April 2, 2014 on 7:57 am | In Green Building, Green Cities, Reasons to Love L.A., Recycling, Solutions, Trends, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

by Jodi Summers

You know the story, the greenest building is the one already built. So you must be a big fan of  those fabulous loft conversions in downtown Los Angeles – old office buildings and factories that have been renovated into apartments and condos. That’s what’s happening with a lot of that extra office space…that’s in cool buildings.

In 2012, nationwide, office stock shrunk in a third of the 54 top U.S. markets. Buildings worth saving are being converted, while lesser buildings are being demolished. The result is that the net inventory has dropped by about 21.6 million square feet > or 0.3% of inventory. In Los Angeles, available office space has declined by -16.2% according to Loopnet.

Over the next four quarters, approximately 11 of the top 54 U.S. metros and almost half of the 1,400 submarkets in those metros will have a net loss of inventory.

Conversion to residential usage is the most prominent reason that an office building is removed from inventory. Condo and apartment conversions comprise 34% of the lost office space, according to CoStar. Additionally another 13% of office space has been demolished to make way for new residential construction.

In high density urban areas where housing is needed, multifamily repositionings benefit both owner and user. The ideal conversion candidate – transit-accessible office structures built circa 1930 with 22,000-square-foot floor plates.

For more information please contact Jodi Summers and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group @ Sotheby’s International Realty – or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.



March 15, 2014 on 5:11 pm | In Act Locally, all, Green Cities, Reasons to Love L.A., Solutions, Trends, Uncategorized, Water | 1 Comment

edited by Jodi Summers

Did you know that about 40% of all drinking water in Los Angeles is used for landscape

irrigation? The City of Los Angeles Water Conservation Ordinance currently in effect helps city residents and businesses conserve precious drinking water.

By being savvy about our landscape water use, we can save a lot of water.

Currently the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is asking us to honor Sprinkler Use Restrictions – Outdoor watering with sprinklers is restricted to three days a week with different watering days assigned to odd-numbered and even-numbered street addresses.

• Customers with odd-numbered street addresses – ending in 1, 3, 5, 7 or 9 – are allowed to use their sprinkler systems on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

• Customers with even-numbered street addresses – ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8 – are allowed to use their sprinkler systems on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

• Watering with sprinklers is limited to one cycle of up to 8 minutes per station per watering day for nonconserving nozzle sprinkler systems (typical residential system), or two 15-minute cycles per watering day for conserving nozzle sprinkler systems.

• All outdoor watering is prohibited from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., regardless of the watering day.

* Street addresses ending in fractions are treated as whole numbers and observe the same day restrictions as others on their same side of the street (i.e.: 4321 ½ is regarded as 4321, an odd-numbered address.)

Watering by hand is allowed any day of the week, before 9:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m. The Water Conservation Ordinance requires that you use a self-closing water shutoff nozzle on your hose when watering outdoors.

Additional prohibited uses of water, which apply to all phases of the Ordinance and all LADWP customers, include:

• Watering of any hard surfaces such as sidewalks, walkways, driveways or parking areas unless flushing is needed to protect health and safety;

• Outdoor watering between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.;

• Outdoor watering during periods of rain;

• Allowing runoff onto streets and gutters from excessive watering;

• Allowing leaks from any pipe or fixture to go unrepaired;

• Washing vehicles without using a hose with a self-closing water shut-off nozzle;

• Serving water to customers in restaurants unless requested;

• Using water to clean, fill or maintain decorative fountains unless the water is part of a recirculating system;

• Installing single-pass cooling systems in new buildings;

• Installing non-recirculating systems in new car wash and commercial laundry systems; and

• Allowing large landscape areas to be watered without rain sensors that shut off irrigation systems.

The Ordinance also requires that hotel and motel operators provide guests with the option of not having towels and linens laundered daily.



