321 S San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90048
Westbury Towers is an 82-unit 11 story high-rise in Beverly Center. The building was built in 1976 as condos and is solid construction with concrete and steel. The HOA has not made any updates to the exterior, lobby, hallways, or laundry rooms since it was built so the building is dated now. That said, Westbury Towers has an incredible location, and the condos are very generous in size. This is one of the most affordable buildings in the area. The HOA, levying a modest assessment, could make this building really shine.
Westbury towers is walking distance to both Cedar Sinai hospital and the Beverly Center Shopping center (which is directly across the street). The Restaurants and shops on 3rd St/Robertson are also nearby. This location provides easy access to both West Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
There is a Trader Joe’s market in the new 8500 Burton building. I personally love the Larder in the same building- they have great food! You also have to check out Andre’s Bazaar at SLS hotel- really cool place to get a cocktail!
For your coffee fix, check out the Coffee bean and tea leaf at La Cienega and 3rd.
The Condos are a mix of 1 Bedrooms (22) and 2 bedrooms (60) ranging in size from 950 sqft to 1,300 sqft. All the floorplans are single level. One Bedrooms are selling for $400,000 to $500,000 and 2 bedrooms are selling for $600,000 to $700,000. The bedrooms and living rooms are really large. Bedrooms can fit a king and most floorplans have a walk in master closet. The kitchen have electric appliances and are square. The Kitchen has a bar area to looks into the living room. Every condo has one or two balconies. Condos on the higher floors have great views.
Pool and Spa
Lobby with on site manager, and nightly security patrol
Parking and Laundry
Parking is in two underground garages- 1 bedrooms ahve 1 parking space and 2 bedrooms have 2 parking spaces. For two parking spaces it is a mix between tandem and side by side. Guest Parking?
Laundry is community, with a washer and dryer on each floor.
Home Owners Association
HOA dues Monthly Cost? $498/condo
HOA dues cover? Water and Trash, Building insurance, Common area maintenance, Reserves
HOA does exclude? Electricity, Internet, Cable, Condo Insurance
6700-6760 Hillpark Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90068
Highlands is a hidden gem! Located in a picturesque setting of natural canyons just off the 101 freeway in the Cahuenga Pass, the community has a resort like feel and is the most affordable way to ‘get in’ to the Hollywood Hills.
The Highlands has 192-condos that are grouped into 16 different buildings. Built in 1966 by developer Theodore Bentley, a third generation builder. Bentley’s grandfather was the founder of Pomona, and his father worked on highway projects and the aqueduct. The Highlands opened at an inopportune moment, the US economy was in recession and sales were slow. Instead of selling, the condos were leased as apartments until 1973- when Lindley Enterprises purchased the property and infused another $1.2M into improvements and sold them as condos.
The property has 14 acres of grounds, with many different species of trees and other greenery that was planted on site when it was built. This landscaping is now mature and very pleasing. The most noticeable trees are the towering pines, but there are wide assortment of varieties. In addition to the expansive grounds, the land to the south of the site (about 20 Acres) is reserved as open space.
Being located in the Cahuenga pass, the Highlands is very convenient for commuters to either the valley or the westside. Some employees who work in the studios at Burbank also choose to call the highlands home. Being so close to the 101 you can pick up the 134 to go east to Pasadena, or head west on 101 towards 405, as well as take 101 South straight downtown.
Since the community is a little bit off the beaten path, it is quiet and safe. Hillpark Drive is a cul-de-sac. The property is hillside with a slight rising grade.
Unfortunately, the Highlands, much like it’s neighbor across the 101, Cahuenga Tennis Club, is not very walkable. However there are so many amenities on site, the reduces the amount of trips. Cahuenga Blvd has a ton of restaurants which provide a lot of dining options. A few of my favorites are: Mercado, the Baked Potato (great jazz!), Miceli (don’t love the food, but love the live singing waiters!), In’n’Out, Joes Falafal, GC Marketplace.
Universal Studios is right around the corner! Check out Universal Studios City walk for a fun night out.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the Highlands next store neighbor, the Hollywood Bowl!
As far as groceries are concerned, you can go north to Ralph’s Studio City at 10901 Ventura Blvd, or drive to Beachwood’s Bristol farms. There are a few smaller markets around the neighborhood for a quick run if you run out or forget something.
There are 16 buildings and each building has 12 condos. Condos on the second and third floors are four corner units with no common walls and have balconies. There are two condos on the 5th floor of each building with sun decks, and two condos on the first floor. Each building has its own private elevator.
Square footage on units ranges from 900 sqft to 1,400 sqft. Floorplans are 2 Bedrooms, 1 Bedroom + Den, and 1 bedrooms. All the floorplans are single story.
900 sqft-1000 sqft
1,100 sqft – 1,200 sqft
1,200 sqft-1,400 sqft
The original finishes from the 70’s were well you know… umm. Except for the front doors which are very vintage. Many owners have updated their condos. The original condos had popcorn ceilings. Many owners have smoothed their ceilings and added recessed lights. The kitchens had country style raised panel wood cabinets and ceramic tile counter-tops. Just a simple coat of paint can really change the look of the cabinets if you don’t want to replace them. Condos have a huge combined dining room and living room (500sqft – 700sqft) with floor to ceiling sliding glass doors that lead out to balcony. Kitchens have a bar area that can seat 2 or 3 stools. Central HVAC.
2 Heated Pools (Upper and Lower) + Spa
2 tennis courts and a Paddle court
Parking & Laundry
Parking is in a gated underground parking garage. Condos have 1 or 2 parking spaces. The 1 bedrooms have 1 parking space and the 1 bedroom + den and 2bedrooms have 2 parking spaces. In addition, there is plenty of street parking on Hillpark. Guest Parking?
