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Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

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Time To Start Getting Ready For The Eclipse Next Week

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

Next Monday,  August 21st, the first total solar eclipse visible in the continental United States in 38 years will be seen all across the country. The best places in North America to see the eclipse at 100% will be from a large swath of the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. As you go farther south on the West Coast the totality of the eclipse becomes less, but Angelenos still will be able to witness about 70% of the sun being blocked out. The sun will start going black around 9:05 a.m. our time, reach the peak eclipse at 10:21 a.m. and finish at 11:44 a.m. Due to the timing, North America is the only continent where everyone who lives there will get to see some of it, but parts of South America, Africa and Europe will be able to witness at least a partial solar eclipse.

There are a bunch of great places to see the eclipse in Los Angeles. Here is a list of some of the best:

Griffith Observatory. Of course, this is at the top of the list and they are planning a huge public viewing event that will encompass many areas of the observatory from 9:00 a.m. through noon. They are expecting long lines and a lot of traffic congestion, so you may want to think about taking the special DASH Observatory bus, which has special service starting at 8:00 a.m. from the Vermont/Sunset Metro Red Line station.

Your local public library. Public libraries thrive on these kinds of historical events and in the days leading up to (and including) the day of the eclipse, the County of L.A. and Los Angeles Public Library branches are hosting a vast array of events, from lawn viewings to an astronomy workshop at the Malibu branch to a galaxy ring-making workshop at the Lancaster branch in the high desert. Check out the schedules of events here: colapublib.org/eclipse and lapl.org.

California Science Center. This Saturday through Monday they are having a special Solar Eclipse Festival Days event that really looks like fun for folks of all ages. There will be a lot of hands-on activities, demonstrations and crafts, and on Monday there will be representative from NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena to guide viewers through the event and answer questions.

Kidspace Children's Museum. Staff from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory will also be on hand at this Pasadena event to demonstrate how to make a pinhole camera (for safe viewing), and the museum is handing out viewing glasses with the price of admission. If the 70% eclipse isn't enough of a thrill, the museum will be screening NASA's livestream of the eclipse occurring across the United States. 

Mount Wilson Observatory. This is where the serious astronomy and solar system buffs will be (and those who have the time on a Monday to make the hike up there) as they will be celebrating the event with free public viewing through a variety of their world-renowned solar telescopes. While the observatory is no longer cutting edge, its incredible history alone makes the trip worth it. This is a great recent newspaper article about the fascinating history and artifacts found at the observatory. 

King Gillette Ranch. Head up into the Santa Monica Mountains and view the eclipse from this magnificent spot situated in the heart of the Malibu Creek Watershed. The National Park Service will have a ranger speaking at the Santa Monica Mountains Interagency Visitor Center at 9:30 a.m. to discuss the total eclipse. Afterward, guests will be invited to view the partial eclipse from the visitor center grounds at the ranch.

Even if you are not going crazy over the idea of viewing the eclipse in Los Angeles, the event will still make a great excuse to visit any of the above places, all of which offer amazing events and programs all year long. But, if like we housesellers are, you are interested in learning more about the significance of the event and just exactly what a solar eclipse really is, how it happens and safe ways to view it from your home or back yard, the NASA Total Eclipse site will give you some really great, comprehensive information.

 

The Surprising History Of Studio City

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

From time to time we housesellers like to spotlight various communities in the Los Angeles area and we recently were reminded of the fascinating history behind the founding of Studio City. Many Angelenos know the area as the hub of CBS Studios but you may not be aware that Studio City was the original master planned development in Los Angeles. It was originally known as Laurelwood and was part of the Rancho Ex-Mission land grant deal in 1846 that preceded California seceding from Mexico and joining the United States after the Mexican-American war.

