Real Estate newsletter: Downtown L.A.’s coolest hotel room
Welcome back to the Real Estate newsletter, where the week’s top story isn’t about what you can buy, but what you can rent — assuming you have $10,000 to drop on a hotel room.
That’s the single-night price of the prized suite in the new Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel. The historic 1920s building has been relaunched as a luxury hotel, and the crown jewel is a 2,777-square-foot suite complete with its own indoor swimming pool. The sprawling space is bigger than the average single-family home, and the 35-foot pool is bigger than the communal one up on the roof.
Back on the celebrity side, a “Yellowstone” actress offered up the priciest listing of the week and the sixth-priciest listing currently on the market in Los Angeles County. Barret Swatek, who appeared in the hit drama series, is asking $99.5 million for a Malibu trophy home above El Sol County Beach that she shares with her husband, retired hedge-fund manager Adam Weiss.
On the other side of the country, Lakers assistant coach David Fizdale picked up a place in Miami Beach, paying $1.725 million for an oceanfront condo. It’s the second unit he owns in Akoya, a 47-story high-rise that ranks as the third-tallest building in the city.
Let’s not linger too long on luxury news because The Times published two great stories this week on affordable housing. The first takes a look at Article 34, California’s barrier to affordable housing that requires cities to get voter approval before they build “low-rent housing” funded with public dollars. It’s been tough to kill; lawmakers have tried to remove or weaken the article three times, but all the efforts were defeated at the ballot box.
The second story looks on the brighter side, as a cabin village for homeless mothers is on the way in San Diego County. The development was passed two years ago and construction began last month. Activists are hoping it can serve as a model for alternative options to homeless shelters.
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Amenities galore in downtown L.A.’s newest hotel
Hotels with indoor pools have been around for decades. But at the plush new Downtown L.A. Proper Hotel, there’s a 2,777-square-foot suite with its own indoor swimming pool, and it’s much bigger than the one on the roof shared by all guests, writes Roger Vincent.
Another suite has a enough room and height to play basketball — because it used to be a basketball court, back when the Renaissance Revival-style tower on Broadway was a private club for the city’s business elite that included athletic facilities, fine dining and rooms for overnight stays.
The building, completed in 1926 as the Commercial Club, has regained those elements after changing a lot over the years, usually not for the better. Now it’s owned by a Santa Monica company that specializes in large-scale makeovers of historic properties to create uncommon inns for travelers weary or wary of upmarket chain hotels.
“We call it a looser kind of luxury,” said Brian De Lowe, president of Proper Hospitality. “It’s our unique take” on deluxe urban hotels.
‘Yellowstone’ actress seeks her fortune
Malibu’s latest trophy home just surfaced for sale on a bluff above El Sol County Beach. The coastal estate is owned by “Yellowstone” actress Barret Swatek and retired hedge-fund manager Adam Weiss, who are shopping it around for $99.5 million.
That’s more than double the $45 million they paid for the property in 2018, records show. At $99.5 million, it’s the sixth-priciest home currently on the market in Los Angeles County and the second-priciest in Malibu.
Weiss and Swatek, who also appeared in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “American Housewife,” bought the place from supermodel Cindy Crawford and her husband, businessman Rande Gerber. The couple are trading one coast for another after dropping $45 million on a mansion in Hawaii — one of the priciest home sales the state has ever seen.
Lakers coach heads east
Lakers assistant coach David Fizdale found time to make a real estate move in the middle of basketball season, buying a waterfront condo in Miami Beach for $1.725 million.
Fizdale, who coached the Grizzlies and Knicks before taking an assistant role with the Lakers last year, paid $175,000 more than the asking price for the two-bedroom unit in Akoya, a 47-story high-rise that ranks as the third-tallest building in Miami Beach.
It’s the second home he owns in the complex; records show he picked up a smaller unit a few floors below for $785,000 in 2018. The L.A. native also owns a Mediterranean-style spot in Calabasas, which he bought for $2.25 million in 2020.
The history of Article 34
It has been called a racist relic of California’s past, a rule that has stalled vital affordable housing developments for decades.
But it has been difficult for California to repeal Article 34, a state constitutional provision that requires cities to get voter approval before they build “low-rent housing” funded with public dollars.
No other state constitution similarly requires voter approval for public housing, according to the California Constitution Center at the UC Berkeley School of Law. Earlier attempts to repeal or weaken the provision faltered, and now a plan for seeing its repeal this year might be delayed.
Here’s an examination of Article 34 from the pages of The Times.
Cabin village on the way for homeless moms
A small cluster of cabins that will serve as a temporary home for young mothers is under construction in eastern San Diego County, and the little village someday could serve as a model for other communities seeking alternatives to homeless shelters, writes Gary Warth.
“We’ve been working so hard for so many years, and now we’re here,” said Lisa Kogan, treasurer of Amikas, a nonprofit that has organized the construction next to Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon. “And we’re going to do it.”
Amikas was formed in 2009 with a mission of housing women, children and female veterans, and in the last five years it has advocated for using cabins to provide a safe and secure shelter for homeless people who otherwise may be living on sidewalks and in canyons.
Then two years ago, Steve Goble brought the idea before his fellow El Cajon City Council members after seeing a demonstration cabin Amikas had built at Meridian Baptist Church a year earlier. Council members in August 2020 unanimously approved a pilot program through December 2023 that would add five more cabins, plus one for security.
What we’re reading
After burning through its allotment of federal emergency housing aid, California is set to receive $136 million more, the New York Times reports. The Biden administration has taken back $377 million in aid and redirected it to four states clamoring for help: California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois.
In the modern version of a company town, employers are now wooing prospective employees by offering housing. Those making offers includea grocery store owner in Montana and a car-repair shop owner in Colorado, showing the employer-landlord model is gaining steam in Middle America — specifically areas with pricy real estate and low-paying hospitality jobs. Bloomberg has the story.