Hotel Figueroa, top-rated hotel in DTLA featured in South Bay DIGS Magazine

Hotel Figueroa Gets A Renaissance In DTLA

Since opening in 1926 as an exclusive women’s hostelry by the YWCA, Hotel Figueroa has been at the forefront of social progress.

Throughout the years, it has been a home for intellectuals and artists—it exhibited “Women Painters of the West” in its lobby in 1933—and provided a platform for activists to give speeches denouncing racism and sexism, among other issues, especially in the 1950s. Today, the legacy lives on in the Hotel Figueroa’s current form. 

Located in the South Park district of Downtown Los Angeles, near the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and The Broad, the hotel occupies a 13-story historic building originally designed by Stanton, Reed, and Hibbard.

In February 2018, it revealed its new face after a two-year renovation led by Rockefeller Kempel Partners Architects and boutique interior design agency Studio Collective.

Inspired by Hotel Figueroa’s original Spanish Colonial splendor and its women-centric, artistic roots, the results of the restoration begin in a grand lobby under high ceilings, where an art gallery features works by female artists.

Welcoming guests is an Alison Van Pelt painting of the hotel’s first managing director Maude Bouldin on a motorcycle. The art program celebrating L.A.’s female artists, including Whitney Hubbs, Sarah Awad, and Jesse Mockrin, is on view throughout the public and private areas.

Curvy chairs and booths invite guests to sit and relax in spaces where earthy colors are complemented with rich textiles such as velvet and suede. In the 286 rooms and suites, hardwood floors, wood beams, custom millwork, and plaster walls accompany glass, leather, and metal, while custom tiles reference Spanish architecture and colorful wallpaper reflects the city’s cultural spirit.


Thanks to a partnership with the popular L.A. institution The Last Bookstore, each one of the 23 Artist Series suites and 33 Writer Series suites comprises a collection of books by an L.A.-based author or artist. In all of the Hotel Figueroa’s carefully considered spaces, Studio Collective focused on balancing nods to the past and allusions to the contemporary creative local scene.

Renowned chef Casey Lane is at the helm of Hotel Figueroa’s two restaurants: Breva, a Basque brasserie situated inside the lobby; and Veranda, an alfresco dining venue with Mediterranean influences. Dushan Zaric—a pioneer in craft bartending—leads the libations programs at Bar Figueroa, Bar Alta and Rick’s.

In addition to the 10,000-square-feet event space, Hotel Figueroa has a surprising coffin-shaped pool on the ground floor, surrounded by fig trees, cactus, and eucalyptus, creating an oasis in the middle of the city. Honoring women and the arts, Hotel Figueroa is an ode to the buzzing cultural soul of Downtown L.A. hotelfigueroa.com



The Penthouse Collection at Metropolis

Penthouse Collection: A new collection of eight marquee penthouses rise up in the heart of DTLA

The continuing resurgence of Downtown L.A. as a hot investment market has led the way for some of the city’s tallest, most luxurious projects. Chief among them is Metropolis Los Angeles, Greenland USA’s mixed-use development consisting of four towers replete with more than 70,000 square feet of retail space, top-of-the-line residences and unparalleled amenities.

The crown jewel of the property? The Penthouse Collection at Metropolis atop the 38-story Tower 1, with eight newly completed two-story homes presenting breathtaking jetliner views from Griffith Park and the San Gabriel Mountains to the coastline and beyond.

“In recent years, Downtown has emerged as one of the most vibrant communities in L.A., with a host of great dining, entertainment and cultural destinations including L.A. Live, Staples Center and The Financial District,” says Mike Leipart, managing partner of The Agency Development Group, who is leading the sales and marketing efforts at Metropolis and is working in partnership with James Harris and David Parnes to co-list the penthouses. “With the addition of great neighborhood amenities—including Whole Foods, big-box retailers and boutique fitness studios—professionals who previously worked in Downtown and commuted can now comfortably call DTLA home.”

The Jean-Gabriel Neukomm-designed Penthouse Collection includes four two-bedroom and four three-bedroom residences ranging from 1,735 square feet to 3,534 square feet, with prices from $2.194 million to $6.388 million. Interiors for the contemporary, two-story homes have been crafted by Harley Ellis Devereaux and Hirsch Bedner Associates, with first-class touches including floor-to-ceiling windows, automated shades, Caesarstone countertops, Miele and Bosch appliances, wine fridges, solid oak flooring, Toto and Waterworks bath features, and Nest Learning Thermostats.

Expect expansive floor plans that separate gathering and entertaining spaces from sleeping areas, with stand-out features including great rooms with towering window walls and open, gourmet kitchens, and opulent master suites with sweeping vistas, spa-style baths and walk-in closets.

