Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Celeb R.E. Former Home of Johnny Cash and Johnny Carson in Encino Sold

 Images courtesy Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices 
Johnny Carson and family in front of Encino home. Image courtesy Roadshow Revival News.
Johnny Cash and family in front of Encino home. Image courtesy LA Times
The former home of Johnny Carson and Johnny Cash recently sold on April 16, 2014 for $1,854,000 which was previously purchased on March 27, 1998 for $700,000. Cash purchased this home in 1958 from Carson for $75,000 according to the book, Johnny Cash: The Life by Robert Hilburn, 
When Johnny Carson told Cash he was selling his Encino house to move to New York, Cash bought it on the spot for $75,000. Encino was a trophy-house suburb of Los Angeles, just minutes from Hollywood and favorite of film stars, notably John Wayne and Clark Gable. The house at 4259 Hayvenhurst Avenue, was just up the street from where Michael Jackson's family would later make their home. 
The date and amount that Carson purchased this home is unknown but its possible Carson purchased brand new as the home was built in 1951. Cash would only live in it for 3 more years later moving to Casitas Springs in Ventura County in 1961 to escape the Hollywood life. 

The home measures 5 Beds/4 Baths on 3,652 sqft on a total lot size of 0.43 acres built in 1951. The listing description states:
SOUTH OF THE BLVD STUNNING RANCH HOME, just blocks from acclaimed Lanai Road Elementary School. This single level move-in ready home is appointed with the most stylish upgrades. The traditional kitchen boasts crisp white cabinets, Carrera marble counters and backsplash, stainless steel appliances, 2 dishwashers and a Viking range. Complimented with wood floors, moldings, and an abundance of windows and French doors, this house is flooded with natural light and lends itself to indoor/outdoor living and entertaining. With 5 bedrooms and 3 and a half baths, the tranquil master retreat offers a fireplace, vaulted ceilings and a spa like bath with large steam shower and soak tub plus an extra large walk in cedar lined closet. Upgraded with the automated thermostat ?Nest? system, newer water heater, brand new roof, beautiful tile and stone bathrooms, built-in cabinetry plus new paint inside and out. Located on an extra large sweeping corner lot, this property offers tons of privacy, lush landscaped grounds, stone patios and walkways, sparkling swimmers pool with new tile and plaster and triple water feature, ? sport court and large grassy areas in the front and back yards. This is one you won?t want to miss!
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Celeb R.E. Hip Hop Star Akon Settles Down in Woodland Hills

Images courtesy Rodeo Realty
Back on April 7, 2014, the all knowing gossip juggernaut, TMZ, revealed that hip-hop artist, Akon, purchased a Woodland Hills modern home on September 12, 2013 for $1,950,000. 

Akon rose to fame in 2004 with his hit single, "Locked Up" from his debut album, Trouble. Akon's career took off from there being the first solo artist to hold both the number one and two spots simultaneously on the Billboard Hot 100 charts twice, four songs certified 3x platinum, three songs certified as 2x platinum, more than 10 songs certified as 1x platinum and more than 10 songs certified as gold in digital sales. And the list of accomplishments and hits keep growing providing vocals as a featured artist with more than 300 guest appearances and more than 35 Billboard Hot 100 songs. Akon's real name is Aliaune Damala Bougo Time Bongo Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam or sometimes simply goes by Aliaune Thiam was born on April 16, 1973 which for a time was unknown but since discovered by The Smoking Gun. You can catch Akon's hit song, "Smack That" and "Sexy Bitch" below. 