February 28, 2014 on 6:56 pm | In Act Locally, Green Cities, Reasons to Love L.A., Solutions, Uncategorized, Water | 4 Comments

edited by Jodi Summers

Los Angeles has prepared for this drought. Today, Angelinos use less water per capita than residents of any major U.S. city with a population over 1 million. Los Angeles’ Mandatory Water Conservation Ordinance, which was strengthened in 2009, has resulted in unprecedented levels of water savings by  Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s 680,000 water customers.

Already, LADWP customers have reduced their water use by 18%. The amount of water saved in Los Angeles—more than 141 billion gallons—is enough to serve the cities of Burbank, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Glendale, and Anaheim combined for two years.

Expecting drought conditions, LADWP and other Southern California water agencies have invested in storage over the past decade. Together with a strong conservation program, these investments will allow us to weather the current shortage. But we need to redouble our commitment to conservation and make sure all of us are fully complying with current water use restrictions and reducing our water use.

Last year 88% of the water used in Los Angeles was imported from external sources. Water supply shortages are a continuous threat across California and much of the West.

Now, residents across the city are being asked to look for more ways to reduce their water use and encourage our customers to take advantage of money saving rebates offered by LADWP to help them save both water and money. They include rebates for water efficient appliances and devices, and the “Cash for Grass” program, which has increased participation 10-fold since LADWP raised the rebate amount to $2 a square foot, up from $1.50, for customers who replace water-thirsty lawns with California Friendly landscape.

LADWP also will be expanding its public outreach and education efforts to raise awareness about the dry year conditions and users’ responsibility to use water wisely and in accordance with the City’s Water Conservation Ordinance.

More information on LADWP’s water conservation programs, regulations and rebate incentives can be found at



February 13, 2014 on 11:02 am | In Act Locally, all, Green Building, Green Cities, Green Houses, Reasons to Love L.A., Recycling, Solutions, Trends, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Edited by Jodi Summers

Bravo to the City of Los Angeles. Through innovative public policy and creative private development, demonstrating how older buildings can be repurposed and repositioned for the new economy while reducing carbon emissions.

Believe it or not, Downtown Los Angeles contains one of the nation’s finest collections of early 20th century architecture. Most of these buildings sat vacant for decades, until a carefully targeted Adaptive Use Ordinance (ARO) removed regulatory barriers, provided incentives, and helped make it possible to repurpose more than 60 historic buildings over the past 14 years as new apartments, lofts, and hotels.

But many more buildings remain empty or underused in the downtown area and nearby commercial districts.

A recent report from the Urban Land Institute and the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Green Lab concludes that more than 10 million square feet of space in the city’s urban core is currently vacant. The report, Learning from Los Angeles, was presented to Mayor Eric Garcetti this morning, at an event organized by the ULI Los Angeles District Council. It describes strategies that build on the success of the ARO to unlock the economic and community development potential of underused older buildings. The report documents demolition, building, and vacancy trends throughout the city and recommends strategies for removing regulatory barriers, streamlining approvals, and providing incentives to make building reuse easier to accomplish.

Conversations organized by the Preservation Green and ULI Los Angeles identified key barriers to building reuse and recommend solutions to overcome these obstacles. The Los Angeles Conservancy, a key partner in this effort, served on the project Advisory Committee along with practitioners in real estate development, planning, design, construction, community revitalization, and local government.

Learning from Los Angeles is the first in a new series of research and policy reports being developed by the Preservation Green Lab through the Partnership for Building Reuse, a joint effort of the National Trust and ULI. Launched in Los Angeles in 2012, the Partnership for Building Reuse is designed to foster market-driven building reuse in major U.S. cities through dialogues with community stakeholders about building reuse challenges and opportunities.



July 3, 2013 on 2:12 pm | In Act Locally, all, Green Building, Green Cities, Reasons to Love L.A. | 1 Comment

by Jodi Summers

Santa Monica keeps getting more praise and accolades. Recently, the courtyard at the Santa Monica Main Library ranked number five on a list of the 10 most peaceful public places the escape the chaos of urban life. We were honored when Menasha Ridge Press, editors of “Peaceful Places” guidebook series, were asked by USA Today to choose the top 10 places to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

“With the central courtyard, and its sustainable landscape, visitors can be in the library and be outside at the same time,” praises Greg Mullen, who runs Santa Monica’s libraries. A “major vision for the Main Library was a strong connection to the outdoors.”