Canadian-born Mack Sennett, one of the most important directors in Hollywood history, had been cranking out his slapstick comedies for over 15 years when he was given 20 acres in Laurelwood that were donated by a local land developer after Sennett's Silver Lake studios (then known as Edendale) proved to be much too small to accommodate his huge productions. By 1927, the year he was gifted that 20 acres of land on what was once a former lettuce ranch and fruit orchard, his roster included films starring the Keystone Kops, Sennett's famous “bathing beauties” and stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Mabel Normand, and Fatty Arbuckle. That year, the town officially became known as Studio City. The area had great appeal for new ventures after the Los Angeles Aqueduct began bringing water to the Valley in the mid 1910s, as well as for the acres of land covered in walnut, gum, pepper, and plum trees (and the only pecan orchard in Southern California), and Sennett knew he had a great opportunity in front of him.

While Mack Sennett’s studio would not be the first to move into the Valley (that honor belongs to Universal Studios, which relocated to North Hollywood in 1915), Studio City was envisioned as more than just a movie factory town. It would also be a model middle-class bedroom community, with studios to the south of the Los Angeles River and leafy neighborhoods to the north. Sennett promised that his new studio (or, "picture plant, as he called it) would be designed in the trendy Spanish-Mission style and would be the most modern in the motion picture industry. In a revolutionary move (though common now), plans were drawn up so that both exteriors and interiors on the lot could be used in filming.

As studio construction in 1927 and early 1928 kept going at a rapid pace, single-family homes and apartment houses also began to appear to make accommodations for the estimated 3,000 employees who would soon be working in Studio City. Angelenos steadily bought up lots, lured by the promise of an easy commute to Los Angeles on the newly paved Riverside Drive. Craftsman-style homes were the prevailing style, and, because the area was so wooded, trees had to be cut down instead of planted (unlike most of the desert-like Los Angeles basin). The beauty of Studio City continued to be one of the new community’s selling points for years.

A few interesting facts about Sennett and Studio City:

  • In 1955, Studio City's Station 78 became the first racially integrated station in the Los Angeles City Fire Department
  • The average household size is just 1.9 people
  • To celebrate the grand opening of Mack Sennett Studios, a giant pie measuring 12-feet-long and 10-feet-wide and consisting of fifteen thousand prunes, 300 pounds of prepared flour, 350 eggs, 300 pounds of sugar and 100 pounds of butter was baked in a huge oven in front of the studios
  • Sadly, the stock market crash in October of 1929 put Sennett in a downward spiral from which he could never recover and he would lose everything, including his state-of-the-art studios
  • Sennett rode on horseback around the lot every morning, and for his "health" he feasted on raw radishes and onions and downed whiskey shots for breakfast
  • Sennett was once the owner of the site where the Hollywood sign is now located
  • Mack Sennett Studios is now known as CBS Studio Center and is the largest employer in Studio City, though there is now a Mack Sennett Studios once again in Silver Lake that is used for everything from film, TV, commercial and video shoots to concerts, theatrical productions and special events.

The Priciest Listing In America Is In Bel Air

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

The Los Angeles real estate market has been one of the craziest in America since the 2007/2008 housing crash (can you believe it has been 10 years since the housing bubble really started blowing up beyond repair?) But, in many ways, Southern California has weathered the storm somewhat better than other cities around the nation. Mortgage and refinancing rates have been historically low for quite a few years now, foreclosure rates have dropped dramatically and there are many great programs to help buyers with home-buying assistance. The lack of inventory has certainly been a source of frustration for buyers and the real estate industry, but, as a whole, the housing market has made steady gains since the crash.

One segment of the housing market that hasn't suffered any of this has been the ultra-luxury market and, in the last few years, Los Angeles has seen multiple properties either presented as the most expensive listings ever in California or actually setting records for their sales prices (such as the Playboy Mansion's $100 million dollar sale last Summer making it the most expensive home ever sold in L.A.). Now, the famed Bel-Air estate known as Chartwell, home to the late Univision head and media tycoon Jerry Perenchio for 30 years until his death in May, has been listed for $350 million dollars. Los Angeles is not only once again the home of America's most expensive current listing, but the United State's most expensive official listing ever. The listing blows away the Bel-Air spec house that was listed earlier this year for $250 million, which at the time set a record. The home is not likely to fetch anywhere near that price (the Playboy Mansion was originally listed for $200 million), but, again, with the crazy L.A. market--who knows?