For Laundry, the complex was original built with Community laundry. Laundry rooms are where?
The HOA allow owners to install laundry in their condo as long as it is a special compact/ventless washer dryer approved by HOA. Installing a Washer/Dryer is owner’s expense. The HOA can provide a list of approved models that owners are allowed to install.
When you lease or rent property in Los Angeles, landlords collect a security deposit along with the first month of rent. The security deposit is like an insurance policy for landlords. If the tenant damages the property or breaks the lease- the landlord can retain some, or all, of the security deposit to cover their loses.
For tenants, you may not like having the additional upfront expense, especially when you are already paying for a move, and you may need to buy furniture for the new place, but you are just going to have to get use to it, because landlords need some of your hard-earned cash to hold onto to feel safe.
Everything in real estate is negotiable, and so is the security deposit. California State Law addresses the handling of Security Deposits in CA Civil Code 1950.5.
The Legal Maximum Security Deposit in California for an Unfurnished Lease is (2) Month’s Rent. For Furnished leases, the legal maximum is (3) Month’s Rent. However, there is no legal maximum on prepaid rent. Commercial Properties have no limit on security deposits.
For example, let’s suppose that you rent an unfurnished apartment for $2,000/mo. The legal maximum a landlord can collect as a security deposit is $4,000. The landlord will also want first month’s rent, so the total move-in cost would be $6,000.
There is no such thing as Non-Refundable Security Deposit in California. Some Landlords will try to charge a “reservation fee” or “holding fee” on a unit or say that a portion of the security deposit is non refundable, while they wait for the new tenant to move in. This is illegal. Unlike rent, which belongs to the landlord, security deposits belong to the tenants. Landlords “hold” the security deposit for the tenant and may only deduct from it for specific reasons, and non-refundable holding fee is not one of them.
It is incredibly easy nowadays to take pictures because everyone carries a cell phone, and all the new smart phones have cameras. I recommend that BOTH landlord and tenant take pictures of the condition of the property during move in. Keep the pictures somewhere you can find them later. You may need to refer to them when moving out. The condition of the property when you received it sets the precedent for how the property should be returned. In the event of a disagreement, pictures are worth 1,000 words.
Usually during move in, the tenant requests fixes or ask for permission to make changes. In my experience, I find that New tenants expect everything in their new place to be working and are pickier than long term tenants, especially if they are paying higher rents.
For Move in fixes, try to set a realistic time line for repairs with the tenant, and prioritize the most important things first. The little stuff sometimes just goes away. As a landlord, once a tenant has moved in and is settled, I do not replace consumables like light bulbs, smoke detector batteries, garage remote batteries, or HVAC vent screens but I will make sure the tenant has a fresh set when they move in.
Tenants will often ask for permission to paint the rental the color of their choosing. If you give the tenant permission to paint the unit a new color that is not a neutral such as off white- it may make the unit more difficult to re-rent when the tenant moves out. Be sure to clarify with the tenant, if you give them permission to paint the unit, who is responsible for painting the unit back to a neutral color at move out.
Another point with move in is changing the locks. Most landlords I know don’t change the locks between tenants. It is not required. I personally have no problem if the tenants want to change the locks- all that I ask is that they notify me and provide me with a copy of the new key.
The move out process begins with the appropriate notice. Some properties in Los Angeles have rent control. Rent control properties have their own move out rules. Evictions too.
For regular situations of serving notice to end a month to month tenancy, or moving out at the end of the lease- the landlord must give the tenant a 30 day notice if the tenant has lived in the property less than 1 year, or a 60 day notice if the tenant has been living in the property more than a year. Tenants on the other hand, are only required to give landlords a 30 day notice. Ca Civil Code 1946.1
I recommend for both Landlords and tenants to do a move out inspection 3-14 days prior to the move out date. The Landlord will be able to assess the condition of the unit, and if there are anything they plan to deduct- it gives the tenant the opportunity to remedy the situation themselves first. Once again, take pictures to document the condition of the way the property was left. If you leave the property in the same condition as you got it, you should expect your entire security deposit back. Lock the property up and return the keys and provide the landlord with your new mailing address, so they can mail you your security deposit check.
Tenant’s have been waiting a long time and been looking forward to get their security deposit back- in my experience they expect the entire security deposit returned, so if you know you will be deducting something be very clear. By law, landlords have 21 days to return the security deposit after move out. There is nothing that says the landlord can’t return it sooner. If the landlord deducts any expenses from the security deposit they must give an accounting of those expenses. A landlord may only deduct from a security deposit for the following reasons:
Legal Reasons For Security Deposit Deduction:
Repairs beyond normal wear and tear
Cleaning (includes disposal of trash)
What is Normal Wear and Tear?
There is no set definition for normal wear and tear since it can be interpreted so broadly. This can be frustrating. The main idea, is that- as things age and are used, they wear out. Even with the most careful use, wear is inevitable. Therefore, normal wear and tear is the reasonable amount of wear to be expected for the time of use. Keep in mind, that if something was already quite old before you moved in, that should be factored in. For understanding wear and tear- I like to think about tires on a car. If you obey all the rules of the road, new tires should last 50,000 miles or 3-4 years. However, if you are racing and squealing out your tires all the time, those tires may only last one year.
Let consider some real estate examples. First Paint: Let’s suppose you lived in an apartment for two years and at the end of the lease when you moved out, there were some scuffs and scratches on the walls from foot traffic and bumping furniture. If all that is required is a little touch up painting, this would be ordinary wear and tear. Let’s suppose instead, that this apartment was a no smoking rental, and you smoked inside your apartment anyways for two years straight. When you move out, that apartment has a strong cigarette odor, and the walls have yellowish smoke stains. This is beyond normal wear and tear. Or, lets suppose that you have kids, and the kids were allowed to draw all over the walls. Painting is going to be deducted from your security deposit.