Among the amenities and services: a 24-hour lobby attendant and dedicated concierge, and a clubhouse with indoor lounge and chef’s kitchen, resort pool with Jacuzzi, cabanas and lounge. A sky park boasts fire pits, a barbecue area, fitness and yoga studio, game and screening rooms, a meditation garden and a dog park with bathing station.


“The Penthouse Collection at Metropolis presents a unique opportunity for those seeking the finest in luxury living high above all Downtown L.A. has to offer,” says Leipart. “These penthouses will raise the bar of luxury living in Downtown L.A., and we are honored to bring them to market.”

Penthouse Collection at Metropolis

889 Francisco St, Los Angeles, CA 90017
855.657.8300 | metropolislosangles.com

Photographs: Courtesy of Metropolis

Architectural Showcase

PerLA on Broadway is set to boost DTLA’s renewal with first-time homes complemented by a wealth of upscale amenities

Written by Wendy Bowman | Photography Courtesy of SCG America

Once a street struggling to survive, Broadway is back and better than ever. Now adding to the historic thoroughfare’s resurgence is the first new large-scale development in more than a century. Named PerLA—Spanish for pearl—the $300 million, 35-story CallisonRTKL-designed condo, residential and business tower promises to be an extravagant and stylish discovery in the heart of the city, much like the precious gem found in an oyster.

“Under Bringing Back Broadway—a recently completed 10-year initiative spearheaded by City Councilman José Huizar—the area has experienced a surge in new development,” says Hamid Behdad of developer SCG America. “This project will be a catalyst for further redevelopment in the neighborhood, as well as an integral part of [the] plan to revive this historic corridor. The project will also finally fill a void in the market by catering to first-time millennial homebuyers.”









Situated at 400 S. Broadway St., on the corner of 4th Street—on a .85-acre parcel that previously held 1980’s-era retail storefronts—PerLA on Broadway will offer 7,000 square feet of ground level retail and commercial space, as well as 450 residential condo units ranging from 400 to 1,300 square feet, priced from the mid-$400,000s. Groundbreaking was held in late September, with the project slated for completion in 2020. Presales are set to begin in spring 2018.

Expect contemporary Hirsch Bedner Associates-designed environs that recall the area’s historic roots, replete with textured metal screens inspired by the ornate wrought-iron grilles and vintage railings of adjacent historic buildings complemented by modern materials, technologies and finishes. Yet other highlights include a lavish lobby boasting intricate art-deco details (such as a floating registration desk finished with a deep-rich lacquered green), along with a four-story, sky-lit atrium holding a fitness center, yoga/Pilates rooms, media room and WeWork office spaces.

“HBA’s finish selections incorporate creative ways to utilize classical materials in a contemporary application,” says HBA associate Richard Tennill. “Luxurious veined marbles laid in a playful manner share the space of the lobby with textural painted corrugated metal panels expanding the full height of the space. Rich wood floors fold up the walls to create a wainscot element, which in instances, creates a ledge or hides warm LED up-lighting. Patterned tiles create graphic repetition in an art-deco manner, yet with a contemporary look.”

Other standouts at PerLA on Broadway: 48,000 square feet of outdoor space spanning the roofs of the lower podium and tower. There one will find a pool deck offering sweeping views of the city; decks and kitchens; cabana lounges and seating areas; and fire pits and grilling areas. There’s even a dog walk, complete with an owner’s lounge and grooming station. 




Hope Abounds

A new landmark, mixed-use project breaks ground in L.A.’s South Park District, just blocks from LA Live

Written by Wendy Bowman | Rendering Courtesy of MB Group

About three years ago, FMB Development CEO Ilan Kenig took a close look at the Downtown L.A. area and realized that there was a need for in-fill projects that would create condo-style living for people moving into the area, as well as complement its existing spaces. His solution: the formation of a boutique, luxury residential and retail offering where residents could truly take advantage of the best that the city has to offer.

“We believe this area of Los Angeles will continue to grow and thrive while preserving the things that make the area so special, and we want to be part of that process,” says Kenig, who is developing the new $37 million 1317 Hope Street mixed-use project in partnership with Build4You and DE Architects. “FMB Development is uniquely positioned to create a building that is both iconic, but also designed to blend seamlessly in the existing neighborhood.”

Found in the heart of Downtown L.A.’s South Park District —at the nexus of retail, entertainment, restaurants and the 10 Freeway, and near the Los Angeles Convention Center, Staples Center and LA Live—the new seven-story development will feature 25,600 square feet of residential space, with prices still being finalized. Included are 38 units of housing, primarily modern studios and one-bedroom apartments, along with two luxury penthouse suites with private roof decks, and six units reserved for affordable housing, ranging from approximately 420 square feet to 800 square feet. The ground-level floor will consist of 3,000 square feet of retail space.

