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1930's Valley Village Homes Next to Bulldozed Marilyn Monroe Home Also Threatened with Demolition

Friday, August 28, 2015 / 5 Comments
Image courtesy Bing Maps
On the same street where the Marilyn Monroe home was demolished back in June comes news of nearby historical homes also threatened with demolition potentially erasing all history of Valley Village's Hermitage Street south of Chandler Blvd dating back to the 1930's.

Top image courtesy Jennifer Getz. Bottom image courtesy LA Daily News.
Image courtesy Google Maps
First it was Marilyn Monroe's home. She moved to 5258 Hermitage Ave with her in-laws in April 1944 while her sailor husband James Dougherty was far away at sea. It was during this time that Monroe was working at the local factory inspecting parachutes when Monroe was picked to model for morale-boosting military magazines. She left the home in the summer of 1945 and divorced Dougherty and became the great iconic figure still known and admired till this day. Unfortunately that home no longer exists as developer Joe Salem of Hermitage Enterprises LLC demolished without a thorough review despite an attempt by local activist, Jennifer Getz, who filed an HCM application and was three days away from a hearing. Sounds suspicious doesnt it?

Jean Lathrop's child in front of her property at 5303 Hermitage ca. 1950s. Image courtesy HCM Application
Now the same is about to happen with the construction of a 28 unit apartment with a total of 63 parking spaces at what was originally 5303 Hermitage St built by Jean Lathrop. Jennifer Getz is currently trying to save this property and prevent another Marilyn Monroe event from happening again. Recognized preservationist, Charles Fisher has a compiled a thorough and educational  HCM application with contributions from Getz (financially and otherwise) below complete with many historical pictures and details. also wrote an excellent article describing the Lathrop property, latest development, and destruction of the Marilyn Monroe home. There is also a CityWatch LA article questioning Mayor Garcetti's motives for demolition. You can also read more at the activist site, The location details are below:
  1. 12302 Weddington St. Built in 1931 on 10,540 sqft lot with 4 beds/2 baths on 2,182 sqft (2 units). Last sold by Christopher Barrett to UB Valley Village LLC on May 15, 2015 for $1,125,000.
  2. 12301 Weddington St. (also known as 5303 Hermitage & 5305 Hermitage). Built in 1934 on 15,930 sqft lot with 2 Beds/1 Bath on 1,738 sqft. Currently owned by the Edwards Living Trust. 
  3. 5261 Hermitage Ave (also known as 5263 Hermitage Ave). Built in 1935 on 7,804 sqft lot with 5 Beds/5 Baths on 5,103 sqft (3 units). Last sold by Barry and Dinah Gres to UB Valley Village LLC on May 15, 2015. 

Additionally, another apartment project two houses north totaling 56 units is in the works at the following location:
  1. 5323 Hermitage St. Built in 1957 on a 8,012 sqft lot with 10 Beds/7 Baths on 4,905 sqft (6 units). Last sold by The Thomas A Dicandia and Ann R Dicandia Revocable Living Trust to Fourth Street Venture LP on January 6, 2015 for $1,450,000. 
  2. 5333 Hermitage St. Built in 1954 on a 0.37 acre lot with 13 Beds/11 Baths on 6,705 sqft (9 units). Last sold by Parnes Family Trust to Fourth Street Venture LP for $1.5 million on June 29, 2012. 
This project is being shopped around by a broker that can be viewed on with the following listing description and a brochure at the bottom:
**Can be bought with 5323 Hermitage, adjacent property for development of up to 56 Units.
Marcus & Millichap, as the exclusive listing agent, is pleased to present a rare development opportunity to purchase 3 contiguous parcels totaling 24,036 square feet of land with alley in the back in the Valley Village submarket of the San Fernando Valley area. The subject property is zoned LAR3 which allows the construction of up to 43 apartment units on the site (this amount includes a 35% density bonus).* Existing improvements on the site consist of 18 apartment units with current income during the planning and entitlement phase of development.
Valley Village is one of the most desirable neighborhoods within the Los Angeles metropolitan area nestled among the desirable neighborhoods of Studio City, Sherman Oaks, and North Hollywood markets. The property is situated on a tree-lined, multi-family residential neighborhood within walking distance to the Laurel Canyon MTA Orange Line Station. Commuter access to this site is offered through the 101, 134 and 170 Freeways. The subject location is highlighted by a multitude of dining, shopping, and entertainment facilities while offering easy access to employment centers in Hollywood, Downtown, and West Los Angeles. 
The subject development will be among the more unique developments of the area due to the impressive size and location of the project offering competitive advantage in occupancy rates.

You can read more SFV Architecture and R.E. here.