Lets consider a different example: Carpet. Let’s suppose you moved into your apartment and the carpets were already five years old. They had a few discolored areas and had some excess wear in high traffic areas around the hallways and doors. Three years later you move out, but before you move you have the carpets professionally cleaned. The landlord may not charge you for brand new carpets. It may be true that the carpets do need to be replaced (carpet lasts 8-10 years on average) but that is because of their age, and not because of misuse. No matter how many times a carpet cleaner goes over a patch of old carpet, it is still going to be old carpet. Carpet cleaning isn’t magical and make carpet new again. When it is time to replace the carpet, it is time.
Let’s suppose instead that the carpet was 3 years old, and you stayed there for 2 years. When you moved in the carpet was in pretty good condition. While you were living in the apartment your children decided to rollerblade inside the house on the carpets when you were not home, and they torn and ripped the carpet in a several different areas. Then you spilled some wine on the carpet and never cleaned it up. Then you carelessly dropped a hot iron from the ironing board and it melted a portion of the carpet. Then a pet urinated on the carpet. That poor carpet. This has gone way beyond normal wear and tear. When you move out expect money from the security deposit to be deducted for replacing the carpet. However, you should not be responsible for replacing the entire carpet with new carpet, as it is 5 years old now. Let’s say that replacing the carpets costs $3,000 – well since it was 5 years old that should be prorated to half, and you should expect about $1,500 to be deducted from your security deposit.
You are going to have to use some common sense and judgement to figure out what is normal wear versus something extraordinary.
There are two disputes than can arise with security deposits: the landlord has suffered damage in excess of the security deposit from the tenant and seeks the difference (much more common with commercial leases), or the tenant feels that the landlord has made unlawful deductions to their security deposit and wants money returned (much more common with residential leases).
In most cases, for residential leases, the security deposit is less than $10,000. For civil disputes of $10,000 or less for an individual or $5,000 or less for an LLC, those cases go to small claims court. You may want to go to small claims court anyway even if the security deposit is larger than $10,000, because there are no lawyers in small claims court, which greatly reduces legal fees, and it’s a lot faster to get a trail date and the process is simpler.
Q: What happens to my security deposit once I give it to my landlord?
A: The answer is- you don’t want to know. Most mom and pop landlords spend it, lose track of it, and forget about it, until they get a 30-day notice from the tenant, and then they have to scramble to come up with it before the tenant moves out. If you have had a bad experience with a landlord unfairly withholding your security deposit in the past, I recommend asking the landlord before you rent, how often they keep security deposits from their tenants. Most professionally managed apartments handle security deposits very fairly.
Q: What happens if the property is sold?
A: What usually happens is the current owner transfers the security deposits to the new owner at time of sale. The new owner would then be responsible for returning the security deposit to the tenants when they move out. Sometimes when a new owner takes over, they ask for increased security deposits (and increased rents too!).
Q: I don’t know the new mailing address of my tenant who moved out- where do I send the security deposit accounting?
A: All you are required to do as a landlord is mail the accounting to the tenant’s last known address. If the tenant left and did not inform you of their new mailing address then you should mail the accounting to the leased property’s address. Most tenants have the post office forward mail to their new mailing address by filling out a change of address form after they move. If the accounting letter comes back to you marked “undeliverable”, keep it in your records as proof that you attempted to send an accounting. I would try contacting the tenant first by calling or emailing them (if you are on friendly terms) to find out their new mailing address before sending it to their old one.
Q: I have never done an accounting of the tenants security deposit before is there a special form or way to do it?
The burden of proof is on the landlord if there is ever a dispute. So you need to prove if you do deduct something from the security deposit that it was warranted. There are no special forms, I have seen landlords just type something up on a word document on their computer or write a letter by hand. There are some important information that should be on the accounting- 1) Date 2) Property Address 3) Tenant Name 4) the amount of the security deposit 5) any deductions. Deductions should have the amount and a description. 6) Balance of Security Deposit. If you have estimates or bids, for work done or to be done for the deductions those are good to include also.
Q: I just bought a building and the rental units have low/no security deposits- how do I collect more security deposits?
A: While tenants are on a lease you cannot collect an additional security deposit, however, after the lease term is over, or if the leases are month to month, then you can request an increased security deposit by having the tenant sign a new 1 year lease.
Q: I have two tenants who are roommates, and one of the tenants is moving out. Do I as landlord need to return half of the security deposit to tenant moving out?
A: No, in a roommate situation, both tenants are responsible jointly and severally- which basically means even though they are each 1/2 of the lease, they are both responsible for all of it. So when one roommate moves out, you should tell that roommate to settle any security deposit issues with their other roommate, because the lease is still continuing if either one of them stays.
Los Angeles has great weather, so having a garage here is not as important as other parts of the country. I grew up in Minnesota. Having a garage there was essential. I remember waking up on cold winter mornings, and freezing my A$%$ off scrapping the snow from my car windows. You really appreciate having a garage then!
Los Angeles culture is car obsessed- so even though we don’t need garages, many people want them. Fun Fact: There are more cars in Los Angeles then people! Over 6M cars where registered with the DMV in 2016 and the populations for greater Los Angeles area is 4M people. For my motor-head clients, the garage is always the first thing they look at.
The primary function of a garage is to store cars. By parking you car in a garage, it protects it from scratches, dents, and dings and paint fading. A garage provides security from theft. And certainly, getting your car off the street will save you money on parking tickets!