Expect modern, classic environs with detailed finishes and local artwork throughout, amenities including a common roof deck, and retail options such as grocery stores, to-go or a la carte-style dining, and restaurants. Construction began in mid-April, with completion expected by mid-2019.

“Downtown Los Angeles is undergoing a renaissance,” says Kenig. “The area offers a number of great features, including accessibility to public transportation via the new Expo Line and the existing Blue Line, as well as the kind of walkability not generally seen in Los Angeles neighborhoods.

“South Park, specifically, has much to offer for entertainment mavens, through LA Live and surrounding theaters, and foodies can enjoy some of the best restaurants in the area,” he adds. “By building at 1317 Hope Street, we’re adding to the neighborhood’s walkability, character and retail offerings, while providing a boutique feel and high-end living amenities to residents.”


1317 Hope Street

Los Angeles, CA 90015

213.568.4619 | FMBDevelopment.com


Market Update

Manhattan Beach home prices hit a new high water mark in July, reaching their highest level in over 4 years. The average sale price for single-family residences for 2017 year-to-date reached $3,008,529, while the median sale price also peaked at $2,471,125. The average sale price is up 14.56% from the same period last year, and up an astounding $1,005,169 when compared to 2013 average sale prices.

And the record highs keep coming – 1000 The Strand sold at the end of May of this year for $21,000,000, and there have been a total of (18) transactions year-to-date with a closed sales price above $5,000,000, versus (1) for the same period last year. In addition, Hermosa Beach just missed a record high sale price with the sale of 1540 The Strand, which closed at $14,150,000, (versus the record price of $15,000,000 in 2015.) See record home price sales for each city below.

South Bay & Palos Verdes

Record Home Prices – Single Family Residences

  • El Segundo  $2,350,000
  • Manhattan Beach $21,000,000
  • Hermosa Beach $15,000,000
  • Redondo Beach $6,500,000
  • Palos Verdes Estates $15,550,000
  • Rancho Palos Verdes $8,300,000
  • Rolling Hills Estates $3,999,000
  • Rolling Hills $8,550,000

Another South Bay city has seen its average sale price hit a new high – North Redondo Beach. Year-to-date average sale prices hit a new peak of $1,002,651; the first time prices have topped the seven-figure number. That number compares to an average sale price of $768,023 in 2013, which means pricing has increased 30.5% in North Redondo Beach in the last 4.5 years!

We’re reaching an interesting point in time in terms of the typical real estate cycle, which seems to normalize / adjust every 7-9 years. With record employment, a continued low interest rate environment, stock market highs, renewed consumer confidence, and a healthier mortgage balance sheet (more equity, less delinquencies,) it appears the good times will keep coming.

I’m not one to speculate on where prices go from here, but like everyone interested in the housing market, it’s sure going to be interesting in the next 12 months.

High Five

WeHo welcomes a quintet of new luxury townhomes from FMB Development to the neighborhood

Written by Alisha Henson

Located at 1159 N Formosa Ave, just north of Santa Monica Blvd, five new modern luxury townhomes are being brought to West Hollywood by FMB Development. The three-story townhomes will feature indoor/outdoor living spaces that seamlessly blend into the development’s signature modern design and aesthetic of the neighborhood. Built with high-quality finishes and materials, each unit will also include a private front and back yard, and a subterranean garage. Not to mention the impeccable views from the rooftop deck, which include Downtown Los Angeles, Griffith Observatory, and the Hollywood sign.

“These luxury townhomes will integrate seamlessly into the surrounding neighborhood, increase area property values, and improve quality of life for local residents. We worked closely with the community in designing this property to ensure that it would contribute to the vibrant neighborhood and address local priorities, like increasing walkability and parking availability.

FMB Development is proud to have created a project that thoughtfully incorporates the latest in contemporary design, unique artistic elements, and the highest quality materials and finishes,” says IIan Kenig, CEO of FMB Development.

FMB Development

5757 Wilshire Blvd, Ste. 448

Los Angeles, CA 90036

Athlete’s Haven – $2.895 MILLION

Written by Wendy Bowman

This custom Mediterranean-style Manhattan Beach home at 1467 3rd St. definitely is attractive to pro athletes—in particular, for current owner and former left wing for the Los Angeles Kings, Alexander Frolov, and its original o

wner, former Lakers forward, Slava Medvedenko.

