The New York Times's obsession with LA land use marches on--today they consider the weirdo notion of the Los Angeles condo (It calls them "apartments."). Most of the story focuses on The Century in Century City, which opened in 2010 and is most famous as the post-Manor home of Candy Spelling (She bought her penthouse before the building was even finished, originally agreeing to pay $47 million, but eventually settling on $35 million. Her two floors are still being renovated; meanwhile, she's said to be staying at The Carlyle.). First let's get the obligatory digs out of the way: "While the idea of living in a condo in a sprawling city like Los Angeles is still tough to imagine for many who prefer more space, the area's growing congestion is slowly shifting tastes." Now, moving on to the hard numbers and ridiculous anecdotes of the (mostly) Westside condo scene:
-- About 30% of the 140 units at The Century have sold so far, but a VP for sales at developer Related assures the paper "we have great momentum this year."
-- Would someone please eat the rich? According to the Related VP, "Every [buyer at The Century] so far has at least two other homes."
-- Chef Nobu Matsuhisa bought a furnished unit at The Century, "but he still spends most of his time in his Beverly Hills home."
-- In the course of his reporting, the writer shared an elevator at The Century with "an elderly couple who live in a 25,000-square-foot home in Bel Air." It was their twelfth visit to the building.
-- The gently curving walls at The Century may be hurting sales: "brokers say has put off some prospective buyers who are confused about how to decorate."
-- Things are a little better at The Montage's 20 condos in Beverly Hills, which back in 2010, after two years of sales, had just one lone tenant. Today 14 of the units have sold. The penthouse, which was listed at $12.5 million, sold well above ask last year for $13.8 million.
-- Real estate is cheaper in LA than it is in Manhattan!: "The most expensive condos are still a bargain compared with places in Manhattan. [Paul Habibi, a lecturer in real estate at UCLA's Anderson Graduate School of Management] estimates there are fewer than 1,000 individual condos in Los Angeles selling for north of $1,000 a square foot, clustered in only a half-dozen developments, mostly in Century City and Beverly Hills, and along Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica."
-- Poor Ritz-Carlton: "the Ritz-Carlton Residences at LA Live, which started sales in 2007, has sold about 25 percent of its 224 apartments and is barely cracking the $1,000-a-square-foot level."
-- Spelling "has meticulously overseen the construction of the two-floor penthouse, helping to choose 'every stone' that goes into the residence." Her unit includes a small indoor pool and "an enclosed room where she can grow flowers."
· Condo Dreams in a Mansion Town [NYT]