While the price tag seems clearly over-the-top, there is no denying the estate is one of the most impressive in Southern California. Architect Sumner Spaulding (who designed the iconic Catalina Casino in Avalon on Catalina Island) built the colossal home in the neoclassical, French chateau style in 1933, and the 25,000-square-foot main residence is nestled on a 10-acre lot with carefully sculpted gardens, fountains, vast grassy lawns and a 75-foot long swimming pool.

Many other areas of the grounds may have the really impressive features as there is a roughly 5,700-square-foot guesthouse designed in the early 1930s by Wallace Neff, covered parking for 40+ cars, the swimming pool and pool house are connected to the main house by an elevator and a tunnel (!) and Perenchio acquired multiple contiguous parcels over the years, one being the longtime residence of Ronald and Nancy Reagan that was purchased by Perenchio in 2016 for $15 million. Oh, and there are two more non-contiguous properties located across the street that come with the deal. 

We housesellers know there will be a lot of interesting stories about this just listed property and its history that will be coming out over the next few weeks and months, but the main details that are already somewhat known are pretty fascinating. Architect Spaulding built the home as a gift for his wife who, unfortunately for him, hated its unabashed opulence and so they never moved in. The mansion sat empty until the 1940s when it was acquired by hotelier Arnold Kirkeby where it stayed in his family until 1986 before being sold to Perenchio, which makes it technically just a 2-owner home. And, perhaps one of the most fun facts is that during the 1960s, it was featured as the Clampett family’s Beverly Hills mansion on the 1960s sitcom "The Beverly Hillbillies". 

 

 

Brew At The Zoo And Other Fun Stuff This Weekend

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

It looks like the activity getting the most attention in the press and online this weekend is the Brew at the Zoo tonight at the Los Angeles Zoo. The annual after hours event features beers from 50+ craft breweries, live music, zookeeper talks, and close-up animal encounters. One of the more unusual aspects of the event this year is that you’ll have a chance to taste a special beer made with ingredients selected by Hasani, a western lowland gorilla who lives at the Zoo. Back in June, Hasani was given access to a variety of grains, fruits and vegetables, and he chose his favorites, and, in the "only in L.A." department, the Zoo says “Hasani chose rolled oats, pilsner malt, and oranges, which all come together to make a nice, unique Belgian blond ale with a citrus flavor”. Designated drivers also get free unlimited sodas and hors d’oeuvres.

The second of the three Chinatown Summer Nights that happen each summer is Saturday and this is one of those events that has a little of everything. Part food event, part summer party, Chinatown Summer Nights is an exciting hot spot for Angelenos that serves up the many culinary offerings of Chinatown and L.A.'s gourmet food trucks. You can sample the neighborhood’s wares, watch Chinese chefs perform cooking demonstrations, experience large-scale, outdoor video projections and take part in hands-on, Chinese cultural activities presented by local organizations and museums. This event goes on until midnight and you get to sip on craft brews and dance in Central Plaza with DJs from 89.9 KCRW.

We housesellers have often written about the Craftsman architectural movement, and the Gamble House exemplifies this style maybe more than any house in America. This summer, the Gamble House will once again open its servants’ quarters for exclusive “Upstairs Downstairs” tours. If you visit now through August 13th you'll be able to compare the living quarters of the Gamble family with those “in service” and you can learn how the Gamble family and their staff lived in and maintained this architectural masterpiece from the early 20th century. Some cool things you can do are visit the original laundry and coal rooms in the basement, learn about the multi-ethnic staff that helped make the Gambles’ lives in Pasadena so pleasant, tour the public spaces and family rooms that include the meticulous craftsmanship of the Greene and Greene furniture, and take in the specially-designed leaded art glass light fixtures and the unique architectural features designed by the Greene’s exclusively for the Gamble family.