“The most appealing feature of the house is the high ceilings; the house feels really big, which is a desirable factor for tall athletes,” 

says Michael Grady of The Agency, who is listing the property for $2.895 million.

“There’s also the corner lot aspect. You have a little more privacy on the corner and aren’t sandwiched in, and the backyard layout has a private oasis feel to it with a magnificent pool, spa and built-in barbecue.”

Yet other stand-out features of the two-level, 7,549-square-foot abode: five bedrooms (most notably, an elegant master suite boasting a duo of balconies and a fireplace); a living room with a wet bar and fireplace; formal dining room; and casual family room overlooking the lushly landscaped backyard that flows to a gourmet kitchen sporting a large center island, double-oven and breakfast area.



 Star-Studded Stunner – $13.995 MILLION

Written by Wendy Bowman

The gated and private Colonial Revival estate that Green Acres actress Eva Gabor (as well as stars from Audrey Hepburn to Mia Farrow) once called home has hit the market for $13.995 million, listed by Jade Mills of Coldwell Banker Global Luxury.

Situated at 100 Delfern Drive—in the exclusive Los Angeles enclave of Holmby Hills—the traditional Paul Williams-designed residence features 6,797 square feet of living space in the main home, including a grand foyer boasting an elegant designer chandelier and winding staircase; six bedrooms; a living room with fireplace and built-in library shelves; family room with fireplace; formal dining room; and kitchen with a light-filled breakfast area. Meanwhile, the 1.1-acre lot is highlighted by a guest house; staff apartment; inviting pool; pool house with kitchen and sauna; tennis court; and landscaped gardens. A sizeable brick-lined motor court tops off this white brick home’s special allure.





Hot Happenings

Explore L.A. this summer at fun summertime events from the Westside to the South Bay

Written by Wendy Bowman

El Segundo Art Walk

More than 40 artists in 35 studio venues throughout downtown El Segundo and the up-and-coming Smoky Hollow neighborhood (between Sepulveda and historic downtown El Segundo) are set to participate in the self-guided third Thursday night El Segundo Art Walk, with upcoming dates on July 20 and Aug. 17 from 5-9 p.m. Expect fine art, live music, great food and artist studio tours at the event, now in its third year. Start at July’s event headquarters at 212 Eucalyptus Drive for a map and drink. Look for work by artists including Chance Cooper, Sabrina Armitage, Carrie Dietz Brown, Paul Roustan, Scott McFarlane, Dane Capo and Paula Langstein at venues ranging from Unita to South Bay Customs and many more. ElSegundoArtWalk.com

Shade Summer Series

Both outposts of the Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach are inviting everyone to party at their rooftop pools. Visit the Manhattan Beach site’s Skydeck Aug. 13 and Sept. 10, and the new Redondo Beach property’s Aquadeck each 

Sunday throughout the summer. Both parties last from 1-6 p.m. and include handcrafted cocktails, food and drink specials and DJs. Open to the public (ages 21 and older), with a $20 admission fee. ShadeHotel.com

Beverly Hills Open Later Days (B.O.L.D.)

Planning on venturing out in the evening? Head to Beverly Hills for extended shopping hours and more, beginning Aug. 3. As part of Beverly Hills Open Later Days (B.O.L.D.)—a new initiative led by Mayor Lili Bosse, Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau and Rodeo Drive Committee—locals and visitors alike can visit select retailers Thursday-Saturday until 8 p.m. and enjoy live entertainment, 

style sessions with fashion influencers, in-store tastemaker events, branded food carts and café seating along Rodeo Drive’s 200 block. Must-attend happenings include the free Concerts on Canon (in the Beverly Gardens between Montage Beverly Hills and Bouchon Bistro), with entertainers performing Broadway tunes, Brazilian jazz and other music every Thursday through Aug. 31 from 6-8 p.m., as well as aboveSIXTY movie nights featuring classics such as Dirty Dancing and ET and new favorites like La La Land on the SIXTY Beverly Hills Hotel rooftop each Wednesday, starting at 7 p.m., until September. LoveBeverlyHills.com

Concert on the Bluffs

The city of Malibu’s second-annual Concert on the Bluffs, in partnership with Malibu Village, takes place Aug. 20 at 5 p.m. at Malibu Bluffs Park. Look for performances by world-class musicians from the Malibu Coast Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, along with guest dancers from the New York City Ballet—all held against a backdrop featuring sweeping views of the mountains and coastline. BrownPaperTickets.com


Downtown Destination

With a sea of sophisticated offerings, Oceanwide Plaza joins the Downtown L.A. renaissance

After gaining prominence as a builder of high-end, luxury residential and mixed-use commercial properties in China, Beijing-based Oceanwide Holdings is expanding its global presence with its first flagship project in the U.S. Upon completion in early 2019, the $1 billion-plus Oceanwide Plaza development will offer more than 166,000 square feet of open-air shopping, dining and entertainment space, along with a trio of towers boasting the only Park Hyatt hotel on the West Coast and a collection of contemporary condos replete with a 2-acre private amenity park soaring 100 feet above street level.