Since real estate has become so valuable in Los Angeles, many people are converting their garages to living spaces and parking their cars on the driveway. For $10,000 or less you can convert a garage into a 300 sqft to 400 sqft living space. I call these “stu-ages” because they are studios turned out of garages. Converting your garage is one of the most inexpensive way to add sqft to your house. If you convert your garage without permits, one piece of advice- leave the garage door intact, especially if it faces an alley or is visible from the street. That way it won’t arose undue suspicion.
Assuming you are still using your garage as a garage, it does other things too, like provide storage for tools and equipment, lawn care items, sporting goods, and bicycles. One way to free up space in your main house is to relocate the laundry into the garage.
Steve Jobs in front of his parents garage where he started Apple
Garages can wear many hats- they can be an incubator space for a startup company, or a rehearsal space for a band, a wood-shop, storage unit, or just about anything else you can think of.
From a construction standpoint, building a garage is pretty much the same as building the exterior shell of a house, except there are no finishes inside. Like with any new construction project, make sure you permit it with the building department.
After the kitchen, the garage is the second room in the house with the highest fire risk. Building codes have specific provisions for fire prevention in garage construction. Most garage fires can be avoided by using some common sense, like safety storing flammable liquids like gasoline away from flames, upgrading dangerous electric panels, and not overloading power outlets.
One Story/Two Story
One Story garages are the most common because they are significantly cheaper to build than two story garages. A standard one Story garage costs about $25,000 to build, whereas a two Story garage would cost more than double that, at about $75,000. The reason for the large jump up in cost is because the 2-story garage needs to have a stronger foundation. Many people would love to have a two story garage, but don’t have the budget for it.
If you have a single story house, that pretty much mandates a single story garage. Having a two story garage with a single story house looks strange. The mass of the larger garage would overwhelm the house and look bulky. Two Story garages blend better with two story houses. If the garage happens to be located in the rear yard of the property, instead of the front yard, the garage is not visible from the street, and has much less visual impact, so building a two story garage with a single story house in the backyard is not as jarring. The big advantage of a two story garage is you get double the space, and the extra space you get on the second story can be finished- for a rec room or guest house.
One Car/Two Car
As the city has grown more crowded, and public transportation worse, Los Angeles’ building code has become stricter with parking requirements for new construction. I see a lot of old properties around town that would never be allowed to be built by today’s code because they do not have enough parking. The most poignant example are Bungalow Court Apartments. There are anywhere from 6-10 on a lot with ZERO parking. By today’s code that property would at least need 9 spaces. Owners of properties with no off street parking just park on the street.
I joke around that LA had better public transportation in 1950 than it does today. It’s partially true, because the Pacific Electric railway system was quite amazing. The Metro Subway has been expanding in recent years but it will never offer as many routes as the old electric rails. The bus system in the city is great but underutilized.
Anyway, the year built of a property has a big influence on the garage. If the property was built between 1910 to 1930, it will have a tiny 1 car garage that I like to call a “Model T” garage. During this era, having a car was for the well-to-do, and having two cars was almost unimaginable.
Cars also have gotten larger over time. These small garages won’t fit a full size car. They can fit a medium size sedan tightly or a compact car comfortably. Most people with these garages use them for storage.
In the 1950’s car’s really took off. The ranch style homes built in suburban tract developments proudly featured two car attached garages. From this time on, the garage has become an essential part of the house.
One interesting thing to note, is that building a 1 car garage versus a 2 car garage is not a very large change in cost. A one car garage may cost $18,000 or $20,000 while a two car garage costs $25,000 to $30,000. Many people will just build two car garages. The only thing that limits them is having enough space, not the cost. Architects always start with parking- since of all the zoning provisions, it is the most prohibiting.
Houses built before 1930 almost never have attached garages. At some point, builder’s realized you don’t have to have the garage in a separate building away from the house and they started Attaching them. Attached garages became really popular in the 1950s onwards. On hillside lots, where there is very little room, attached garages are a necessity. Attached Garages are more convenient for bringing in groceries, but come at the cost of natural light in the house since the wall adjoining the house and garage cannot have any windows because of firecode.
Carports are basically garages with a few less walls. According to the IRC building code, to be a carport- they may only have two walls or less and no garage door. One advantage you have with carports over garages is the floor surface may be asphalt instead of concrete.
Carports are low cost – they are about $6,000 to $7,000 to build new. Carports are a very common design feature in mid-century houses. One disadvantage of carports is they offer no security. You wouldn’t want to use them to store expensive equipment and your car may not be as protected from break in- so don’t leave anything expensive in your car.
Note: the Building Code is the legal minimum requirement- sometimes it is a good idea not just to meet but exceed the code if it is appropriate for your specific circumstances.
I have seen small lot development buildings that their parking garages meets code, but it is just too small to fit a normal size car. I’d start by considering your car size and the clearances you need around the car and comparing them with the standard garage sizes to see if they meet your needs.
SIDES: On the sides you need more space for opening and closing car doors. 3 feet is plenty of space for the sides, in no circumstance would I go smaller than 2.5 ft. In a two car garage the space for opening car doors can overlap, because you don’t have to open both doors at the same time, so 3 feet is enough between each car. In a two car garage, if you are parking a larger car next to a smaller car, the larger car will have a larger door that requires more space, so keep that in mind.
FRONT: Unless you drive a sports car or an old VW Beattle with the trunk in the front, you don’t need much room in front of the car – I have seen as little as 1 ft clearance in front- with such a small space, you won’t be able to walk in front of the vehicle while it is parked. 2.5ft should be plenty of clearance for the front.
REAR: Since you use the trunk and most people park by pulling front in and backing out, the rear of the car will need extra space to clear the garage door and provide access to the trunk. 2.5ft is fine. I would never go smaller than 2 feet.
If you want garage storage cabinets on a wall, standard cabinet depth is 1.5ft to 2ft. Clearance should be 2.5ft-3ft, 2ft is going to be very tight when a cabinet door is open which means you probably can’t use them while a car is parked.
