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Universal Inn on Ventura Blvd in Studio City to Become 46 Room Hotel

Friday, May 22, 2015 / No Comments
Image courtesy Google Maps
Image courtesy Bing Maps
Back on March 27, 2015, a hearing was held to demolish a 17 room motel known as Universal Inn (formerly known as Studio Place Inn) located at 10740 Ventura Blvd (also 10744) and 10812 Fruitland Drive in Studio City to build a 46 room, approximately 26,383 sqft hotel which is located next to the The Blvd Hotel and Spa. 

The latest agenda (at the bottom of the post) from the Planning Commission looks like the project will be approved with some additional requirements. The project consists of 4 stories with a basement parking garage that will provide 74 parking spaces and 16 bicycle parking stalls. The project also includes an 1,840 sqft ground floor restaurant and 895 sqft rooftop bar with an adjacent patio area of 2,600 sqft. There is a separate request to vacate the alley bisecting the site which might seem irrelevant but was the source of major drama back in 2002 that I will explain later. 

The property measures 11,899 sqft with 4,781 sqft of total building spaces for 17 rooms originally built in 1939. Its hard to believe that this site has lasted so long! The property is currently owned by Hema and Sagar Kumar who also operate a Comfort Inn on Sunset.

So going back to the drama, back in 2002, the owner of the Studio Place Inn (which I believe is the current site of The Blvd Hotel and Spa at 10730), Pravin Govin, wanted to expand his business and use the alley as a driveway that was on the property of the Universal City Inn (the motel described in this post) owned by Gita Kumar along with her husband, Harish Patel. The two didnt agree and set off a rivalry with Govin taking justice into his own hands on May 4, 2002 by killing Gita (42), her son, Paras (18), her daughter, Tulsi (16), and mother-in-law, Sitaben Patel (63) at their Hollywood Hills home which Govin set ablazed. Govin had two accomplices including his brother help with the murders was sentenced to death including his brother on April 5, 2005 after a second trial with the first resulting in a hung jury. Govin is still alive pending an appeal. So all this drama and sadness over an alley, simply amazing. My heart goes out to the Kumar family. 

You can view more SFV Architecture and R.E. here
This small alley caused so much pain for one family. Image courtesy Google Maps.
The current site of The Blvd Hotel and Spa was previously a Hollywood-Land Lodge Apartment Motel in the 1950s. This is what the site looked like when Govin owned it. 
Image courtesy Google Maps
 Images courtesy Yelp.

 Universal Inn Demolition

Celeb R.E.: Silver Spoons Ricky Schroder's Former Calabasas Home with Vegas Inspiration Looking for a Buyer

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Schroder image courtesy Wikipedia/Staff Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III. Images courtesy Keller Williams
Back on March 11, 2015, the always informative Lauren Beale at LA Times Hot Property discussed the former Calabasas family home of Ricky Schroder hitting the market on February 12, 2015 for $5,498,950 which was later reduced $500K to $4,998,950 on April 10, 2015 and still available at the time of this writing. 

Ricky Schroder was a child star who grew to fame on the hit TV show, Silver Spoons, where I was jealous of Schroder's toy train that could be ridden around the house. I always wanted one in my house but no luck till this day. If you dont know what I am talking about, check out the clip at 1:19.