“Investing in Los Angeles presented an incredibly distinct opportunity and rare chance to magnificently reshape Downtown Los Angeles,” says Stephanie Chang, Oceanwide Plaza’s marketing and PR director. “As a city that already attracts affluent homebuyers and visitors from all over the world, the intention was to build a development on par with the world’s finest mixed-use communities in an already highly desirable locale.”

Situated at 1101 S. Flower Street—adjacent to Staples Center and L.A. Live—Oceanwide Plaza is a collaboration between Oceanwide Holdings and global architecture, planning and design firm CallisonRTKL; New York- based interior design firm Studio Munge; and global landscape architecture, urban design and planning firm SWA Group. Expect sleek architecture enhanced by standout elements, such as a glass elevator sporting LED bands that can be seen from afar and retail paseos showcasing local plant species.

The entire project will encompass 1.5 million square feet on 4.6 acres. Included within the towers is the luxurious 184-room Park Hyatt Los Angeles hotel (with 34 suites) and The Residences at Oceanwide Plaza, consisting of 504 condos ranging from 2,735 square feet to 8,775 square feet with access to full concierge services, a private amenity deck and sky park. The towers will sit amid a massive galleria known as The Collection at Oceanwide Plaza, offering a curated assemblage of shops and restaurants, a 50-foot open-air galleria, and a third-floor deck overlooking Staples Center and L.A. Live. 

“The ultimate goal was to create a destination in Downtown Los Angeles that would broadly appeal to both locals and the international visitors the city is known for,” says Chang. “We feel our ability to entice a very diverse crowd of people to DTLA for a variety of reasons will, hopefully, attract even more people to expand their families and lifestyle. In addition, we plan to have a significant impact on economic growth for the city with the creation of approximately 9,000 jobs over the duration of the project.”





Best Brews

Revered Danish brewer Mikkeller opens a breezy new outpost in Downtown L.A., serving up some 50 drafts and an elevated bar menu

Written by Virginia Fay

Letting a summer afternoon fade into evening while sipping a perfectly brewed craft beer is a singular pleasure. At the new Downtown L.A. branch of Mikkeller Bar, the famed Danish brewer, visitors have upwards of 50 options to indulge as of the most recent late-June draft list.

Beers come from Mikkeller as well as other top-quality breweries worldwide, many of which are Californian. General Manager Will Sperling curates the beer list, constantly searching for the best brews. “Luckily for me, the [California] beer scene is incredible and I am often spoiled for choice,” he says. Right now, top choices include the “hazy, hoppy” New England-style IPA, barrel-aged beers, and spontaneously fermented Belgian ales, plus Sperling’s personal favorite, Tilquin Gueuze. “It’s a blend of traditional Belgian Lambics and it changed my whole perception of what beer could be,” adds Sperling.

Housed in an expansive converted warehouse, visitors sit at the bar’s long communal tables, the 35-foot white oak bar, or facing enormous windows to watch the Downtown scene. (For more intimate occasions, private seating is available.) The atmosphere is ideal for not only sampling top-notch beers, but also chef Enrique Cuevas’ fine-dining-cum-beer-hall menu with Danish roots showing in the smørrebrød, a Danish-style open-faced sandwich. Sample the sausages made and smoked in-house, or opt for lighter fare with a fresh beet salad or cheese and charcuterie board.

Suffice to say, with an authentic menu and a tap list fit to make a beer-lover weep, it’s Mikkeller’s time.






Gourmet Holiday

The summertime installment of dineL.A. presents more than 350 restaurants offering multi-course deals

Written by Wendy Bowman

Prepare to venture out on a “Summer Roadtrip” of the city’s diverse neighborhoods and eclectic cuisines July 14-28 via Summer dineL.A., complete with an official Roadtrip Guide designed by Emmy awardwinning artist Gary Baseman that highlights iconic L.A. landmarks and restaurants, as well as a partnership with the California Avocado Commission that showcases the fruit in creative dishes prepared by seven chef ambassadors, from Neal Fraser (Redbird) to Nick Erven (Erven).