The home measures 5 Beds/6 Baths on 4,098 sqft on a total lot size of 0.42 acres built in 2004. The listing description states: 
Custom, Elegant and Beautiful. The art of fine contemporary architecture can be found in this warm and inviting home. A one-of-a-kind design features high ceilings, walls of glass, concrete floors, chef's kitchen and a sprawling entertainers yard with pool andspa and a complete outdoor kitchen in an elevated stylish cabana. The privacy is amazing and the views of the home overlooking the grassy area and pool are stunning. This home features refined design, spacious living and glass walls that open to invite the exterior in. .. Fantastic for entertaining or the active extended family. From an exquisite custom wet bar to a circular formal dining table, to commercial grade appliances, this home has it all. Smooth concrete, textures and volumes of light throughout. Free flowing floor plan, multiple fireplaces, balconies and over 4000 s. f. of living. You cannot ask for more, private & beautiful. Located within walking distance to the Blvd. Enjoy restaurants, shops and coffee with ease. .. .. Too much to list. You won't be disappointed.
Prior to Akon's purchase, the home was last acquired on April 7, 1995 for $375,000 and was completely demolished and rebuilt in 2004 for I am guessing something in the range of $500K or possibly even more. The home was originally listed on May 29, 2013 for $2,150,000 so it looks like Akon successfully saved $200K. Or did he? Because immediately after purchasing the home, Akon added his own touches and modified the interior of the home based on pictures provided by TMZ. Also at the bottom are Youtube videos from his birthday party celebrated at the house. Note, I tried to create a before and after collage based on the listing pictures so some pictures will not match up perfectly. 

I was rather surprised to learn that international start, Akon, chose sleepy suburban Woodland Hills of all places for what appears to be his first LA pad. However, in addition to this home, Akon also owns the following: 
  1. An Alpharetta, GA mansion measuring 4 Bed/8 Bath on 8,697 sqft over 4.60 acres built in 1998 and purchased on January 25, 2008 for $1,650,000. You can view pictures of the mansion at
  2. An Atlanta, GA mansion measuring 10 Beds/10 Baths on 14,994 sqft over 2 acres built in 1990 and purchased on February 13, 2007. This home is co-owned by Darrick "Devyne" Stephens who is Akon's longtime contributor and business partner. 
  3. A Lithonia, GA home measuring 5 Beds/4.5 Baths on 3,642 sqft on 0.41 acres built in 2005 for an unknown price and date. 
  4. A Dacula, GA home measuring 5 Beds/4 Baths on 3,488 sqft on  0.31 acres built in 2005 for an unknown price and date. 
  5. A Glenside, PA home measuring 3 Beds/2.5 Baths on 1,900 sqft on 0.37 acres built in 1920 and purchased on February 25, 2010 for $300,000. 
Literally next door to Akon is Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell as well as the Van Dekker Residence by R.M. Schindler, and Bud Abbott's former home. 

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Mid Century Modern Church In Canoga Park Demolished for 118 Condos

The latest casualty of the ongoing SFV development is the Reginald F. Inwood designed mid century modern church formerly located at 20600 - 20620 Roscoe Blvd Canoga Park which was last home to the Filipino International Christian Church and will soon be the home of 118 condominiums. 

I was not surprised by this demolition but rather saddened that reality took place as I knew this demolition was going to happen based on published meeting minutes from the City Planning commission which I blogged about back on July 17, 2013. You can view more details about the church architecture, history, and photos taken at the time showing the last days of the church here

One positive thing to note is that this property is also home to a 500 yard year old oak tree which is still standing today. Its not known if the developers plan to demolish this tree too or keep it as part of the property grounds.  

As they say "change is good or needed" but I will miss seeing this unique church as I drive down Roscoe Blvd. Cant wait till here about the next demolition! (sarcasm)

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Edward Fickett Mid Century Modern Home in Sherman Oaks Hits the Market

Images courtesy Sotheby's International Realty
15573 Briarwood Drive
3 Bed/2 Bath on 1,945 sqft on a total lot size of 0.26 acres built in 1955 in Sherman Oaks. The Fickett home is listed for $1,199,000 on April 2, 2014 and was last purchased on October 9, 2009 for $779,000.

