Urban L.A.: home sweet second home

Locals head downtown for secondary crash pads

Even Cher is tired of fighting traffic.

Or maybe she just wants to skip the drive home altogether. Regardless, she’s in the crop of second-home buyers taking root in Los Angeles’ urban core.

Kor Development is converting the landmark 1927 Broadway Hollywood at Hollywood and Vine into 96 luxury loft condominiums with interior finishes by Kelly Wearstler.

“The majority of our buyers are local to L.A.,” says Kimberly Lucero, Kor’s VP of sales and marketing. “While some buyers will use their unit as their primary residence, we’ve also seen young entertainment-industry buyers who work or play in Hollywood and plan to use their unit as a second home. They’re looking to save the hour or hour and a half it takes to commute to Malibu.”

“At $2,000 per square foot, West Hollywood’s Sierra Towers is one of the most expensive buildings in Los Angeles,” says broker Russ Filice of Sotheby’s International Realty, who lives (and sells) in the building.

Then again, price is hardly the point. Filice reports that many of the building’s residents are even third- and fourth-home owners from, among other places, Malibu, Santa Barbara and New York City. Cher is among those who purchased one of the building’s upscale crash pads.

Other part-time residents of the building need to be in Los Angeles regularly for business or social engagements and don’t want to fight traffic each time, says Filice.

Tom Cody, principal of the South Group, is courting pied-a-terre buyers as well as primary homebuyers at Luma, Elleven and Evo, his new trio of condominium properties in Downtown Los Angeles.

“Historically, there haven’t been many pied-a-terre options in downtown Los Angeles because of the physical environment,” Cody says.

Developers believe the area’s growing list of cultural attractions – from Staples Center to Disney Hall to the Broadway Bar – will spur buyer interest in weekend turnkey homes.

However, not everyone is sold on the pied-a-terre concept.

“I would discourage it in part to prevent speculators from buying in, as we’ve seen in Las Vegas,” says Mel Kimman of Metro Modern, developers of The Hollywood, a 54-unit condominium project on Yucca Street.

Besides, he points out, the point of a pied-a-terre is it’s not your real home. “We want to create a community of people who live, work and play in the area.”

Pied-a-Terre Possibilities

Broadway Hollywood Evo Downtown
Sierra Towers
Broadway Hollywood
Hollywood/Hollywood and Vine
Evo Downtown/11th and Grand Sierra Towers
9255 Doheny Road/West Hollywood
Adaptive reuse of a 1927 Classical Revival building with interior finishes by Kelly Wearstler Interior Design, designer of the Viceroy Hotels.
Distance to LAX (the club): .6 miles
Distance to LAX (the airport): 17.4 miles
New construction project will have 311 luxury condos plus five two-story, ground level townhomes of 730 to 3,500 square feet in a 23-story building offering panoramic views of Los Angeles.
Distance to LAX (the club): 8.1 miles
Distance to LAX (the airport): 16.8 miles
One-bedroom, 1.5 bathroom condominium in a mid-century, 32-story high-rise. Sophisticated, modern unit has floor-to-ceiling windows and is fully furnished (with four plasma-screen TVs). Building amenities include gym, pool, spa, ballroom and caterer’s kitchen and 24-hour security and valet parking.
Distance to LAX (the club): 3.7 miles
Distance to LAX (the airport): 13.4 miles
Listing Price: From $1.5 to $1.7 million
Contact: Kor Atlas
(213) 488-0600
Listing Price: From the $400,000s to over $3 million
Contact: The South Group
(213) 622-5400
Listing Price: $2.6 million
Contact: Russell Filice
Sothebys International Realty
(310) 888-3787