“We have more than 350 restaurants participating this summer,” says Stella Yeo, assistant manager for Discover Los Angeles, producers of the bi-annual food event. “With so many restaurant options, diners can feast on the city’s wide range of cuisines, price points and diverse options. For example, a diner can enjoy an ethnic fusion of Indian meets gastropub at Badmaash for lunch and then opt for a fine-dining tasting menu at Providence for dinner.”

This summer, several newcomers such as Barrel & Ashes, miro, Westbound, Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, Odys + Penelope, Officine BRERA and Wolf will participate alongside fan favorites such as Lucques, Church & State, Connie and Ted’s, E.P. & L.P., and Gracias Madre. The event also features several newly opened restaurants—such as Rossoblu, Sweet Chick, Gratitude Beverly Hills and The Ponte Ristorante—offering diners the chance to savor these concepts for the first time.

“The best thing about the dineL.A. program is that diners can enjoy their favorite restaurants with menus at approachable price points,” says Yeo. Restaurants will offer specially priced menus for lunch (starting at $15) and dinner (starting at $29). Diners also can enjoy more savings through dineL.A. sponsor American Express just by signing up and using the card at all participating establishments to receive $5 off the final bill of $25 or more. In addition, the Exclusive Series presented by American Express gives diners an opportunity to enjoy 18 of L.A.’s most high-end restaurants (Providence, Melissé, Spago, The Arthur J, Otium, and Baltaire) at a reasonably priced $95-plus for dinner. Eat hearty!



Market Trends

One Million Fewer Homeowners Today Than A Decade Ago. Tear-Downs Account For 10% Of Housing Starts.

Highlights from the National Association of Realtors Sustainable Homeownership conference held recently at University of California, Berkeley, show that despite the addition of roughly 11.8 million households between 2006 and 2016, there are approximately 1 million fewer homeowners today than a decade ago. “The decline and stagnation in the homeownership rate is a trend that’s pointing in the wrong direction, and must be reversed given the many benefits of homeownership to individuals, communities, and the nation’s economy,” stated William E. Brown, president of NAR.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB,) tear-downs accounted for 10% of 2016 housing starts with an estimated 79,300 single-family homes removed last year. Tear-downs accounted for 10.2% of all single-family starts – that number is up sharply from 2015 when there were an estimated 55,000 tear-downs, a 7.7% share. The West led with 33,400 total tear-downs out of the U.S. total of 79,300. CoreLogic reported that U.S. homeowners with mortgages (which is roughly 63% of all homeowners) have seen their equity increase by a total of $766.4 billion dollars since the 1st quarter of 2016 – an increase of 11.2%. Today, nearly 9 million borrowers have regained equity since the height of the housing crisis in 2011. CoreLogic Chief Economist stated, “One million borrowers achieved positive equity over the last year, which means mortgage risk continues to steadily decline as a result of increasing home prices.”

In other housing news, the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development said permits for residential housing units in May were issued at a seasonal adjusted rate of 1,168,000, which was down 4.9% from the April rate of 1,229,000, and well below expectations of between 1.240 – 1.260 million. The negative report yielded the following statement from Lawrence Yun, the Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors, “Housing shortages look to intensify, and may well turn into a housing emergency if the discrepancy between housing demand and housing supply widens further. The falling housing starts and housing permits in May are befuddling given the lack of homes for sale and the quick pace of selling newly constructed homes. Meanwhile, job creations of a consistent 2 million a year will push up housing demand further. One thing that’s moving up is the housing costs for consumers: higher home prices and higher rents.”

Finally, the Federal Reserve just reported that Americans’ net worth climbed to $94.8 trillion in the first three months of 2017, an increase of 2.5% from the fourth quarter of 2016. For perspective, that’s up nearly $39 trillion from where wealth sat during the depths of the Great Recession in 2008. Collectively, Americans’ net worth in Q1 2017 is up more than 68% from that low, as consumers’ stock portfolio values gained $1.3 trillion and real estate values climbed $499 billion in the first three months of this year alone.

Austin-based theater chain Alamo Drafthouse set to open first DTLA location

Written by Alisha Henson

Bowing at The Bloc, the hub of DTLA’s burgeoning retail and entertainment center, Alamo Drafthouse will bring a unique cinematic experience to in-theater dining. Acquired by The Ratkovich Company with partners National Real Estate Advisors and Blue Vista Capital in 2013, The Bloc is in the final stages of its $180 million renovation. “Alamo Drafthouse is the perfect addition to The Bloc and Downtown LA’s rapidly growing food and entertainment scene. It brings a fresh and unique take on the traditional movie-watching experience, and will be a great complement to the other retailers at The Bloc. The Bloc is a gathering place for all Angelenos, making it the place to be in Downtown LA,” says Wayne Ratkovich, founder and president of The Ratkovich Company.