Dont count for building sqft…
garages most commonly in front yard where they are most commonly located,
Here is a table of Max Heights for Residential Zones:
If only it were this easy! Unfortunately the Los Angeles Zoning code is messy. There are a number of zoning provisions that can change the Maximum Building Height for a property, which makes things more complicated.
What is the heck is Zimas? Zimas is an acronym for “Zone Information and Map Access System”. Pretty boring full name if you ask me, but I like Zimas (reminds me of the clear vodka like drink from the nineties). You will hear a lot of planners at the zoning counter talking about Zimas- they spend most of the day on the website.
Zimas is the first place you want to check to determine the property’s Height Limits:
Type in your address and open up the “Planning and Zoning Tab”
The Zoning Tab contains all the properties zoning information. Don’t be intimidated by the huge drop down menu, most of the fields are blank for most parcels.
One feature I love about Zimas is that the Zoning Information is linked to the related zoning documents. Any field that is a “No” or “None” you don’t care about.
In the example above the Property :1720 Winmar- is an “RS” Zone, and it has modifications “ZI-2462”, and it is in an Enterprise zone ZI-2129. Since this is a residential property and enterprise zones deal with commercial properties this doesn’t have any affect. You can also see there is a General Plan Footnote, good to check that also. The big one here, is that it is in a hillside zone, which means it falls under the baseline hillside zoning ordnance. That is going to change the rules for max height dramatically.
-Special Height Districts (L, VL, XL, SS)
-Overlay Zones: HPOZ, Baseline Hillside Ordinance, Coastal Zone
-Community Specific Plans
-General Plan footnotes
SPECIAL HEIGHT DISTRICTS
If you see a dash and L, VL, XL, or SS after the zone this indicates a special height district. For R1, if you see R1-L, or R1-VL, or R1-XL this means that even though R1 Zone is
Lets take an example so you can see how this can change things.
Let’s suppose you have a R1-1XL Zone Lot. For the R1 Zone the Max Height is 33 feet. However for R1-1XL the max height is now reduced to 30 Feet.
128 N Swall is a newer construction 30 unit low rise condo development in Beverly Center. Built in 1991 by developers Goldrich & Kest, the complex has an Old World European styling with symmetrical columns, balustrade balconies, French doors, and hard-stone Marble & Granite.
Cedar Sinai Hospital is right around the corner. Many doctors and nurses from the hospital live in 128 N Swall, because they can walk to work. Beverly Hills condo buyers take an interest as well, since there are not many condos in Beverly Hills, and this nearby location, is a great alternative.
128 N Swall is located in prime Beverly Center, within a short walk to Cedars-Sinai Hospital, the mega shopping mall the Beverly Center, and the nearby cities of West Hollywood and Beverly Hills. There are so many dining options! Celebrity Hotspot the Ivy is a block away. Trendy Lemonade is on Beverly. Bristol Farms grocery is on the corner of Doheny and Beverly. Both 3rd St and Melrose have a number restaurants as well as the Beverly Center.
If you need to shop for furniture to decorate your condo the best of the best furniture retailers in Los Angeles are located in the area. The Pacific Design Center with the great blue whale is up Robertson. Restoration Hardware’s new “RH Modern” store is across the street from the Ivy. Italian Furniture maker Minotti has a store on Beverly. Basically every company you see in Architectural Digest has a show room in the area.
Robertson offers high end retail clothing stores such as Chanel, Michael Kors, The Kooples, Jovani’s, All Saints, and Greg Chapman’s.
Are you a Starbucks person or a Coffee Bean Person? Both coffee shops are across from each other at Beverly and Robertson.
128 N Swall is 4 stories, with the Condos on the 4th Floor being the Penthouses. There are 8 condos on each floor, except for the first floor which only has 6 condos to make room for the entry (‘02) and the gym and conference room (‘04).
All of the floor plans are single level and have 2 bedrooms + den and two and a half bathrooms.
Square footage ranges from 1,350 sqft to 1,762 sqft. Bedrooms are split layout. Condos have grand formal entries flanked by four vertical columns, marble floors and raised ceilings. This is a great opportunity to decorate with an intricate stone inlay. A circular patter would align with the cove ceiling above. If a new marble flow is out of the budget, a circular rug also does the trick, if you want to add some Oomph to the Entry.
Off the Entry is a Powder Room and Laundry Room. The Laundry room has space for side by side washer and dryer with some cabinets above.
The Main Room has three spaces the work with each other- the Living Room, Dining Room and Den. Den’s can work for a bedroom but they won’t be very private. The dens work great for libraries, offices, play areas, and hobby rooms. The formal dining Room comfortably seats 6. Living Rooms are about 250 sqft to 300 sqft and have a huge stone mantel fireplace as a focal point. The fireplace can be set up to burn wood or use gas.
Connected to the living room are french doors that lead out to a private Balcony. Condos in the ‘01, ‘02, and ‘03 stacks have street facing views of Swall. Stacks ’04 and ’05 face the interior courtyard with the pool and spa, and ’06, ’07 and ’08 are street facing to Clark.
Kitchens are galley style, and have granite countertops. There is a nice breakfast area room for a round table and two chairs that is a nice place to sit and have your morning coffee while reading the paper. The Stove is gas.
Bedrooms have a split layout. Each bedroom has a full en suite bathroom. The Master bedroom is larger in size then the other bedroom suite and has a walk-in closet and large master bathroom. The master bathroom has a separate tub shower and double vanity.
Penthouses have a large round skylight in their foyers.
For the time being the HOA does not allow wood flooring on the 2nd, 3rd and fourth floors, but they have been talking about revising the CCRs.