Marine life in California’s Santa Monica Bay provided the inspiration for artist Carl Cheng to design a striking laminated glass canopy for the Santa Monica Public Library, which features seven circular ‘disk’ skylights varying from 0.6 m to 1.83 m (2 ft to 6 ft) in diameter, made using DuPont™ SentryGlas® Expressions™ technology, floating over the indoor and outdoor area of the library’s cafeteria and evoking the ‘underwater forest’ ambience that Cheng wanted to create for this public space.

The entire steel and glass structure, named ‘Underwater Canopy’ by the artist and completed in 2006, measures 9.1 m (30 ft) in diameter and is 3.3 m (11 ft) above ground. It is surrounded by two dozen shaded tables set in a surreal a desert garden and river design.

Since the library opened in January 2006, it has logged nearly 7 million visits….but wait; every big city has unique places to escape hustle and bustle. They are special oases where visitors can relax; find some peace, and maybe, some restoration of a stressed soul. At USA Today’s request, editors of Menasha Ridge Press’ Peaceful Places guidebook series chose the 10 top places in six cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington. Here is the USA Today list of the 10 top peaceful places in urban environments.

1) Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, Chicago

The shop in the River North Gallery District is said to be “a bookstore, museum and collectors’ delight” where employees are “quite knowledgeable and always seem happy to help,” author Anne Ford writes in Peaceful Places Chicago.

“Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves hold both out-of-print and new volumes about American presidential and pre-20th-century military history,” observes Ford.

2) The Winter Garden, Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago

The Winter Garden on the ninth floor of The Loop’s Harold Washington Library Center offers “complete silence” in “a very large room with a lovely marble floor,” according to Ford. “The glow of the sunlight coming through the glass dome is much appreciated in winter months.”

3) The Cloisters, New York

This paradise spot can be found at the northern tip of Manhattan on a hill overlooking the Hudson River.

“Thanks to the largesse of the Rockefellers, you can be in Medieval Europe a few subway stops north of Times Square,” says Peaceful Places New York City author Evelyn Kanter. The Rockefellers created The Cloisters, “an amalgam of cloisters and monasteries re-assembled atop the highest point on Manhattan Island, as a proper setting for the family’s world- famous 15th-century Unicorn Tapestries,” Kanter says.

The site houses other “priceless” artwork and is home to concerts and Medieval jousts.

4) James Irvine Japanese Garden, Los Angeles

This traditional garden, also known as Seiryu-en, is an exquisite place to escape from the concrete buildings and bustle that make up Little Tokyo and an easy walk from most downtown hotels,” says Peaceful Places Los Angeles author Laura Randall.

The garden is a hillside oasis of bonsai trees, bamboo, azalea bushes and a stream flowing from a waterfall.

5) Bookmark Cafe, Santa Monica Main Library

Some things just naturally go together. Take, for instance, caffeine and the written word. So the inclusion of coffee shops in libraries makes perfect sense. Located in the center courtyard of the Santa Monica library, the cafe and the patio stay relatively quiet creating a relaxing break from your work day or study session.

6) The National Building Museum, Washington

The museum of architecture, engineering and design features exhibitions, programs and festivals in a historic building with Corinthian columns and 116-feet-by-316-feet Great Hall with a central fountain. The neighborhood is an idyllic location for people-watching, lunching or enjoying the day.

7) Butterfly Habitat Garden, Washington

This habitat for 80 butterfly species and thousands of plants lining garden paths. It feels private although it’s very public.

8) Bix supper club, San Francisco

The Bix in Jackson Square feels like “a forbidden speakeasy” and is a “retro-inspired” supper club with live jazz nightly, according to Peaceful Places San Francisco author Raynell Boeck. Try the mahogany bar for an intimate nightcap.