 Westside Market At A Glance

A Trip Back in Time

L.A.’s past meets a booming Downtown resurgence at the city’s newest urban retreat, Hotel Indigo

Written by Wendy Bowman | Photography Courtesy of Matt Walla

Visiting the new Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown is like cracking open a long-forgotten time capsule of the surrounding neighborhood, circa the late 1800s to the 1920s, complete with stylish decor that hints at the Fiesta de las Flores parade, pre-Hollywood glamour, underground tunnels and speakeasies, and starlets and directors of the time period, all paired with industrial touches that nod to the area’s current resurgence. The best part? It’s all captured in a design story told through the eyes of Anna May Wong—the first Chinese-American movie star, who resided in the area during its heyday—by interior designer Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA).
“Per Indigo’s brand standards, each hotel design must reflect the local area within a story drawn from a five-block proximity of the hotel’s location, making each project incredibly unique and deeply rooted in its locale,” says HBA Associate Richard Tennill. “Since Indigo Downtown Los Angeles is the largest Indigo in the world and a flagship project, HBA was able to research and thoroughly develop four different narratives from Downtown Los Angeles for this project.”
Situated at 899 Francisco St.—just one block from LA Live and Staples Center—the 18-story, Gensler-designed building features 350 rooms and suites priced from $229 per night. Expect some rooms to feature a mural over the bed that imagines what Anna May could have seen out of the window during her time, while other more masculine rooms have been created around “The Director” theme, using brown and maroon tones that recall the leather and woods found in an office. Three sophisticated suites depict Anna May’s rise to fame via luxurious finishes and art.

The historic imagery also is woven throughout the hotel’s public spaces, with the lobby featuring large murals of ghosted flowers over images of decorated carriages and crowds, along with a hat wall representing what young starlet Anna May might have looked down on from her room as she watched men walking to work. A custom chandelier composed of 30 large spokes hangs above the reception desk and illuminates a free-standing, floral-decorated “penny-farthing” bike set on display, while the elevators have three distinct looks that each represent the era of inspiration.
Even the hotel’s food and beverage programs reflect the culture and history of L.A., from the classics of the Golden Age of Hollywood to the modern trends of today’s Downtown culinary scene. “Our city and neighborhoods are truly a melting pot, and represent one of the most culturally dynamic culinary scenes in the world,” says Bruce Curry, Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown’s director of sales and marketing. “Our menus were designed to reflect that diversity, concentrating on local flavors and neighborhood favorites.”

Look for 18 Social, the hotel’s top-floor cocktail lounge, to include a wide selection of locally brewed drafts, some of California’s finest wines and an assortment of cocktails ranging from the FDR martini—created by the former president to celebrate the end of Prohibition—to a locally created twist on the Moscow Mule, the Pineapple Mule. Meanwhile, Metropole Bar + Kitchen, the hotel’s ground-floor restaurant, showcases menus using local ingredients and featuring everything from small bites such as tuna poke tacos to locally-inspired favorites such as the French dip. Upscale fine-dining options include honey miso baked wild sea bass and duck confit risotto with foie gras foam.
One of two new InterContinental Hotels Group properties hitting the L.A. market in 2017, Hotel Indigo debuted at the end of March, with the 73-story InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown set to open this summer, adjacent to the Financial District. “Both hotels are managed by IHG, which is bringing its first hotels back to DTLA in more than 20 years,” says Curry. “We are not only bringing flagship, new-build iconic hotel properties to the market, we are also bringing choice, as some many of the downtown hotels are represented by a single brand. This is great for travelers, and also great for the city.”


An Ode To The Red And Blue

Expect much more than an Italian restaurant at DTLA’s newly opened Rossoblu

Written by Wendy Bowman | Photography Courtesy of Rossoblu and Frank Wonho Lee

When it came time for Steve Samson to choose a moniker for his and wife Dina’s new Northern Italian restaurant, he looked to his Bolognese heritage, settling on a name that not only channels a mixture of red and blue but carries a lot of personal meaning as well. While Rossoblu is recognized as Bologna’s—and Steve’s favorite—soccer team, its hues also are apparent in the beloved Lambrusco wine of Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, and signify a meeting of L.A.’s blue skies and Bologna’s red rooftops.

“I’m so thrilled to be cooking the food of my mother and grandmother… As the matriarchs of my family, they really fostered my love of, and taught me to make, dishes such as tortellini in brodo, tagliatelle al ragu, milk-braised pork and countless others.”

“Rossoblu is a home away from home,” says chef/owner Steve Samson, who also is behind the city’s award-winning Sotto restaurant. “We want to make our guests feel comfortable, while also transporting them out of L.A. with soulful Italian cooking in a unique space.”