If you are in the Valley and want an old time Drive In movie experience, the next week offers up a great experience at the Lake Balboa Complex just off of the 101 and 405. Tonight through next Saturday, they will be screening ET: the Extraterrestrial, Back to the Future, The Karate Kid, and La Bamba (each film was carefully picked for its connection to the San Fernando Valley). There will be a variety of popular food trucks as well as some special guests and stage entertainment. Doors open at 6:00 pm each night and you will want to plan an early arrival to get some dinner and snacks. Make sure to come dressed in your favorite 80’s threads since there will also be costume contests before each film with a bunch of prizes donated by local Valley businesses.

Los Angeles Lands 2028 Summer Olympics

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

Though we were duking it out with Paris for the rights to hold the 2024 Summer Olympics here in Los Angeles, we will actually get to host them in 2028. That may seem like a long way off, but a decade can fly by pretty fast. After an incredibly iconic Summer Games in 1932 and a successful 1984 Summer Olympiad, this will be our third time hosting the event and the Los Angeles of the present, and future, looks to be absolutely the perfect city to host the world's citizens, leaders and athletes. We have certainly come a long way since the 1984 games. An interesting fact many people may not know is that the only two cities bidding on the games by the late 1970's were L.A. and Tehran. Due to its turbulent and violent political and social upheaval, Iran dropped out, so Los Angeles won by default. Despite the previous Olympic Games of the 1970's being financial disasters for their host cities, the L.A. Olympics were a success financially for the region and re-ignited the desire for other world-class cities to bid on the event.

Unfortunately, the recent Beijing and Rio Olympics were disasters for their countries, with huge financial losses and many of the sports arenas and facilities built for their Olympics falling into disrepair from vandalism and disuse. The costs for hosting an Olympics are enormous and prohibitive and most countries, no matter how world-class they are, are not eager to take the risk. We, however, should have our new sports teams' facilities, stadiums and arenas well within use by 2028 and will not need to spend a penny on erecting new buildings. In fact, the incredible infrastructure we already have in place will save the city tens of billions of dollars that other cities have had to fork out to prepare for their Olympics. Couple that with our incredible rail transit system that continues to grow (and was virtually non-existent in 1984), a vibrant Downtown and Hollywood area that would not have been a place many tourists would have fond memories of visiting in 1984--but now are safe and inviting hot spots--and a boost in hotel space and amenities for tourists and you have a recipe for a massive success. 

Unless a meteor hits the West Coast before the 2028 Olympics are under way, our being awarded the Summer Games deal seems like a win-win-win on all fronts. Mayor Garcetti, in a news conference Monday, said we got a better deal from the International Olympic Committee than Paris since waiting until 2028 will result in hundreds of millions of additional dollars for Los Angeles, which will get more than $2 billion from the IOC. The money will go toward a $5.3 billion budget that will leave the city with a surplus, he said. “This deal was too good to pass up,’’ Garcetti said Monday at the StubHub Center, adding that a large chunk of money will be used to support youth sports in Southern California. It is easy to be skeptical or cautiously optimistic in most cities when you hear talk like that, but over the past decade so much of what has been promised about how Los Angeles would keep getting greater in the future has come true, and we housesellers can only hope that positive trend holds over the next 11 years until the 2028 Olympic Games.

There is sure to be a lot of information and details leaking out over the next few weeks about the Olympic plans, and we are sure many people have many different opinions on the level of importance of yesterday's news, so please let us know your thoughts on this subject either by replying directly on our blog page or on our Facebook page.

Here Are The Details Of Next Month's 405 Near LAX Closures

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

We housesellers are pleased that construction on the Crenshaw line Metro project is moving forward to connect a rail line to LAX Airport, eventually increasing access to travelers who want to use the convenience of our pretty great public transportation system to get to the airport. Before that happens, though, drivers will be suffering some periodic bouts of inconvenience on one of the nations's busiest freeways. For 15 nights starting this Monday, full and partial closures of the 405 Freeway will begin as workers construct a bridge for the Crenshaw-LAX light rail project. The nightly closures will last from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Friday, but the freeway will be fully open during the weekends. The closures are needed to safely remove the wood framing built to construct an 800-foot-long bridge over the 405 Freeway that will carry the train over the 405, Hyde Park Avenue, and La Cienega Blvd, connecting the Exposition Line to the Green Line.

