In Part I of our wrap up on the year that was, we take a look at the downtown loft movement that has been gnawing on the brains of our contributors. What says you, lofts are hip and cool? Or lofts are for losers. There's no in-between so decide now, fools. We posed the question to our "housing market guru" and here's what he had to say:
"Lofts, lofts, lofts... Starting downtown, but sort of always happening in Venice, this trend exploded and expanded to Hollywood/West Hollywood which leads to some crucial questions and concerns. It FELT (to me and my group of peers at least) that the downtown loft boom was driven more by “its the last place I can afford to buy since I missed out on getting a house and lofts are ‘cooler’ than condos” than a real desire to LIVE downtown. Thus, money/economic reality, not the intrinsic quality of life of downtown drove sales. Which means, now that lofts can cost $700,000 downtown, do I still want to go? Downtown does not have an Abbott Kinney (established) or a Hollywood Blvd/Sunset (getting established) as a draw. Four businessman's places to eat, two hipster bars and the Standard do not a draw make. Now that I can buy lofts in Hollywood for the same price (and there were not even any to buy at any price, really before) do I want to go downtown? And, the biggest risk of all, there is no shortage of space downtown to convert, so they have to be VERY careful with the supply/demand mix. Unlike Malibu or the Hollywood Hills where they simply “just really can’t make much more housing,” there are millions of feet of rental/commercial/residential rentals to turn into condos. For all those reasons, I’m the contrarian, and bearish on downtown lofts. As for Venice, there has always been the draw and the desire, so lofts there will follow the market as a whole. Hollywood? Hell, Brad Korzan’s building on Hollywood and Vine looks pretty good to me for the price. Walk to the Hungry Cat, Arclight, Spider Club? Nice."
Tomorrow, we look at residential taking over Hollywood. And maybe some other stuff. Actually, we just got off a plane so we have no idea what time it is or where we are. (Picture of Santa Fe Lofts via ShainLa)