The home measures 5 Beds/7 Baths on 9, 166 sqft on a total lot size of 0.43 acres built in 1987. It seems that Schroder's family purchased this home brand new in 1987 shortly after Silver Spoons ended with Schroder attending Calabasas high school for his senior year. The family later sold on December 7, 1989 for $2,816,000. The home today looks like a Vegas nightclub with neon lights throughout the house included near the pool, bar/billiards room, and an overall resort like feel. I am not sure and doubt that the house existed like this back when Schroder lived in it and was probably updated with the most recent owners. The listing description states:
SHANGRI-LA awaits with grandeur and exquisite attention to detail in this spectacular, almost 10,000 square-foot CUSTOM hilltop residence located in the prestigious VISTA POINTE guard gated community! With some of the BEST VIEWS in all of Calabasas, from the mountains and city lights, to the golf course below, greet the lucky resident as well as fortunate visitors in this FORMER CELEBRITY OWNED, entertainers paradise! Featuring 3 MASTER BEDROOM SUITES each with sitting room, fireplace and balconies, palatial grand foyer with Vegas style splendor, 4 staircases, HUGE 8 CAR GARAGE w/ granite flooring, panoramic view windows in living room and spacious game room with wet bar. Enjoy feature movies in your 138" screening room. Additional features include a personal gym, piano room, library, office, formal dining, family room, and lavish chefs kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances! Throughout the residence you will be in awe at the copious amounts of custom stonework, ironwork, parquet flooring, cabinetry, lighting, top of the line audio and glasswork. Outside indulge in resort living elegance on sprawling grounds featuring 44' custom pool with endless, breathtaking views, spa and fountains, zen like Koi pond, waterfall and enough patio area to entertain all!
After the Calabasas home, Schroder got married in 1992 and built a custom ranch house in Colorado on a 55,550 acre plot with his new wife. Then they got into the house flipping game and fixed and sold properties in Scottsdale, Arizona and Colorado. Then they moved back to California to live in Topanga in March 2005 with their last known transaction was the purchase of a Malibu home in 2007.  

You can view more SFV Celeb R.E. here

Vacant Land in Sherman Way Owned by Church Group to Become 58 Single Family Homes in Van Nuys

Thursday, May 21, 2015 / No Comments
Image courtesy Bing Maps
Image courtesy Google Maps
The SFVBJ reported that the Van Nuys Neighborhood Coucil's Planning and Land Use Committee has given the green light for a major residential development at a vacant land site at 14700 Sherman Way near Van Nuys Blvd. 

The proposal consists of 58 single-family homes priced from the mid-$400,000s to the mid-$500,000s at a deal valued around $29 million. 

The property measures 149,396 sqft (3.4 acres) spread over 4 parcels. The property was last purchased by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel on September 30, 2008 for $2,490,024 from the Kings College and Seminary school which is located next door at 14800. The Foursquare church is located down the street across Van Nuys Blvd which originally intended to expand onto the larger property. 

Historically, this land appeared to be a small ranch up until the 90s/2000s but hard to tell any specifics from the satellite photos. All images below from favorite website

You can view more SFV Architecture and Real Estate here.


Former Keyes Chevy Dealer To Become Mixed-Use Residential-Retail Complex in Van Nuys

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Image courtesy Google Maps
Image courtesy Bing Maps
Both the SFVBJ and Urbanize.LA reported that the Van Nuys Neighborhood Coucil's Planning and Land Use Committee has given the green light for a major development at the former Keyes Chevrolet dealership at 6001 Van Nuys Blvd (also uses address of 5949, 6007, 6015, 6059 and 14500 Aetna St). 

The proposal consists of 324 residential units, 17,000 sqft of commercial floor space, and 1 acres of open space on a 4.5 acre property at the in between the streets of Aetna and Oxnard directly across from the Orange Line depot. 

The property measures 164,343 sqft (4.5 acres including alley) with a 70,000 sqft showroom built in 1964. The property was last purchased by Rodrigues Holdings LLC based in Pacoima for $5,745,557 on July 30, 2010. I cannot confirm the seller but I believe its Keyes who moved directly across the street in a brand new showroom that can be seen here

In terms of architectural significance, I could not find the architect nor did Survey LA conduct an audit of Van Nuys so there is practically no information out there. Although, we do know that the dealership embodies the postwar mid century modern design common throughout SoCal that are slowly (maybe rapidly) disappearing. 

The trend to demolish and/or renovate the older dealerships is nothing new to the SFV as: 
  1. The David Ellis Chrysler and Jeep mid century modern showroom was renovated.
  2. The former Bob Smith BMW dealership is set to become either a Norms or mixed use site.
  3. The Paul Williams designed Livingston Motor Company showroom was demolished.
  4. The former Courtesy Dodge in Reseda will become 254 apartment units.
  5. And the former Neill Lehr Cadillac in Northridge plans to be demolished for a mixed-use site.
I wanted to dig further and find more info more about this location which revealed that the dealership was previously a Rydell Chevy dealership but I dont know if it was always a Rydell and could have easily been a different dealership in the past 4 decades It appears that this location was a manufacturing plant before a car dealership according to a October 31, 1954 Valley News newspaper article, "Robert Morton organ plant at 6001 Van Nuys Blvd., has been purchased by Arthur B. Zweebell and Associates, manufacturers of radio cabinets" (A February 6, 2011 Daily News article also makes the same reference). 