The best list of details of the closures is from Caltrans and is as follows:

July 31 to Aug. 5nightly northbound closures:

Full northbound nightly closures for one week between La Cienega Boulevard/Manchester Boulevard off-ramp, Century Boulevard off-ramp and La Tijera Boulevard on-ramp.

Monday to Thursday:

  • Two lanes closed, 10 p.m. to midnight
  • All lanes closed, midnight to 4 a.m.
  • Two lanes reopened, 4 to 5 a.m.
  • All lanes will be opened by 5 a.m.

Friday night:

  • Two lanes closed, 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.
  • All lanes closed, 2 to 5 a.m.
  • Two lanes reopened, 5 to 7 a.m.
  • All lanes will be open by 7 a.m. on Saturday.

Detour: Exit La Cienega Boulevard/Manchester Boulevard off-ramp; turn left (west) on Manchester Boulevard, then right (north) on La Tijera Boulevard; take on-ramp to northbound 405 Freeway.

Aug. 7 to 12 – nightly center lane closures:

Carpool and two left lanes closed in northbound and southbound directions will be closed between La Cienega Boulevard/Manchester Boulevard off-ramp, Century Boulevard off-ramp, and La Tijera Boulevard on-ramp.

Monday to Friday:

  • Northbound and southbound HOV lanes and two left lanes closed 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • All lanes will be opened by 5 a.m. the following morning.

Aug. 14 to 19 – nightly southbound closures:

Full southbound nightly closures between the Florence Avenue/Manchester Boulevard off- ramp to the south of Manchester Boulevard.

Monday to Thursday:

  • Two lanes closed 10 p.m. to midnight.
  • All lanes closed midnight to 5 a.m.
  • Two lanes reopened 5 to 6 a.m.
  • All lanes will open by 6 a.m.

Friday night:

  • Two lanes closed 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
  • All lanes closed 1 to 4 a.m.
  • Two lanes reopened 4 to 7 a.m.
  • All lanes will be open by 7 a.m. on Saturday.

Detour: Exit Florence Avenue/Manchester Boulevard off-ramp; proceed south on La Cienega Boulevard; take on-ramp to southbound 405 Freeway at Olive Street.

 

 

So Much Dodger News!

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

While the Dodgers are having an historically great season (which we housesellers, particularly Lori, are over the moon about), it certainly has not been without its ups and downs. The drama has continued over the past few days as Clayton Kershaw tweaked his back and the injury may keep him on the sidelines for over a month. Then, on the first day of wondering what things would be like without Kershaw for awhile, rookie Cody Bellinger put the Dodgers on his shoulders and made sure we still had a reason to shout with excitement. With the Dodgers 5 outs from a defeat, Bellinger hit his 28th home run (second in the National League behind Miami's Giancarlo Stanton's 32 HRs), a three-run shot that powered the team to a 6-4 victory Monday over the Twins. The 22-year-old who started the season in the minor leagues is now in the season MVP conversation. And then there is Edward Paredes, making his major league debut after 12 seasons in the minors, throwing a scoreless eighth to earn the win. Yep.

The other big news of the moment seems to revolve around Justin Verlander, the Tiger's ace pitcher and longest-tenured player for Detroit. Things seem to be spiraling out of control with negotiations to keep him there and the two teams most likely to get him in a trade seem to be the Cubs and the Dodgers. With $56 million left on his contract, the team that trades for Verlander will either have to take on that deal entirely or the Tigers will have to take a loss to make the deal work. Verlander’s resume includes an AL Cy Young and MVP award...and with one of the deepest farm systems in baseball (and a major league squad sporting a 68-31 record), we are in a position to acquire just about any asset on the open market we may want.

