiu (D-San Francisco), chair of the Assembly’s Housing and Community Development Committee and one of the key lawmakers involved in the housing protection debate.

In a crime thriller read, the drama of a $ 1.3 billion Ponzi scheme that stole thousands of investors to fund the luxury lifestyle of the accused continues to unfold years later. , while Associated Press reports that two other Californians, Dane Roseman and Ivan Acevedo, pleaded guilty in federal court in Miami to orchestrating the scheme. The whole story is quite a web.

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