1908 Studio City Home Threatened with Demolition

Tuesday, August 25, 2015 / No Comments
Image courtesy LA Conservancy
I was alerted by the fine folks at the LA Conservancy that a 1908 Studio City home measuring 3 Beds/1 Bath on 1,274 sqft on a total lot size of 10,592 sqft is threatened with demolition. The home located at 11015 Aqua Vista Street was previously identified by the smart folks at Survey LA as possibly being the "oldest extant residence in Studio City" which is located across the street from the Beverly Garland Hotel. If you are interested in the oldest residential home in the SFV, read here

The property last changed hands on September 14, 2010 for $725K to the Aqua Residential LLC which has an address linking back to the Hamideh Firm in Los Angeles. 

Image courtesy Bing Maps
Currently no demo permit has been issued as it need to go through an environmental review and at the same time, a local Studio City resident is filing an HCM application to save it so keep your fingers crossed. 

Lastly, lets take a look at historical aerial pics from fave site

1980 showing that most of Aqua Vista was still single family homes compared to today where almost every home is multi-family or on the verge of becoming one. 

1952 image showing a growing Studio City with still pockets of land.

You can read more SFV Architecture and R.E. here

Celeb R.E.: Rapper/Pimp My Ride Host, Xzibit's Porter Ranch Home Hits the Market

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Joiners' image courtesy Instagram. R.E. images courtesy Broker in Trust
On August 19, 2015, the Porter Ranch home of Alvin Joiner aka Xzibit hit the market for $1.1 million. Xzibit is best known for his rapping game going all the way back to 1994 where he worked under fellow SFV resident, Dr. Dre. He later hit mainstream success with the launch of MTV's Pimp My Ride that was eventually cancelled in 2007 which led to a significant financial downfall that I will talk about later. 

Technically, the home is not owned by Xzibit but rather his wife, Krista Davis, who appears to have acquired the home from possibly her husband as a divorce settlement on August 30, 2011. Krista and her previous husband acquired the property back on September 30, 2005 for $1,030,000 near the height of the last housing market bubble. Coincidentally, this home is priced just at 6.7% above the purchase price probably to cover commissions. So anything less than that might trigger a loss. Krista and Alvin married in 2014 after several years together. Oh, and Alvin got arrested for a DUI on the day of the wedding. 

The home measures 4 Beds/3 Baths on 3,195 sqft on a total lot size of 5,527 sqft built in 2005. The listing description states (you can view more pics below which includes some of Xzibit's personal items):
Model Perfect home in Guard Gated Meadows/ Sorrento Community, custom 4 bedroom with formal dining, family room, office, media room, salt water pebble tech pool, spa, 3.5 baths with a view. Entry has custom stamped concrete driveway which leads to entry with Travertine floors and a marble pattern. Custom wood shutters throughout home, office has walnut floors and custom cabinets. Totally remodeled kitchen with Caesar Stone counter tops, Viking appliances, Italian back splash, Island with wine bar and walk in pantry. Custom cabinets with granite counter tops in garage. Downstairs bedroom has custom wood floors and shutters. Downstairs bath remodeled with custom sink, Porcelain tile floor and wall, Italian glass shower and closure with Rain shower head. Master bedroom upstairs has custom cabinets, surround sound, wood floors, shutters, view, Marble and Travertine floors in master bath with Jacuzzi tub and view. His and her closets with custom cabinets. Media room has surround sound, custom cabinets and black walnut floors. Intercom and security system with built in cameras through out. Approx $300,000.00 in upgrades. Home shows better then a model.
Images courtesy Breamarc Realty
Prior to the Porter Ranch home, Xzibit was living in a hillside Woodland Hills home (shown above) that he sold short in 2010 that was discussed at LA Curbed and The LA Times. The home measures 5 Beds/4 Baths on 3,160 sqft on a total lot size of 7,650 sqft built in 1976. The home was purchased on September 25, 2003 for $670K and sold on December 20, 2010 for $610K representing a loss of $60K but there was more. A default notice was filed on June 12, 2009 in the amount of $710,768.84 that the rapper owed. Additionally, the rapper owned back federal taxes for $22,196.28 in 2010, $205,485.49 in 2009, $435,487.34 in 2009, and $296,355.57 in 2008 totaling $959,524.68. He tried to file for bankruptcy twice in 2009 and 2010 but both were dismissed. Wikipedia states that the rapper's income in 2008 was $67,510 as as result of the cancellation of Pimp My Ride. Xzibit tried on numerous occasions to sell this home with the last known reported price at $1.2 million in September 2009. 
Image courtesy Bing Maps
Prior to the Woodland Hills home, Xzibit was renting another Porter Ranch home located across the street from his current home. The home (shown above) measures 4 Beds/4 Baths on 4,018 sqft that was last purchased on July 17, 2002 for $702,500. This home was also featured in an episode of MTV Cribs that I believe was aired in February 2001. Ironically, in the video, Xzibit states he owns the home but that is incorrect based on property records. Also, its possible that Xzibit was renting a West Hills home but cannot confirm.

