Living La Vida Local

But the main bonus, he said, was the low up-front cost, which has traditionally been a key barrier to wider adoption of solar systems by many homeowners. 

Such power-purchase agreements are fast becoming the model of choice for large-scale commercial solar systems. But with Sun Run’s entry into the residential market – the sights of investor-owned solar power systems are now centered on American homeowners’ rooftops as well. Homeowners can a arrange  financing to purchase their own solar system in a way  that avoids tens of thousands of dollars in up-front  costs, with  Sun Run making sure solar panels are working to maximum  efficiency and replacing any worn-out parts.  

If the home is sold, Sun Run will offer to remove the system if that’s what the new owner wants.  Nat Kreamer, President of Sun Run, says he expects most will choose to continue the contract or take over the system at a discounted buyout cost, since market studies show most people consider home solar systems a valuable asset

 Michele Joyce, REC Solar  

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The letter from the City titled - NOTICE OF PROPOSED WATER AND WASTEWATER RATE INCREASES -  must have made you really happy when you got it in the mail….but those in the know, saw this coming months ago…though it went public  in the spring

With deep cuts in water deliveries ordered this year to help protect a threatened fish species, the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) said impacts are beginning to ripple across the state and will likely continue until action is taken to improve the sustainability of the state’s water supply system.

“For the first time in a long time, California is losing income and jobs because our water supply system is in crisis,” ACWA Executive Director Timothy Quinn said. “Every day that goes by without a solution is another day of environmental deterioration and lost water supply.”  ACWA member agencies report that court-ordered restrictions on water deliveries through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta are creating drought-like conditions despite the fact that snowpack levels were near normal in February 2008. Runoff from the mountain snowpack is expected to be below average due to dry soil conditions and warm temperatures that evaporated some of the water content in March.  

Agencies stand to receive just 35 percent of their requested water deliveries from the State Water Project (SWP), forcing many to dip into dry-year reserves and seek out expensive alternative supply sources where possible. In some cases, reserves already are low following a string of dry years and a 10-day shutdown of the SWP pumps last summer to protect the Delta smelt.
This has impacted Southern California, causing the state’s largest water wholesaler, our local Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, to propose increased water rates by 14 percent next year due in part to the cost of acquiring water to off-set reduced SWP supplies.

This rate increases will affect millions of households in Southern California.

Knowing this was coming down, in March, Metropolitan Water District’s Board of Directors approved a $1.98 billion spending plan for 2008-09 in order to maintain reliable imported water supplies for more than 18 million Southern Californians.
The board also approved a 9.8 percent increase in the district’s base wholesale water rate as well as a special surcharge to purchase additional supplies. Those supplies are needed to help compensate for a loss of up to 30 percent of the Southland’s supplies from Northern California because of court-imposed pumping restrictions due to endangered species…like the Delta smelt.
In response to our growing water shortage in Southern California, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced plans to recycle Los Angeles’ sewage water to replenish drinking water qualifiers.

 Faced with a persistent drought and the threat of tighter water supplies, the Los Angeles plan is to use heavily cleansed sewage to increase drinking water supplies, joining a growing number of cities considering similar measures.  

Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, who opposed such a plan a decade ago over safety concerns, announced the proposal as part of a package of initiatives to put the city, the nation’s second largest, on a stricter water budget. The other plans include increasing fines for watering lawns during restricted times, tapping into and cleaning more groundwater, and encouraging businesses and residents to use more efficient sprinklers and plumbing fixtures.

The move comes as California braces for the possibility of the most severe water shortages in decades.  
More info @

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Subject: Request for more information

Q: I work for Plains All American Pipeline, owner of miles of pipeline in California. An existing lease with a major entity will be expiring soon (lease amount is set every 5 years) and they have set the new lease amount. It is a considerable increase. This amount is supposedly based on the trend of real estate prices and rent prices over the last five years. The land leased is considered to be vacant industrial land. PAAP wants some supporting data to justify the increase in yearly lease payments for the next five years. Is industrial land in the LA area continuing to show healthy increases in price and rent?

I thought that perhaps you may be able to provide some data as to what has happened in the industrial land market over the past five years. A simple graph would be great. Also, are there indications of what that market will do for the next five years?

I would appreciate any information you could provide in this matter.

Al Super
Representing Plains All American Pipeline

A: Hi! Al…

We would love be able to accommodate you, but was unable to find an industrial sales trend chart for the past five years.

As far as where the market has come, and where will go, there is a consistently growing demand for industrial zoned properties and an ever-decreasing amount of land (down zoning).

As long as Long Beach + San Pedro continue to be two of the leading ports in the country, demand will stay strong.

I hope this is helpful.

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Subject: Guest Post for SoCal Industrial Real Estate Blog

Q: I'm interested in writing a guest article on your site in order to increase my writing profile. I'm not sure what the process is for submitting an article for your review or if you have certain requirements, but if you're at all interested I'd appreciate you getting back to me, and I can send you an article for you to consider for publication.
I'm planning on writing something Real Estate/Home/Home Improvement/Mortgage related, but if you have something specific in mind just let me know. All I'd ask in return is a by-line with a link pointing back to my site at the bottom of the article.
Again, if you're interested, let me know. Below are a couple of samples of recent feature articles I've written:
Both articles were widely read and received numerous links from other bloggers.

Thanks for your time and I am looking forward to your reply.