-Rec Room (has a kitchen)
-Gym (new equipment in last 5 years)
Parking and Laundry
Each condo has two deeded parking spaces in a subterranean garage that you enter from Swall. Parking spaces are mixed between side by side and tandem, but mostly side by side. There is plenty of guest parking. The building has 15 guest parking spaces.
Laundry is inside each condo in a Laundry Room located off the main entrance. Side by side washer and dryer with gas hook up and some cabinet space for linens and detergent and a door that closes to block sound when machines are running.
Home Owners Association
The homeowners association is very active- they meet once a month.
HOA dues Monthly Cost? $685/mo. per condo
HOA dues cover? Water & Trash, Common Area Maintenance, Building Insurance, EQ Insurance, Reserves
2220 & 2222 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles CA 90067
Century Towers is a 27-story luxury high rise in Century City. It has two towers: 2220 & 2222 that combine for a total of 320 condos. Built in 1964 by developer and Century City founding father William Zeckendorf at a cost of $13M- Century Towers was Century City’s first residential building.
The towers were designed by internationally renowned architect I.M. Pei, although Pei wasn’t famous yet at that time.
Century City Development meeting, L-R: I.M. Pei, Minoru Yamasaki, Pierto Belluschi, Frederick J, Welton Beckett
I.M. Zeckendorf and Pei went way back. Zeckendorf hired Pei fresh out of Harvard and gave him his first architect job. Pei and Zeckendorf then became friends and had a prosperous relationship for two decades building public housing projects all over the country. The two were quite the odd couple- Zeckendorf was a larger than life character, loud and gruff, while Pei was short, soft-spoken, and an architect who could have just as easily been artist instead. Pei was the perfect ying to Zeckdorf’s yang.
I.M. Pei is a modern architect and was profoundly influenced by Le Corbusier in his youth (who he met briefly during college), Bauhaus, as well as free thinker Frank Lloyd Wright. I.M. Pei designed Century Towers in the midcentury modern style. Pei is most well-known for his glass pyramid addition to the Louvre. You can see some of Pei’s other works right here in Los Angeles with the US Bank Tower Downtown, and the Former CAA Headquarters in Beverly Hills, now occupied by Sony.
1966 Advertisement for Century Towers Apartments.
Century Towers were originally built as apartments. Advertisements at the time said that the towers offered the “utmost in Luxury”, and were “Beautiful to look at, beautiful to live in!”.
Welton Beckett showing his Masterplan to Fox Studio Execs Edmond Herrscher and Lew Schrieber (1958)
Welton Beckett’s masterplan for Century City envisioned a space-age metropolis with a full time population of 12,000 residents. The ambitious plan called for a 18 modern high-rise towers to be spread out on the southern residential portion of the site. Becket is pointing to one of those planned residential towers above. Century Towers was suppose to be the first of many residential highrise towers in Century City. The next Highrise that was built was Century Park East (CPE) which was finished two years later in 1966. Condos in Century Park East are smaller in size than Century Towers, have no in unit laundry, but are more affordable. Beckett passed away in 1967, before he could see the final build out of Century City. After Beckett’s passing, the path of development for Century City changed directions and no more of the residential towers were ever built.
In 1972, Century Towers was converted into condominiums by S Jon Kreedman & Company, a prolific real estate syndicator and financier, who would later go on to develop Le Parc. At about the same time, Century Park East was undergoing a condo conversion by Urbanetics Financial Corp. There was a condo conversion craze in the 70’s. It wouldn’t be until 2009 that another highrise condo was built in Century City, the newest addition to the residential skyline- The Century.
Century Towers is located at the intersection of Avenue of the Stars and Pico Blvd. Le Parc condominiums were built around it. To the south is the great public park the Cheviot Hills Recreation Center and Rancho Park Golf Course. 20th Century Fox still occupies lot across the street. Walkability is low, so most of errands will need to be delivered or driven. There is a Ralphs and CVS at the corner of Pico and Beverwil for everyday needs as well as the Gelson’s in century city mall. Westfield Century City has a great AMC movie theater as well as shopping galore. Century City is squeezed inbetween Beverly Hills and Westwood, so residents of Century Towers have all the amenities that these cities have to offer close at hand.
Century Tower’s floorplans are all single story. There are 27 floors, prices rise on higher floors as views improve. Floorplans range in bedroom count from 1 Bedrooms to 3 Bedrooms and vary in size from 850 sqft to 2,200 sqft. The larger condos are about 300-500 sqft larger than nearby Century Park East.
Every condo has at least one balcony, some condos on the corners have two balconies. Many owners over time have enclosed their balconies to add additional interior space. Century Tower floorplans have an open concept with combined living room (~400 sqft) and dining room (~150 sqft) areas so you get a big open room effect. This effect is really awesome in conjunction with City and Ocean views that condos on the higher levels possesses. On clear days you can see Catalina or Mount Baldy. You can see everything from floor to ceiling glass windows. Dining rooms comfortably seat six dinners. Bedrooms in the two and three bedroom floorplans are side by side. There is a master suite that has its own private master bathroom and closet. The original floorplans have small master closets. Many owners have modified their condos layout to create a larger 8×6 master walkin in closet. They do this by taking space from the 2nd bedroom nextstore.
Original Kitchens in Century Tower where galley style, which some owners have kept. The advantage of the wall between the kitchen and the living room is that you don’t see cluttered counters or the dirty dishes. A lot of owners who have modern tastes just do away with the wall between the kitchen and living room and add a big island. The wall is not structural so it can easily be removed. This makes the living room area feel even bigger, and add an informal eating area with some bar stools around the island counter. Kitchen appliances are all electric- electric stoves and ovens. Laundry is in unit. Central Heat and air.