You can view more SFV Celeb R.E. here.

Celeb R.E.: Marc Anthony Changes Mind on Tarzana Home After 7 Months

Monday, August 24, 2015 / No Comments
Anthony/de Lima image courtesy Instagram. Images courtesy RE/MAX Estates.
After just purchasing a newly built 2014 New England style home in Tarzana for his hot model wife, Shannon de Lima, Marc Anthony has had a change of heart in Tarzana listing it for $4,350,000 on August 20, 2015. This asking price is $225K above the purchase price paid back on January 6, 2015 equating to a 5.4% appreciation. Anthony will surely take a loss in some manner considering commissions are typically 6% unless he sells above asking. 

So why would someone sell after such a short period? Typically, its because of either of the "3D's", divorce, death, or debt. Or possibly for safety considering the home is somewhat accessible. Who knows but when you have Anthony's bankroll, it doesnt matter. 

Since we are talkiing about Anthony, he has a known history of real estate in the SFV starting with a Hidden Hills mansion that his previous wife, Jennifer Lopez, owns and is currently trying to offload. And prior to the Tarzana home, he owned a newly renovated Encino home that was just recently sold to NBA star, JaVale McGee, which Anthony barely owned for 18 months. Below are listing details and pics for the 5 Bed/6.5 Bath on 6,500 sqft home on a total lot size of 0.53 acres. 
You?ll fall in love with the exquisite craftsmanship in the 6,500 sq ft New England traditional style home with a California twist-- featuring 5 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms and an over sized 4-car garage. The finest materials and finishes are used in the detailed wainscoting and coffered ceilings accented by wide panel mahogany wood floors throughout. The gourmet kitchen includes double Wolf ranges, Subzero fridge/freezer, two center islands, Calacatta marble, honed granite counters and an exquisite herringbone design stone back splash. The upstairs has four bedroom suites including a magnificent master bedroom with a private terrace and an expansive closet featuring delicate glass vitrines. The master bathroom showcases a romantic claw foot tub with a delicate crystal chandelier, separate glass-enclosed shower, vanity and herringbone stone in cool gray tones. A sun-drenched back yard provides a great environment for relaxing and entertaining with a swimmers pool, spa, fire pit and bar with a built-in grill and outdoor fridge. Don't miss this gorgeous south of the boulevard property ? where traditional meets modernity-- that sits on top of its own knoll with privacy and breathtaking views.
You can view more SFV Celeb R.E. here.

BTTF# 22a: Was Chatsworth's Desilu Ranch Designed by Noted Architect, Paul Williams?

Saturday, August 22, 2015 / No Comments
Image courtesy
Christmas came early for me this year as a loyal reader by the name of Dayna, discovered and generously shared building and demolition permits for the former Desilu Ranch in Chatsworth. The huge significance of this finding is that the permits were the missing piece of evidence to confirm the true location of the Desilu Ranch in Chatsworth which I discussed in a lengthy and detailed post on on June 24, 2014, Although I provided convincing evidence while refuting the other locations, in particular, the Oso location that became the "known" location because of popular folk tale and also since it is still standing today, there were still some doubters that wanted definitive evidence. So view the permits for the build and demo below: 

If you quickly skimmed through the permits, you might have missed one piece of interesting information. I will highlight it below to give you a clue.

It appears that the Desilu Ranch was possibly designed by noted African-American architect, Paul R. Williams, who is best known for designing the LAX Theme building in addition to numerous buildings in SoCal with a handful in the SFV. 

Image courtesy
The SFV properties include Craig/Harris in West Hills, Dr.A.E. Abdun-Nur in Tarzana, the former Livingston Motor Car Dealership in Woodland Hills, Stanwyck/Oakridge (supposedly, need more research) in Northridge, and possibly some others in the Toluca Lake area. 

If the signature on the permit is truly "Paul R Williams," then some serious historical information has just been unearthed. The other interesting connection is that Ball/Arnaz also had a Palm Springs home built by Paul Williams in 1954 so is that a coincidence or not? But I am not a history expert, just a weekend blogger, so hopefully others or the Paul Revere Williams project site can confirm. 

As I mentioned in my first post about the Desilu Ranch, it was demolished in 1976 but I believe the house next door located at 19730 Tuba St was a replica as it was built roughly at the same time. I dont have building permits of that home so cannot confirm if it was built by Paul Williams. That home was originally owned by LA Times columnist, Bill Henry, and is still standing today, although altered from original design. That home might be the closest thing we have to the Desilu Ranch especially if it was also designed by Paul Williams. 

You can view more SFV History and Back to the Future series here

Van Nuys Chevrolet Assembly Plant Postcard

Thursday, August 20, 2015 / No Comments

You can view more Van Nuys Postcards here.

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Safari Motor Hotel in Burbank Postcard

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