Real Estate newsletter: Once Upon a Time in … Los Feliz
Welcome back to the Real Estate newsletter, which hits your inbox after a week in which some spaces found new life, while others were marked for death.
But first, here’s what the celebs are selling. The week’s splashiest headline came by way of Leonardo DiCaprio. The “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” star made a move a few miles east in Los Feliz, asking $5.75 million for a leafy 1920s home that he bought from musician Moby three years ago.
He’s hoping for the same success Big Sean had in Beverly Hills Post Office, where the rapper unloaded a custom mansion complete with a nightclub, movie theater and recording studio for $11.1 million. That’s $2.4 million more than what he paid when he bought it from Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash in 2017. It probably helped that Big Sean ripped out the pirate-ship chandeliers and faux alligator wallpaper that lined the walls when Slash lived there.
The aforementioned “new life” blossomed in Mid-City, where Sorina Vaziri, inspired by the bountiful gardens of her grandparents’ home in Iran, opened the country’s first public traditional Persian tea garden in her backyard. Visitors can book private parties in the forest-like spaces, and tea is always on the house.
Death, on the other hand, comes creeping to the doors of two beloved commercial buildings. The first is Barris Kustom Industries, the iconic North Hollywood car shop that birthed the Batmobile, the Munster Koach and scores of other legendary vehicles. It’s up for grabs at $4 million and almost certainly destined for redevelopment.
In Studio City, the vintage 1960s hotel Sportsmen’s Lodge — a longtime celebrity hangout spot along the Los Angeles River — will be razed to make way for apartments. The tear-down is part of an ongoing makeover to the San Fernando Valley spot.
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Oscar winner offers spare home
Near the foothills of Griffith Park, Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio is asking $5.75 million for a 95-year-old home he bought from musician Moby three years ago.
It’s not his main house; that’s found on the coast of Malibu, where he paid $23 million for a 1.8-acre estate in 2016. The “Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood” star bought the stately Los Feliz retreat for a family member in 2018, The Times previously reported.
Moby dramatically renovated the English traditional-style spot during his stay, and it looks about the same as it did then, with custom millwork, groin-vault ceilings and three elaborate fireplaces. Hidden behind gates and towering hedges, the two-story home holds five bedrooms and seven bathrooms across 4,644 square feet.
Rapper sells mansion with its own nightclub
Big Sean’s custom mansion — complete with a nightclub, movie theater and recording studio — just sold for $11.1 million in Beverly Hills Post Office.
It was a fairly short stay for the rapper, who bought it from rock legend Slash for $8.7 million in 2017. The Guns N’ Roses guitarist made some interesting stylistic decisions during his ownership, including pirate-ship chandeliers and faux alligator wallpaper.
Big Sean reined in the interiors over the last four years with a dramatic remodel. He opted for simplicity, swapping multicolored rooms with clean, minimalist spaces marked by white walls, arched doorways and light hardwood floors. Across 11,000 square feet are seven bedrooms, 7.5 bathrooms and common spaces such as a two-story foyer, family room with a bar and chef’s kitchen with a pair of marble islands.
A Persian tea garden in a Mid-City backyard
As a child, Sorina Vaziri spent summers at her grandparents’ home in Iran, where she and her many cousins would explore the garden’s lush, vast food forest, which overflowed with an abundance of juicy pink pomegranates, sprawling grapevines and thousands of persimmons, writes Claire Reid. Beneath the cooling shade of fruit trees, the cousins would play backyard games like manhunt — an action-packed combination of hide-and-seek and tag — before retreating to the house for a refreshing glass of traditional Persian tea.
In January 2020, she founded Teapot L.A., an urban garden and nonprofit that offers tea parties, educational seed workshops, garden design consultations, cultural movie screenings and garden-to-table harvest dinners featuring chef-prepared exotic produce such as moringa pumpkins and pineapple sage.
Visitors can book personal time, private tea parties and romantic evenings in Teapot’s extensive vegetable, flower and herb gardens on Healing Gardens for as little as $20 for two hours. Tea is always on the house, and all bookings benefit Mid-City is Growing, a grass-roots campaign spearheaded by Vaziri committed to improving and increasing the number of public parks and inspiring green spaces available to Mid-City children.
Iconic car shop is on its last lap
A foundation stone of Southern California car culture is about to be dislodged: The North Hollywood home of Barris Kustom Industries — birthplace of the Batmobile, the Munster Koach and a thousand other custom cars — is for sale, writes automotive scribe Charles Fleming.
The 10,000-square-foot commercial property, on an 18,000-square-foot corner lot, is offered at $3.995 million and is almost certainly destined for redevelopment.
The package includes the showroom that still houses a Batmobile; the garages where brothers George and Sam Barris did custom body work for celebrities including Elvis Presley, Elton John and Cassandra Peterson, a.k.a. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark; and even the spray booth where “kustom kolors” concocted by George were applied to cars driven by James Dean, John Wayne and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, for whom Barris built a Bat Smart Car.
Apartments will replace the Sportsmen’s Lodge
The owners of Sportsmen’s Lodge plan to raze the 1960s-vintage hotel on Ventura Boulevard and replace it with apartments as part of an ongoing makeover of the site long known as a cultural center of the San Fernando Valley, writes Roger Vincent.
The Sportsmen’s Lodge complex in the Studio City neighborhood of Los Angeles became popular in the 1930s as a trout fishing attraction. It became a celebrity hangout and then a cherished institution where couples got married and families shared big occasions such as bar mitzvahs.
The banquet center where those events were held was recently removed to make way for a $100-million retail center with stores and restaurants called the Shops at Sportsmen’s Lodge. It is set to open in September.
Midwood Investment & Development will next seek city permission to knock down the 190-room hotel and erect the Residences at Sportsmen’s Lodge, which would have 520 apartments, including 78 units of subsidized affordable housing.
What we’re reading
The California market is still burning hot — literally. In the Bay Area’s Walnut Creek, a house ravaged by a fire last September recently hit the market for $875,000, and according to SFGate, a sale is already pending.
In some states, $350,000 buys a family home. In Manhattan, it buys a parking spot. According to Bloomberg, one Manhattan garage operator, noticing that city dwellers are driving more during the pandemic instead of using public transportation, is offering up 23 parking spaces in an Upper East Side garage for $350,000 apiece.