Veering from the actual game and players, there is also a lot going on in the world of Dodger Stadium food. Coinciding with their on-field success, the Dodgers are hoping to score with their new eating options. Some of the new eats only available this week have been Olympic Rings, a plate of onion rings laced with “Philly meat” (which has to be cheesesteak, right?), banana peppers, and a lot of garlic aioli, a chicken and waffle sandwich with bacon, something called the Lob City Fries, available during Clippers/Dodgers Night this evening (those come topped with braised short rib and beef gravy and jack cheese), and a new permanent item known as the Think Blue Burrito. It’s only available in reserve section 32, but comes stuffed with pulled pork, black beans, rice, avocado, pico de gallo, and crema. It's going to be a long season for our Boys in Blue, so it is nice to know we won't run out of food options!

 

 

 

Big Weekend For Japanese Food/Art/Culture In Los Angeles

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

This is an absolutely fantastic weekend to enjoy the art, food and culture of Japanese chefs, poets, artists and activists and the impact they have on the amazing experience that is living in Los Angeles. We housesellers love to put the spotlight on the incredibly rich and vibrant melting pot that is LA, and this weekend Little Tokyo is bustling with some amazing activity.

First off, there is Delicious Little Tokyo 2017, an extraordinary food event that runs today through Sunday and is an invitation for all LA Foodies to delight in the wonderfully varied cuisines that the restaurants of Little Tokyo have to offer. This is a great chance to take advantage of the many Little Tokyo restaurants that will be offering special menu items, giveaways, demonstrations and workshops spotlighting the culinary gems that the area has to offer. There are way too many events to list all of them here (this is THE big culinary event in Little Tokyo of the year), but there will be such delights as a Poke & Tea Tasting, bento box lunches with food designed in the images of popular anime characters, a Sushi-Making Workshop with Mitsuru Sushi & Grill, Ukulele classes/lessons and Japanese cocktail workshops. 

Saturday offers up a moving and historic program from the The Friends of Little Tokyo Branch Library. They will host their 31st Author Recognition Luncheon featuring last year’s honoree, author Naomi Shibata (“Bend With the Wind: The Life, Family, and Writings of Grace Eto Shibata”), and the Nisei participants in Ms. Shibata’s “Never Forgotten: A Nisei Writing Workshop”. What makes this special is that it is sponsored by a group called Poets & Writers, one of the largest nonprofit literary organizations in the United States serving poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. 

There is also the Art & Sustainable Little Tokyo program this weekend sponsored by Go Little Tokyo. that features a Saturday morning of FREE healthy eating and physical activity including a Tai Chi class, smoothie samples, healthy eating class, and a cooking demo. Go Little Tokyo highlights the unique cultural programs, community events and dining and shopping experiences found in Little Tokyo (seriously one of  Los Angeles’ most vibrant, but perhaps not as attention-getting, cultural hubs) and we like that they bring attention to all of the destinations and landmarks in and around this historic walkable neighborhood, as walking districts have been something we have long tried to champion and bring attention to.

Inside The Westfield Century City Mega Renovation

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

The official roll out isn't until the Fall, but from what we housesellers have seen online, the BILLION dollar make-over of the Westfield Century City mall is pretty spectacular and looks to make Century City a top destination spot for Angelenos for the first time in many years. We are sure there will be a lot of publicity surrounding the grand opening, but for now we wanted to share a few tidbits with you.

One of the more intriguing shops set to open soon at the mall is Randy's Donuts. Yes, THE Randy's Donuts, the most visible, famous donut shop in the world that has been known worldwide since the 1950s for the giant donut on its roof and its constant presence in TV shows and movies. They have been looking to branch out for years now and the Westfield store is planned to be one of many they hope to open around Southern California in the coming years. 

Another interesting note is that Macy's, which has been shuttering stores across the country for much of the past few years, is opening up a 156,000-square-foot, two-level store (this represents an addition of 50,000 square feet from the retailer’s previous space at the Westfield) and bringing in a Bluemercury spa, 4 My Stylist boutiques and new brands into the men’s and women’s departments. So, they are clearly betting on the success of the new mall.