Turnover: 4% or about one a month
Record Sale: $4,000,000 2/4/2016 (Penthouse)
Olympic Size Heated Swimming Pool (Pool hours 7am to 10 pm)
(2) Elevated and Lighted Tennis Courts
Guard House & 24 hour Valet Parking
Parking & Laundry
Each condo gets 2 parking spaces in an underground parking garage. Parking is Assigned by management and not deeded. Valet is available. Guest Parking?
In Unit Laundry. Space for a stackable machine in the kitchen or in a hallways closet by entry door.
Finding a “Good” High school for your teenager in Los Angeles is a challenge. The challenge is that there are very few good public high schools and private schools are expensive. If money is not an issue, then there are plenty of great private & religious high schools in Los Angeles to choose from. The average tuition cost for a private school is $40,000 a year. Religious Schools are more reasonably priced at $20,000 a year, and provide valuable extra choices for parents that have multiple children, or who also have college tuition to consider.
Public schools are Free. Locating your family in a neighborhood with a great public school district can mean significant savings.
If you viewed the list you will notice, most of the top Public High Schools are located in multi-million-dollar neighborhoods: Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Pacific Palisades, Palos Verdes, La Canada, and Pasadena. Keep in mind that if you cannot afford to buy in these neighborhoods, you may also rent.
There is a common story. Many of the neighborhood highschools in great LA neighborhoods, that you would expect to be great also, are not. A few examples that come to mind are: Hamilton High School (Beverlywood), Hollywood High (Hollywood), Fairfax High(West Hollywood), Los Angeles High School (Miracle Mile), Venice High School (Venice), University High (West LA), and John Marshall High School (Silverlake). None made my top 20 public school rankings. I am not saying all public high schools in Los Angeles are bad. Or that these high schools are bad. Los Angeles has some of the Top 100 high schools in the country. Every school will have great students, great teachers, great parents. When a school has large numbers of students not graduating (I consider anything below 90% drop out rate bad), or large numbers of students not meeting state standards (only about 30% of California students meet state standards in math, 50% in English and science), and the socioeconomic disadvantage level is more than 25%- these schools need to improve if it is possible.
Tanya Anton of the gomamaguide.com recommends that you always visit your local school in your neighborhood first and judge for yourself. Don’t listen to what other people say, go and see for yourself. See if you feel comfortable.
Here are some resources to do some research online
-California Dept of Education: School Accountability Report Card (SARC)
Factors that contribute to Great High School education:
Teachers: Teachers are the front line. They interact directly with students. Inspire, educate, inquire. Schools are made up of teachers. Good teachers bring out the students true potential. If I were evaluating any school, I would pay the most attention to its teachers.
High Expectations: A school that challenges its students creates it’s own recipe for success. I like to see at least 20 Applied Placement (AP) classes. AP classes are nice because you can earn college credits while in highschool! Homework expectations of students- 1 hour/ night minimum for the average school, and an average 2-3 hours each night from the best schools.
Parents: Parent involvement is closely linked to students success in school. Parents set the stage by providing a stable home environment, where the student gets regular sleep, good nutrition, and is reasonable free from stress. It’s corney but bears mentioning. Hunger is a barrier to education. You can’t focus or listen when you are hungry and you put your head down.
Diversity: I feel like the world we live in is becoming ever more adaptable, and more global. Change is happening faster, and the walls are coming down. Exposing children to diversity allows them to socialize. Private schools sometimes struggle to have diversity. Public schools are typically more diverse.
Discipline: Technology has brought the most distracting thing into the classroom- The cell phone. Schools need to keep student behavior in line as more and more things compete for our attention.
Extra curricular activities- I believe that extracurricular activities are a key component of a well balanced education. For physical sports, they encourage life long fitness and the enjoyment of exercise, and for team sports (also academic), working well in groups. Students should have reasons to enjoy school. Just one afterschool activity can be the difference. High schoolers get into the most trouble in the time between when they get out of school (3pm) and when their parents get home (5 or 6pm). After school Activities give children something constructive to do during this time. Unfortunately, when the legislature is cutting budgets, these are the first programs to go.
Public Schools Vs Private Schools
Some parents wonder which kind of high school is right for their young adults: public high school or private high school?
There are some key difference between private High schools and public high schools. Public High Schools are usually much larger than private schools. Big LA Public High schools have 2,000 – 3,000 students. Private School enrollment is usually between 500 – 1,000. That means graduating class size on a private school is about 100-200. For public schools its 400-500. The student teacher ratio is 30 to 1 in public schools and 20 to 1 in private schools. Some private schools are co-ed and others are Boys or Girls only. Some private schools have a traditional education approach while others are progressive. In a private school, you might see a celebrity dropping off their kid in the school’s parking lot- won’t ever seen that in a public school- except maybe Malibu High. Private schools can be a lot more “cliché” because they have smaller class sizes and student bodies. If you are an outsider coming from a public school into the private school system, it might take a year or so to adjust. People who haven’t been in the private school system since kindergarten, will not have any longterm relationships with other students in the class. After one year, the student will have made their group of friends and fit in. Private schools have less diversity than public schools because they cater to upper class and upper middle class, whereas public schools must educate students of all means- including students that are handicap or disabled. Some private schools offer scholarships to help diversify their school. Private school teachers usually have high degrees of education- masters and phd’s.
My personal experience was that I have been to both public and private schools. I have a learning disability called dyslexia and I went to
Located in one of the most expensive residential estate districts in Los Angeles, Palisades Charter Highschool has a very active parent community. Per pupil spending is one of the highest in the city. Has active extra curricular and AP classes. 95% Graduation rate with a very diverse student body. A large school with enrollment at 2,970.