According to the listing description, this home was designed by notable architect, Edward Fickett, who was dubbed the "creator of the San Fernando Valley" and the "Frank Lloyd Wrigt of the 50's." He has designed more than 60,000 structures including the pool complex at the Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks Park, the extension of the Nethercutt Antique Car Museum in Sylmar, the original Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, the passenger and cargo terminals at the Port of Los Angeles, Dodger Stadium, the Los Angeles Police Academy, and devised the master plans for the Edwards and Norton Air Force bases (LA Times and Daily News). 

I wasnt able to verify this home being specifically designed by Fickett but he designed so many homes if the SFV that there is a good possibility that this is a Fickett home. However, I was able to verify Fickett designed homes in the Sherman Oaks area located at 3461 Cody Road, 3676 Meadville Drive, 3695 N Scadlock Lane, 14145 Mulholland Drive (Fire Station #99), 3755 N Woodcliff Road, and in the Encino area at 16605 W Oldham Street (possible altered) and 16642 W Oldham Street through SurveyLA (Encino and Sherman Oaks). So buy with caution. 

The listing description states:
Palm Springs in Sherman Oaks! Edward H. Fickett, FAIA designed mid-century architectural with a pool and panoramic city views. Sophisticated 3 bedroom, 2 bath house, incredible windows, beams and fireplace with a fantastic indoor-outdoor feel. Perfect for entertaining. Lovingly restored while maintaining the integrity of the architect. Easy access to 405, 101 and Westside. A true gem and rare opportunity.
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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Celeb R.E.: Selena Gomez Quietly Purchases Calabasas Home

Image courtesy Bing Maps
According to gossip juggernaut, TMZ, Selena Gomez of Disney's Wizards of Waverly Place fame and also being the boyfriend of Justin Bieber for a short period of time has just purchased a Calabasas mansion which was first reported on March 29, 2014. 

Based on the picture revealed at TMZ, the home measures 5 Beds/6 Baths on 7,229 sqft on a total lot size of 3.15 acres built in 2004. The home is in a gated community literally next door to Hidden Hills. The shape of the lot is rather unique which looks like a long inverted boot that stretches from the Hidden Hills fences to to the entrance of the gated community. Another interesting feature of the lot is the open land next door with a driveway leading to nothing that looks like it was once being prepped for development so maybe there is future development potential for Gomez. 

This home was last purchased on August 16, 2004 as a new home for $2,920,000 and according to TMZ was sold to Selena Gomez for $3 million even though the property records do not reflect any transaction at the time of writing this blog so we will keep a look out to confirm TMZ's story who are typically accurate in their reporting. The home was previously owned by a financial type who goes by the name of Scott Kotick who was one of the founders of The Alliant Company

Shortly after TMZ published their story, a Gomez stalker wasted no time visiting Gomez's new home and knocked on the front door attempting to see Gomez which didnt work out. So the stalker broke into the guest home until he was caught by the sheriff's deputies. So that must be a record for celebrity trespassing and I guess it doesnt matter if you live in a gated community. 

Images courtesy Prudential California Realty
Prior to the newly acquired Calabasas home, Gomez was living in a Tarzana ranch home measuring 5 Beds/5 Baths on 4,650 sqft on a total lot size of close to 1 acre built in 1956. Gomez purchased this home for $2.9 million on August 2012 supposedly from Jonah Hill who flipped the home after acquiring it on July 14, 2011 for $2,175,000. However, a quick review of the property records does not show any transactions taking place after 2011 so its possible that Jonah Hill never owned this home and it was originally purchased by Gomez. Something tells me this home will be popping up on the market in the near future. On a side note for architectural buffs, this home is located across from the Dr. A.E. Abdun-Nur Residence designed by Paul Williams. You can read more about that home here and here

Image courtesy Coldwell Banker
Prior to the Tarzana home, Gomez was living in an Encino rental (shown above) that was sold for $3.5 million on December 21, 2012 and was known as the Lazy Creek Ranch. You can read more about that home here

Is it a coincidence that Gomez moved to Calabasas after Bieber sold his Calabasas mansion to Khloe Kardashian and moved to Atlanta?

