Los Angeles report

A California bill promises developers some reprieve, downtown L.A. landlords offer free rent, and Playboy Mansion sells for $100M

Eighth & Grand apartment complex
Eighth & Grand apartment complex

Developers could get litigation break

The California Assembly has passed a bill that would grant large developments some reprieve from lengthy environmental litigation. It would require that any environmental lawsuit filed against projects worth more than $100 million be resolved within nine months. To qualify for the reprieve, projects would have to create a certain number of high-paying jobs and meet the state’s clean energy standards.

The measure is now headed to the Senate. If it passes, projects like Harridge Development’s $1 billion redevelopment of the Crossroads of the World complex in Hollywood would be eligible, as would Related California’s hotel and residential development at Yucca Street and Argyle Avenue, the redevelopment of Barlow Respiratory Hospital near Dodger Stadium and a $1 billion park between Hollywood and Santa Monica Boulevards.

Proponents of the law say the bill would expedite the construction of some major projects by up to three years.

Downtown L.A. landlords offer free rent

Who said there’s no such thing as free rent?

Because of the influx of new units to Downtown Los Angeles, landlords are competing to woo tenants with concessions such as a month of free rent or a year of free parking. At Carmel Partners’ Eighth & Grand apartments, for instance, residents can get up to five weeks of free rent and 12 months of free parking. Prospective tenants can also get a month of free rent at the newly opened Hanover Olympic apartments on Olive Street and Sares-Regis Group’s 240-unit Wakaba LA in Little Tokyo.

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The reason comes down to supply and demand. Over 3,700 new apartments became available in the past 18 months alone, 6,260 are under construction and thousands more are in the pipeline. This puts Downtown L.A. at risk of becoming oversupplied, according to a CoStar report. Developers have been so successful with pushing projects because of Downtown L.A.’s high-density zoning accessibility and its pro-development community. Downtown is relatively still young as a residential market. More than 500,000 people visit the area on any weekday, but there are currently only 36,000 units and 61,600 residents.

Hugh Hefner and Playboy Mansion

Hugh Hefner and Playboy Mansion

Playboy Mansion sells for $100M

The much-buzzed-about deal for the Playboy Mansion has finally closed for $100 million, according to the buyer, Twinkie heir Daren Metropoulos. The 20,000-square-foot mansion now holds the title as the priciest sale in Los Angeles history.

The 90-year-old Hefner, America’s original playboy, will remain in his pleasure palace until his death as part of the terms of the deal. He will pay $1 million every year in rent and other expenses, according to a source close to the deal. Metropoulos, the 33-year-old son of Hostess investor C. Dean Metropoulos, already owns the house next door. He plans to combine the two estates into one massive
7.3-acre compound once Hefner dies. The sale includes all the statues and arcade games on the property.

“I feel fortunate and privileged to now own a one-of-a-kind piece of history and art,” Metropoulos said in a statement. “I look forward to eventually rejoining the two estates and enjoying this beautiful property as my private residence for years to come.” The news of the closing came after speculation that Metropoulos was backing out of the deal.