Situated at 1124 San Julian St.— on the border between DTLA’s Fashion and Wholesale districts—Rossoblu is the first eatery to debut at City Market South, a 75,000-square-foot dining, retail and office space comprised of vintage, brick and bow truss warehouses and open-plan concrete structures on 2.5 acres at the southern end of the city’s oldest wholesale produce market. Given its history, Samson tapped designers Marwan and Mies Al Sayed and J.P. Guiseppi to give the establishment a more modern feel while maintaining its raw character. Expect an elegant interior sporting long banquettes with printed lace details that remind Samson of his grandmother, along with tables made to be pushed together to bolster a sense of community, and an edgy, large-scale mural by CYRCLE.

Outside, a piazza-esque dining space mirrors the spirit of Bolognese festivals. As for the culinary offerings, guests will find an extensive menu focused on the food of Bologna and its Emilia-Romagna region, including fresh sausages and aged salumi (cold cuts), and pastas made in-house al matterello (meaning by hand with a large, traditional rolling pin). Meanwhile, Bar Director Brynn Smith has compiled a menu of sumptuous Italian spirits, and Wine Directors Jeremy Parzen and Christine Veys have curated an excellent selection of Italian and California wines, including 14 expressions of Lambrusco from Sorbara to Parma and beyond.

“I’m so thrilled to be cooking the food of my mother and grandmother, having spent numerous summers there and in the surrounding region of Emilia Romagna,” says Samson. “As the matriarchs of my family, they really fostered my love of, and taught me to make, dishes such as tortellini in brodo, tagliatelle al ragu, milk-braised pork and countless others. This is the same food that I fell in love with growing up and I love the fact that I am bringing that to my hometown of Los Angeles.”






Raising the Steaks

BOA gives a classic concept an au courant twist

Written by Constance Dunn | Photography Courtesy of Boa Steakhouse

It was the early 2000s, and the vision of the classic steakhouse, with its leather booths, scotch and sirloin, was due for an update. Innovative Dining Group, creators of Sushi Roku, Katana and other of-the-moment eateries, was up to the task.

orrowing from its design and nightclub roots, IDG created BOA Steakhouse, mixing low-key glitz with minimalism on the design side, and populating the menu with selections like organic beef and American Wagyu, plus a prodigious wine list. They launched BOA first on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, then in Santa Monica and, most recently, in Abu Dhabi. BOA’s Santa Monica location remains a great draw for those seeking glamour and top-quality steak, but feel like staying close to the coast.

Situated on the palm tree and sunset corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Ocean Avenue, BOA continues to evolve under Executive Chef Michael Neflas with more seasonality (current sides include wood-smoked baby yams, corn with chipotle-lime sauce, and local farmers’ market vegetables), and an innovative list of rubs and sauces, from black truffle butter and bacon jam to the more traditional béarnaise and peppercorn. “Our peppercorn is one of my favorites,” says Neflas, who joined BOA in 2014 after time at Twin Palms in Pasadena and Drago Centro in DTLA. “It’s a very classic au poivre-style sauce.”

Then there’s the steak. “We’re very classic,” says Neflas of the beef lineup. “All of our steaks are 21-day aged.” An exception is the New York Strip, aged for 40 days. “So there’s a lot of flavor already built into the steaks.” Meaning one can eschew the sauces and rubs, or decide after taking a bite or two. Menu innovation comes with listing new variations, from an organic petite filet to what Neflas calls “large format steaks,” including a popular 32-ounce Tomahawk meant for sharing. “I jokingly tell people that at BOA Steakhouse we don’t do anything small.”

BOA menu staples include the Caesar Salad, which is prepared tableside, and newer entrées like the thyme-smoked beef carpaccio appetizer with truffle aioli, served decorously underneath a smoky dome lid. Note: If you’re not up for red meat, seafood is plentiful on BOA’s menu, from classics like whole Maine lobster, Alaskan King Crab and Skuna Bay salmon to specialties like the Seafood Platter Balboa—a two-tiered, iced display of oysters, crab legs and other catches of the day.

For dessert, the house s’mores are a hit, though BOA has updated the traditional recipe. Served as a slice of chocolate cake along with toasted marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate ice cream, the restaurant’s variation even includes a dietary nod to the times. “It’s 100-percent gluten-free,” says Neflas.

BOA Santa Monica also serves lunch during the week and has a small bar and lounge area with a weekday happy hour from 5-7 p.m. If you’re looking for a more expansive bar scene, BOA’s Sunset location has a dedicated lounge called The Club Room.



Load More
  • 1
  • 2