99% graduation rate, only 2% of students socioeconomically disadvantage, very diverse student body, scores the highest on standard tests. Per Pupil spending is $10,179. 16 AP classes offered. Total enrolment is 2,075
Beverly Hills Highschool, might as well be a private school for the ambiance. 97% graduation rate, very affluent student body and parents are very generous in giving to the school. I feel like for the resources this school has it is surprising the test scores are not higher- I would think this has something to do with indifference.
Santa Monica Highschool is greatly improved lately. I expect this school to start climbing higher in the ranks in coming years. 95% graduation rate, socially disadvantaged 30%. Total enrollment 2,950. Expenditure $5,764 per pupil.
10100-10128 Empyrean Way
Los Angeles CA 90067
Le Parc is a walled and guard gated luxury condo community in Century City. It’s the most prized low-rise development in Century City.
The architecture of Le Parc is French Regency style inspired by the rolling fields and farms of the French countryside. Steeply pitched mansard roofs, quoins, and balustrades lend Le Parc that European ‘je ne sais quoi’.
The name “Le Parc” is French and translates in English to “the Park” which is very fitting because Le Parc has the best grounds in all of Century City (sorry the Century!). The 10 acre grounds are absolutely beautiful! There are waterfalls, fountains, streams and ponds, that intertwine and wind with walkways and meander through gardens of vibrant blooming flowers. Full time maintenance crew keep Le Parc looking resplendent. It is one of the best run buildings on the Westside.
Built in 1979, by developer S Jon Kreedman, who converted Century Towers to condos earlier in 1973, the original development cost was $50M. There are 176 condos in Le Parc that are grouped in 15 different Chateaux buildings.
Century Hill, next store, was developed at the same time. These two complexes share some similarities. Both are Low Rise developments in Century City with similar size condos. Century Hill is a larger complex with 100 more condos than Le Parc. Century Hill has a mix of Floorplans both Single Story and Townhouse, whereas Le Parc’s floorplans are all single story. Le Parc condos are priced at a 20%-30% premium over Century Hill condos. Nearby Park Place offers the lowest entry level prices.
Fun fact: Le Parc is located on Empyrean Way. Empyrean means “highest heaven”, but before you go thinking Le Parc is getting big headed, remember that Century City street names (Galaxy, Ave of Stars, Constellation, and Empyrean) refer to stars in the sky; not stars on the ground.
Le Parc is close to the Bel Air Hotel (love their bar and lounge), UCLA’s Royce Hall, the Wilshire Corridor- including places of worship, and the bon vivant’s dream shopping and dining destination Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Le Parc is close to all the best the Westside has to offer, but far enough away that you don’t feel like you are living in the middle of it. Safety in Century City is a 10 out of 10. These condos make a great second home for owners who are bi-coastal or travel a lot.
Le Parc has 15 separate buildings numbered from 1-15. Each building is 3 stories with the penthouse level on the 3rd floor. There are 12 condos in each building and 4 on each floor. The penthouses have the highest ceilings available at 14 feet.
10100 Empyrean Way
10102 empyrean way
10104 Empyrean Way
10106 Empyrean Way
10108 Empyrean Way
10110 Empyrean Way
Chateau Rive Gauche
10112 empyrean way
Chateau St. Laurent
10114 empyrean way
10116 Empyrean Way
10118 Empyrean Way
10120 empyrean way
10122 empyrean way
Chateau St Tropez
10124 Empyrean Way
10126 Empyrean Way
10128 Empyrean Way
Chateau St. Raphael
Turnover Ratio? 4.5% or about 8 condos a year
Record Sale: $3,500,000 7/22/2016
Floorplans in Le Parc are all single story and range in size from 2 bedrooms to 3 bedrooms. The condos are quite spacious starting at 1,750 sqft and going all the up to 3,300 sqft.
All floorplans have a formal entry through a paneled front door and an adjacent powder room. You can have a lot of fun decorating the powderoom- I personally like moire silk wallpaper, and chinoise or kohler artist edition sinks but possibilities are endless! The foyer opens up to an oversized Living Rooms with a regency marble fireplace and airy 10’ ceilings. There are plenty of wall space for displaying art. Every condo has two balconies, with one leading out from the living room- some owners install French windows which look great. Owners who are decorating that stick with the period theme put in ornate crown moldings and hang chandeliers and drapes. Owners with more contemporary tastes, install recessed lighting in the ceilings, do away with any crown moldings, and add plantation shutter window coverings.
The Original kitchens in Le Parc had a French country style with drop ceiling and boxy raised panel wood cabinets of medium stain. The countertops and floor were square handmade ceramic tile. Some owners when remodeling their kitchens recreate the Oven hood feature that gives these kitchens a country look. I have seen other owners do them modern with quartz counters and contemporary cabinets/pulls. The cooktops were originally electric, but you can change them to gas if that is your preference. I really love the breakfast nook that all kitchens have- it’s a great informal space to read the newspaper and enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning. The formal dining room area comfortable seats 8.
Special attention was given to the bedroom placement in the layout. The bedrooms have a good amount of separating so they are private from one another. The master suites do no disappoint, with his and her bathrooms and massive walk in closets.
Bedroom suites work great for an in-home office, many owners who use them as an office build out panels and shelving.
2 Swimming Pools & Spas
2 Lighted championship Tennis courts
Meeting Room/Party Room
Parking & Laundry
Laundry is inside, in a laundry room just off the kitchen, There are cabinets above the laundry machines which provide additional storage for detergent, fabric softeners, linens and things. Laundry is side by side.
2 deeded spaces for 2brs, 3 deeded parking spaces for 3brs. There is plenty of guest parking with 6 guest parking spaces per building. Parking is underground in a subterranean garage. The developers designed for the autos to be parked underground to preserve the pedestrian nature of the development
Home Owners Association
Le Parc’s Home owner’s association likes to keep a low profile. They do not have a website.