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Warner Center Expansion Goes Into Overdrive

Image courtesy Rich Krugel Facebook
There has been a barrage of Warner Center development news hitting the newswire in the past month which doesnt seem to stop. The latest is the $3 billion conversion of the old Rockedyne site which is nothing new but is becoming closer to fruition. Take into consideration the following:
  1. Westfield drops hotel plans at Village at Wesfield Topanga published on February 28, 2014.
  2. Westfield Village Project Gets $59 Million Tax Break from Los Angeles City Council published on March 4, 2014. 
  3. Westfield Village at Topanga in Warner Set for 2015 Opening published on March 6, 2014.
  4. Lawsuit Over The Village at Westfield Topanga Resolved published on March 19, 2014. 
  5. Westfield Topanga Breaks Ground on $350 Million Village Project published on March 24, 2014. 
  6. Warner Center's Rocketdyne Site Slated for $3 Billion Project published on March 26, 2014. 
My favorite articles above are the hotel being dropped and the tax credit. Why would Westfield drop a hotel now? What happened to their previous projections that showed it would work? Isnt more hotels in the area the solution? 

And the same with tax credits. Why cant we offer tax credits to manufacturing companies that increase the local GDP and provide high paying jobs? Why is it limited to these retail type corporations that really only hire minimum wage teenagers and a few adult managers? 

Moving onto the picture above which I dont know who generated it, is a great picture that really captures all the activity taking place in a very finite area which also highlights the corporate stores already in existence that it begs the question, do we really need more? Is "more" going to really add more jobs or destroy jobs at other areas as people flock to this shopping center behemoth? And are these jobs high paying jobs that can support a family purchasing an average $500K single family home in Winnetka? Remember when this area used to house manufacturing centers along with highly skilled and paid jobs.

This project has been a sensitive area for me that I have been highly critical which I first talked about it in 2011 in one of my very first posts on this blog and continued to provide coverage with each new development. You can read some of those old posts shown below: 
  1. Small Creek Threatened near Topanga Mall.....March 3, 2011.
  2. BTTF Series #5: The Promenade Mall at Woodland Hills....May 19, 2011.
  3. Voice Your Concerns for the Proposed Village at Westfield Topanga.....August 2, 2011. 
  4. The Village at Westfield Topanga is Coming....Hang Onto Your Hats....March 1, 2012.
  5. Woodland Hills Homeowners File Lawsuit over Westfield Topanga Village.....April 17, 2012.
  6. Westfield Begins Preparation for The Village at Topanga.....January 29, 2013. 
  7. Demolition Underway for The Village at Westfield Topanga......August 2, 2013
  8. Historic Rocketdyne Engine Moves Down the Street to Nordhoff and De Soto....October 6, 2013.
My opinion hasnt changed one bit for this project and I continue to question the purpose behind these massive projects and wonder what will happen once completed, to traffic, small businesses, and the massive increase in available housing.  Those questions seemed to have already been answered by the City Council, Westfield, and other developers as not being an issue or already resolved. Obviously, at this point, nothing can be done and the projects are full steam ahead. I guess time will only tell to who wins and loses with these projects. But there cant be all winners and somebody will take a hit. 

One of the early victims of this project was the old Home Savings Millard Sheets inspired mural by Marlo Bartels and Astrid Preston that was most recently occupied by a Fedex Office store. It was demolished without preservation but I hope I am wrong. If it was completely demolished, than you know that negligence and ignorance has already started. Below you can find a picture of it that I took before razing commenced. 

And dont forget all the apartment activity taking place. In addition to the The Village, there will be 2000 new apartment units added which I talked about previously taking place nearby the Orange line, at the former Valley Music Theatre (click here for updated pic), and former Catalina Yachts manufacturing site which are all shown in the map below. 

View Woodland Hills Development in a larger map

Here are some random pictures I found on Facebook of the old Warner Center.

Image courtesy Dean Field Facebook
Image courtesy Gordon Ross Facebook
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