National market report

Commercial and residential real estate news briefs from around the U.S.
By Zachary Kussin | November 03, 2012 07:00AM

A rendering of Farmers Field and the surrounding area in Los Angeles

Los Angeles

Last month, the Los Angeles city council unanimously approved plans for Farmers Field, a proposed $1.5 billion football stadium downtown, ESPN reported. The 78,000-square-foot stadium will be built by Anschutz Entertainment Group, the entity that owns the Los Angeles Kings hockey team, and will be connected to the existing Los Angeles Convention Center, which would be modernized under the plan. The project cannot break ground, however, until AEG secures an NFL football team to take up residence at the stadium. L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at a ceremonial signing of the agreement last month that the new stadium would help revitalize downtown L.A., according to the Los Angeles Times. “This is not just about football,’’ the mayor said. “People will come to downtown from every part of the city.” AEG said it is on track to announce a team by March, though the project faces a lawsuit filed by antipoverty activists who want AEG to contribute $60 million for affordable housing.


Real estate mogul Donald Trump has purchased the final piece of Patricia Kluge’s Charlottesville estate, paying $6.5 million for a 23,000-square-foot mansion, the Washington Post reported. Kluge, third wife of the late media mogul John Kluge, had put the 45-room home on the market for $100 million three years ago. The Donald, who already owned Kluge’s vineyard and the bulk of the land around the mansion, bought the house after negotiating with Bank of America, which took ownership of the property after Kluge defaulted on her loans. “The banks had [the estate] on the books for hundreds of millions of dollars,” Eric Trump, Donald Trump’s son, told the Post. “We were able to reassemble it for a small fraction of that.” The mansion, constructed by the Kluges in the 1980s, has eight bedrooms and 13 bathrooms, as well as a private chapel and a helicopter landing pad. Before defaulting on her loans, Patricia Kluge turned the land into a vineyard and winery. The Trumps have begun renovating the winery, and are considering several options for the estate, including converting it into a golf course, turning the mansion into an inn or even flipping the property.


Completed foreclosures are declining nationwide, according to data released last month by CoreLogic, but Florida remains the state hardest hit by the housing crisis. In the year ending in August, there were some 92,000 completed foreclosures in Florida, according to CoreLogic. That accounts for some 11 percent of all mortgaged homes in the state. Still, Florida’s overall foreclosure inventory percentage declined 1.1 percent from the same time last year. In the Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater area, there were 13,094 completed foreclosures in the year ending in August. That accounts for 11.3 percent of all homes with a mortgage, a slight decline from last year. The Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford area saw 11,463 houses, or 11.1 percent of all mortgaged homes, in the foreclosure inventory. According to the report, there were 57,000 completed foreclosures across the U.S. in August of this year, down from 58,000 in July and 75,000 in August of 2011. Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been approximately 3.8 million completed foreclosures across the country. Some 1.3 million homes, or 3.2 percent of all homes with a mortgage, were in the national foreclosure inventory as of August of this year. That’s down from 1.4 million, or 3.4 percent, in August of last year.


A new 60-story rental tower will soon rise at 111 West Wacker Drive in the Loop neighborhood of Chicago, the Wall Street Journal reported. With a $115 million construction loan from Bank of America and U.S. Bank, the Related Companies will soon resume construction on a half-built tower that has stood incomplete for four years. The project, originally developed by Ivan Dvorak, was slated to become a 90-story hotel and condominium, but stalled during the recession. A Related distressed fund paid $5 million in cash last year for a controlling stake in the project, though Dvorak retains an interest in the project. The building will have a total of 504 units, the Chicago Tribune reported, and Related said it aims to get monthly rents above $3 per square foot at the building. The property could face some stiff competition from other projects, however, with 1,000 new units of housing slated to debut in the Loop in 2013, the Journal said. That’s up from 338 new units this year.

Holmby Hills

The W. Howard Lester estate

The estate of the late W. Howard Lester, the chairman and CEO of Williams-Sonoma, has listed his 20,000-square-foot home in the Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles for $30 million, the Wall Street Journal reported. The home, which sits on 1.4 acres, has seven bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, a home theater, a wine cellar and a billiards room. The property also has a guest house, waterfall and fountains. Lester and his wife purchased the home in 2004 for $17.5 million. Mauricio Umansky, founder and CEO of the brokerage the Agency, has the listing.

Sheryl Crow


Musician Sheryl Crow listed her 11-acre Hollywood Hills estate for $15.95 million, TMZ reported. The property includes a 5,437-square-foot Spanish Revival main house, as well as another three-bedroom house and a 1,334-square-foot cottage. The estate also has an infinity pool, hiking trails and a campsite. The Real Estalker reported that Crow purchased the homes in two separate transactions in 1998, buying the main house for $1.8 million and purchasing the rest a few months later for $3.3 million.



Duluth, Ga.

A replica of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion

A replica of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion in Duluth, Ga., is listed on eBay for $873,000, the Daily Mail reported last month. The four-story, 10,000-square-foot property was built by Disney contractor Mark Hurt. Along with seven bedrooms and six bathrooms, the house has a “haunted mirror” in which a ghost appears while music plays and lights flicker. There’s also a two-story library with a gas-burning fireplace, a roof deck, a second-floor terrace and an elevator.