Sarah Scrafford


A: Hi! Sarah,

Yes, it would be great if you would contribute!
is a great idea. And it would be great to reprint


Here are a few articles that are somewhat like what you were talking about…

It would be great if you’d contribute as long as the ideas are relevant. Home improvement + mortgage won’t work for any of the commercial property blogs

And would need to be customized to local building ordinances for

An article on post subprime loans would be great as would an overview of different green ordinances around the country – a built out version of –

Yes, it would be great if you would contribute!


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Since the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, Santa Monica’s landmark Mayfair Theatre has piqued the interested of many a real estate developer. All along, the building’s owner, Karl Schober and Santa Monica’s Architectural Review Board have been negotiating the future.

“The place was trashed by the earthquake,” said Karl Schober, who owns the building. “The guts of the Theatre collapsed.”

After years of negotiation the ARB and Schober have finally agreed on a design -  what remains of the old structure will become the façade of a new 34-unit apartment building with retail on the ground floor, adjacent to the hugely popular Third Street Promenade.

Of the apartments, 60 percent will be one-bedroom units and 40 percent will have two bedrooms. Of the two-bedroom apartments, three will be set aside for very low-income tenants, said architect David Forbes Hibbert.

“We have tried to make a simple structure ... so as not to overshadow the existing building,” Hibbert stated.

Legend had it that Santa Monica’s Majestic Theatre, originally built in 1911, was the oldest legitimate Theatre operating in Los Angeles. Designed by Henry Hollwedel the Churrigeuresco-style building at 212-216 Santa Monica Blvd. The Roccoco structure was dessimated in the Northridge earthquake, and has remained under scaffolding for the past 14 years.  

When it was known as the Majestic, the Theatre was one of Los Angeles County’s premier opera houses. When the Majestic became the Mayfair Theatre, it was a single-screen Theatre that seated 602.

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Quick note:  The proposed development is imminent…The planned development includes 38 apartment units averaging 1000 SF and 9690 SF of ground floor retail.  The apartments are roughly half one-bedrooms and half two-bedrooms.  I would guess profit on the apartments at maybe $125 to $150k each.  The retail, I am not as sure about but I could see profit of maybe 475 to $100/SF.  That would put an overall land value at around $6.7 million.  To get a better value, you would run some hypothetical discounted cash flows but for right now, this is a ball park figure.


My name is Gary Spivack.  I am Co-President of Right Arm Entertainment.  Please take a moment to look at our website at ---this will give you a general idea of what we do at Right Arm.
I'm a local boy, Jodi.  Raised on the Westside and used to go to the Mayfair quite often.  My heart and the spirit of our company are in the right place.  We are very interested in meeting with you and discussing the future (if any) of the Mayfair.
Best regards,
Gary Spivack

We spoke a week or two ago about the Mayfair Music Hall and my interest in possibly finding a legitimate buyer and resident owner for the property that is interested in maintaining the site as a theatre and restoring the erstwhile Majestic to its former glory.  I am hoping that the status of the theatre has not dramatically changed since we have spoken and that a window of opportunity may still exist before this great landmark is demolished.  Unfortunately, preserving the facade is not an adequate solution for saving a structure, I am sure you will agree.  And yet, I understand and respect that property owners have the right to operate within legal limits of their power to tear down and rebuild even landmark sites.  My interest is in attempting to find a solution that is a win-win for everyone concerned.  The owners will get a good value for their property and could use those assets to build elsewhere without having to conform to strict landmarks codes.  The people of Santa Monica will win because they are able to see one of their beloved architectural treasures preserved according to its original design, and will be able to enjoy wonderful cinematic and theatrical events there once again.  And, lastly, my organization will win because we will find an appropriate home for our equally treasured and threatened archives. 

I grew up going to see movies and then musicals at this theatre, and knowing its history, feel very connected to it as I am sure many others in the area do.  To allow it to be torn down without granting the people of Santa Monica a voice to hear reasonable alternatives would be a shame at the very least.  It is my goal to provide those who would like to see the theatre preserved an opportunity to hear our alternative and study its feasibility.  We will come with our own funding, but we need to know what the time constraints are if we are to act at all.  Of course, I fear that it is too late to do anything, but then again, until the bulldozers pull up, I will have hope that it is not too late. 

I would be most appreciative to know how I might learn about the schedule of events with respect to the City Council meetings regarding the property.  Perhaps you can help me or direct me to someone who knows more about the situation.  I understand that you are quite close to the proceedings, and I want to thank you for your assistance and also for you wonderful website.  I wonder if there is any public effort to save the theatre.  Any information at all would be helpful.

Warmest regards,

Eric Davis
Associate Director
The Institute of the American Musical, Inc.



19. Sovereign Apartments/Hotel, 1928


Q: I was looking for information on the Sovereign Hotel and found your landmark info.  I was thinking about moving in there as they rent the rooms out now.  Do you think it would be a good place to live?  I do love the building and the grounds.

A: Had a chance to do some homework regarding the Sovereign. Red-tagged for damage in the 1993 earthquake, the Sovereign was purchased by the SOVEREIGN RESTORATION PARTNERS in 1994. It's is an apartment building on long term lease.

The Sovereign has a very fine reputation, and many residents describe living there as a
“memorable experience.”


Q: We’d like to live by the Sovereign Hotel, can you help us?

B Raives

A: Absolutely, We can always make time for you, your friends and your family when it comes to your real estate needs.