The Real Deal New York

LA releases details of 2024 Olympics bid, Pot legalization leads to industrial space boom in Denver...and more

Snapshots of real estate news from around the U.S.
By Sasha von Oldershausen | June 01, 2014 07:00AM
Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas


The emergence of a legal marijuana industry in Colorado has paved the way for a burgeoning real estate market in cities like Denver, where companies are rushing to snatch up industrial buildings for their pot-growing operations. Denver is in one of the only counties in the state that allows its manufacturing buildings to be used for marijuana cultivation, which has led to a spike in real estate prices there. “Some of these buildings on a good day are worth $60 or $70 a square foot and we are getting a $20 to $30 premium,” Aaron Valdez, a broker for Cassidy Turley, told Bloomberg News. The marijuana market has been so profitable – with growers reportedly paying $450 to $1,100 a pound to grow, and selling at retail for $11,000 a pound – that growers have reportedly had no trouble paying the extra rent. Sales of marijuana for recreational use started in the state on Jan. 1.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles released details of its bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, which positions a revamped Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Exposition Park at the center of the plan. LA’s Exposition Park – just south of the University of Southern California’s main campus – would provide the site for the proposed Olympic Park. And the Coliseum, which was also the focal point of the 1932 and 1984 Olympics, would be renovated into an 80,000-capacity “world-class athletics facility,” reported Inside the Games, a website devoted to Olympics news. Additionally, a proposed 20,000-seat soccer stadium would host the aquatic events, while LA Live, home of the Staples Center, would be the site of gymnastics and handball. Other venues included in the plan are the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, to be utilized for taekwondo, and the Griffith Observatory, for some cycling events. Los Angeles is one of seven cities – including Boston, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington D.C. – vying for the American bid.


Portland, Ore., is downsizing. The Rose City has welcomed “accessory dwelling units” – houses that range in size from approximately 200 to 800 square feet – and the tiny houses have taken Portland by storm. Nearly 25 percent of single-dwelling development permit applications in the city are for A.D.U.’s, according to KOIN News, citing the city Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Houses typically cost between $40,000 and $120,000 to build before permits, real estate appraiser Taylor Watkins told the television station. And many who invest in the tiny homes build them alongside their own houses – as accessories – for visiting family members to stay in, or to rent, the New York Times reported. Portland has changed its laws to accommodate the buildings, and offers financial incentives by waiving new development fees. Unlike many other cities, owners are not required by law to live on site, which limits the construction of tiny homes elsewhere.


Charles Schwab is considering moving its headquarters out of San Francisco, and Dallas-area real estate developers and brokers say the financial services giant is scoping out North Texas. The discount brokerage already has a large office center in suburban Austin. While company officials have previously remarked that Texas is on their list of potential locations, a spokesperson for the firm said no decision was yet made. Schwab said late last year it will likely move roughly 2,700 employees from the Bay Area to either Denver or Texas, citing lower operational costs and taxes, reported. Schwab could join a list of companies from California, Illinois and New York making the move to Texas for similar reasons. Most notably, in April, Toyota Motor Corp. said it would shift its Southern California headquarters to Plano in North Texas, along with about 3,000 jobs.

New Mexico

Actress Shirley MacLaine listed her 7,450-acre Plaza Blanca Ranch retreat in Abiquiú, New Mexico for $18 million. The “Terms of Endearment” Oscar winner has owned the 9,000-square-foot, nine-bedroom house for 20 years. The property also features a horse barn, yurt, guesthouse, green house, a wind generator, swimming pool and two ponds.

Los Angeles

Too-many-to-count Oscar winning actress Meryl Streep listed her 3,500-square-foot Los Angeles estate for $6.75 million. Streep purchased the four-bedroom, four-bath for $4.5 million just a year ago. The house, built in 1954, features interiors designed by Xorin Balbes, and a pool.

Hollywood Hills

Actor Zac Efron sold his 2,424-square-foot Hollywood Hills pad for $2.78 million. The “Neighbors” star listed the two-bedroom, three-bathroom house for $2.85 million in March. He purchased the home, which features glass walls and an infinity pool, for $2.35 million in December 2008.