Image courtesy Los Angeles Public Library
The Valley's first piano and organ manufacturing plant, Johnston Organ and Piano Manufacturing Co., moved to Van Nuys in 1913. The firm changed hands in 1915, becoming the California Organ Company, and finally, in 1917 it became the Robert Morton Organ Company. During the 1920s Robert Morgan became the second largest producer of theater organs in America, behind the celebrated and respected firm of Wurlitzer. Nicknamed the "Wonder Morton", The Robert Morton organs were named for the first names of the two sons of the company's owner; with their splendidly built large scale pipework and impressive consoles, they were well suited both sonically and visually for the spacious movie palaces. The Morton Company closed permanently in 1933. The Robert Morton organ plant was one of the largest organ manufacturers in America in the 1920s but closed permanently in 1933 (Los Angeles Public Library). You can view more images of the plant at the MSFV and a lengthy discussion at the Skyscraper forum

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More pics below:
1947 image showing what appears to be a manufacturing plant but not sure if it is the Robert Morton Organ company. Image courtesy
1972 image showing a fully stocked and functioning car dealership but dont know which one. Image courtesy

Above images courtesy Google Maps

Above image courtesy Yelp
Image courtesy Loopnet (available for rent at $25K per month at this time)
Image courtesy
Image courtesy MSFV

Skytrails Restaurant in Van Nuys Postcard

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Aerial View of Lockheed Air Terminal Postcard in Burbank

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Celeb R.E.: Actor Eddie McClintock of Warehouse 13 Sells Sherman Oaks Mid Century Modern Home

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 / No Comments
McClintock image courtesy Wikipedia/Gage Skidmore

Images courtesy Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
Back on March 9, 2015, the always informative Lauren Beale at LA Times Hot Property revealed that actor Eddie McClintock known for appearing in the Sci-fi TV show, Warehouse 13, sold his Sherman Oaks mid century modern home for $2,645,000 on April 17, 2015 which was first listed on March 2, 2015 for $2,595,000. 

The home measures 5 Beds/4.25 Baths on 3,739 sqft on a total lot size of 0.90 acres built in 1957. The listing description states: 
Palm Springs meets the Hollywood Hills in this streamlined Mid-Century modern showplace with jetliner views across the Valley and 2 blocks below Mulholland Dr. Unassuming curb appeal with show stopping interior design. Private, gated entry courtyard leads to completely remodeled 1 story open floor plan w/ walls of glass, recessed lighting and designer upgrades throughout. Great room with fireplace anchored by soaring ceilings and a Caesar stone center isle gourmet kitchen w stainless appliances, BK bar and large dining area. Separate office overlooks free-form pool with bath and changing room, expansive grass areas, patios and sport court. Center hall plan offers 4 bedrooms in one wing with spectacular master suite w egg shaped soaking tub, dual sinks, over-sized steam/rain shower, walk-in closet and wall of closets/dressing area. 2 additional secondary bedrooms and a JR master suite currently being used as a game room are also featured. A separate guest suite is off the kitchen. Nearly an acre of land. The ultimate entertainer's showplace and located minutes to the Westside.
McClintock acquired this property on October 21, 2013 for $2,245,000 translating into a profit of $400K not including expenses. Prior to the Sherman Oaks home, McClintock was living in another Studio City architectural home (shown below) designed by renowned architect Michael Pierce A.I.A. The home measures 3 Beds/3 Baths on 3,445 sqft on a total lot size of 0.38 acres built in 1989. The home was purchased on April 11, 2003 for $950K and sold on August 22, 2013 for $1,815,000 representing an almost double gain at $865K gain not factoring expenses. 

Images courtesy Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
You can view more SFV Celeb R.E. here.