The mall, which opened in 1964 and has undergone several renovations since, was lacking in a modern digital infrastructure to connect with its digital-device carrying customers. So, planners hired a new IT team that includes veterans of the sports-arena networking market to develop a state-of-the-art visual, sound and communication network so that the mall will have cool amenities such as a concert and entertainment space within the mall that will have a professional staging and lighting infrastructure. 

The historic shopping spot on Santa Monica Boulevard is also getting some newly designed outdoor gathering spaces that will total more than 8 acres and include nice touches such as hanging couch-beds, canopies of trees lining pathways, strolling gardens and small grassy hills where visitors can just hang out and connect as part of their Century City experience. 

Parking innovations will be noticeable, too, such as the reserved parking area, where customers can reserve and pay for a larger, centrally located spot that is held for them in a special garage area. When it is up and running, customers will be able to pull into the spot by finding their name on an overhead screen — and then just leave when they are ready without having to worry about parking tickets or paying attendants. The mall is planning on 5,000 parking spaces, and in many of the non-reserved ones there will be a system of red and green lights that hover above each spot, letting drivers know if a space is open or not from far down the row.

For Foodies, the big news is that the long planned Eataly Los Angeles should be open at the mall by the end of the year. If you are not familiar with Eataly, it is the largest Italian food store in the world and is comprised of a variety of restaurants, food and beverage counters, bakeries, retail items, and cooking schools and demonstration spots. They currently have mega-complexes in New York City, Rome, Chicago, Tokyo and Munich, Germany, as well as a few other spots around the world. Giants of the culinary world such as Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton will be involved with the Los Angeles location.

So, there you have a few highlights of this enormous project. If all goes smoothly, there will be a new LA "must visit" spot fully up and running in just a few months.

 

 

 

 

 

Big Changes In Store For Los Angeles In The Coming Years

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

Vince Bertoni is not a name many people in Los Angeles are probably too familiar with. There was a little buzz surrounding him when he was confirmed as the new Los Angeles Planning Czar (technically, the Director of the Los Angeles Department of City Planning), but in a town filled with people seeking the spotlight, he seems pretty low-key. His recent interview with Los Angeles Magazine caught the attention of your friendly neighborhood housesellers and we found ourselves interested in his plans for the future of Los Angeles. The interview with Bertoni from this past March given to planningreport.com is a great place to get a comprehensive impression of his vision. 

While he certainly can't take credit for the success of the rapidly expanding LA rail transit system, he does seem to have a strong take on how that success will affect the areas near to transit centers. He tells LA Mag that he has been working closely with the CEO and planning personnel of Metro, and that they all have a vision that includes not just planning the rail network, but developing strong communities that can offer new housing, jobs, retail centers and many other opportunities. He also talks about how "they don’t have single-family detached homes anymore in New York" but Los Angeles still does and a challenge is going to be how to "maintain the integrity of residential neighborhoods...where we have really good transit connections—and make sure we have the right kind of transitions for that.”

We also found his remarks regarding driverless cars and their impact on the future of Los Angeles quite interesting. He feels that as automated vehicles become more common, city planners will have an opportunity to "rethink the fundamental geometry" of our streets and view them as a comprehensive habitat that doesn’t only revolve around cars. He says, "We’re looking at what it’s like to walk, bicycle, even skateboard down these streets and all the other ways we’ll get around. We’re going to be putting in wider sidewalks, trees, bicycle lanes that people feel protected in and are looking at these corridors in a very different way than we have in the past." He states that the certainty of automated vehicles is already changing the way LA builds and he is anticipating the day when the rise of automated vehicles is a reality and he says that his team of city planners are already "requiring that if a developer builds parking above ground Downtown, they make it so there is the ability to convert that space to residential or office or some other kind of use. Rather than continuous sloping ramps, the space looks like regular building stories that can be converted into floor space.”

So...some interesting food for thought, and we would love to know what your thoughts are about the future of our rapidly changing city. As Mr. Bertoni says, "L.A. is fundamentally rethinking what kind of city it’s going to be and I find that amazingly exciting and challenging."  

 

 

 

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