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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Broker spearheads effort to change name of Hollywood Hills street — to help sell a property

"Pinto place" just didn't sound pricey enough
By Natalie Hoberman | September 01, 2017 09:00AM

Jason Oppenheim, the changed sign at Hummingbird Place, a pinto bird (photo by Stephen J. Jones) and a hummingbird

We’ll see how this changes the pecking order.

After a neighborhood effort spearheaded by residential broker Jason Oppenheim, the City of Los Angeles approved a plan Wednesday to change the name of one of the prestigious Bird Streets in the Hollywood Hills.

“Pinto Place,” which Oppenheim deemed an ugly name, has gone the way of the dodo. The block has become “Hummingbird Place.”

Oppenheim began fighting for the change once his brokerage, Oppenheim Group, sold a home on the street in May 2016 for $4.5 million. But it picked up steam when the buyer of the property decided to sell it as a teardown — listing it with Oppenheim as a 19,358-square-foot developable lot at 8818 Pinto Place for $6 million on July 11.

Oppenheim, who also owns a home on the street, said he expects an estate worth upwards of $20 million to be built in its place. Renderings by architect Dan Brunn are included in the listing materials, and suggest a two-story (although only one story above ground), five-bedroom, five-bath home featuring a movie theater, library, gym and bar.

The entire process of changing the name of the street involved petition letters and lawyers. It took about a year and several thousand dollars, spent mostly by Oppenheim’s client, the homeseller. After approving the change this week, the city promptly changed the street signs.

Renderings of what could be built at 8818 Humingbird Way, formerly 8818 Pinto Place (Dan Brunn)

“[The street was] named after an obscure bird, more synonymous with a bean or an exploding car, and now it’s clearly a more desirable bird name,” Oppenheim told The Real Deal, explaining that the new name would help sell the home.

The broker said he expects the long-term benefits of having a more recognizable street name will outweigh the short-term annoyances that stem from having a new street name. Other Pinto Place residents, he said, were on board.

“I think that when we’re trying to sell a $21 million property it’s certainly beneficial to have a beautiful street name, so I think any developer that’s going to be developing this is going to be happy,” Oppenheim said.