9) Boston Athenaeum, Boston

The Boston Athenaeum offers more than 600,000 books and a collection of art, sculpture, manuscripts and maps. As it is a members-only library. Strike up a quick friendship with a member to get you to the “magnificent” fifth-floor reading room. If not you can still enjoy the historic first-floor rooms.

10) Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

The Institute of Contemporary Art, which juts over Boston Harbor, is in a “spectacular” setting. Try a padded bench facing the water in the Founders Gallery. Peaceful Places Boston author Lynn Schweikart shares, “you can savor sky, city and seascape dappled by nature’s ever-changing hues.”

The media center offers, “where you’ll have the sensation of floating above waves, unanchored by either horizon or sky.”




May 26, 2013 on 10:22 pm | In all, Reasons to Love L.A., Statistics, Uncategorized | No Comments

by Jodi Summers

The Jolly Green Giant might feel right at home climbing the tall, green buildings that make up the urban forest of Los Angeles.

Skyscrapers in and of themselves are a green concept – high density living + work, close to mass transit, shared utilities. If you don’t mind having neighbors, they’re a big benefit. Manhattan can actually be considered the greenest place in America, if measured by energy use per inhabitant. If New York City were a state, it would be 12th in population and last in energy consumption…why? Skyscrapers.

Building skyscrapers in Los Angeles is difficult and expensive. Beyond the costly price of land, geographic issues like earthquakes and proximity to the San Andreas Fault line, as well as L.A. rigorous engineering and green standards.

Currently, this list of tallest buildings in Los Angeles ranks skyscrapers L.A. by height. Our tallest building is the 73-story U.S. Bank Tower. Finished in 1989, it rises 1,018 feet and stands as the tallest building in the state of California, tallest building west of the Mississippi, and the 10th-tallest building in the United States.

The list of the greenest skyscrapers in Los Angeles is still a work in process. The history of skyscrapers in Los Angeles began with the 1903 completion of the Continental Building, a 151 ft (46 m), 13-storey high-rise at 408 South Spring Street. But, we’ve come a long, green way since then…check out these impressive feats or architecture.

1. U.S. Bank Tower

633 W. Fifth St. Completed in 1989. 1,018 feet, 73 stories.

Architect:   Henry N. Cobb

Our U.S. Bank Tower is the 47th-tallest building in the world, 10th-tallest building in the United States, tallest building on the West Coast of the United States, tallest building in California; and the tallest building in the world with a helipad on its roof. Formerly known as Library Tower; at the time of its completion, the building was the tallest structure in a major active seismic region (Taipei 101 now holds this title.)

2. Aon Center

707 Wilshire Blvd. Completed in 1973. 858 feet, 62 stories.

Architect:  Charles Luckman

Aon Center is the 133rd-tallest building in the world, 31st-tallest building in the United States; tallest building constructed in Los Angeles in the 1970s.

3. Two California Plaza

Two California Plaza at 350 S. Grand Ave. Completed 1992. 750 feet, 52 stories.

Architect:  Arthur Erickson

Two California Plaza takes kudos for being the 72nd-tallest building in the United States; tallest building constructed in Los Angeles in the 1990s.

4. Gas Co. Tower

Gas Co. Tower at 333 W. Fifth St. Completed in 1991. 749 feet, 52 stories.

Architect:  Richard Keating

Known as the 77th-tallest building in the United States.

5. Bank of America Plaza

Bank of America Plaza at 333 S. Hope St. Completed in 1974. 735 feet, 55 stories.

Architect:   Albert C. Martin

The 92nd-tallest building in the United States used to be known as Security Pacific Bank Plaza, ARCO Plaza, and BP Plaza.

Los Angeles went through a large building boom that lasted from the early 1960s to the early 1990s, during which time the city saw the completion of 30 of its 32 tallest buildings, including the U.S. Bank Tower, Aon Tower, and Two California Plaza. The city has 25 skyscrapers at least 492 feet in height, more than any other city in the Pacific coast region. As of July 2011, there are 505 completed high-rises in the city.

12 skyscrapers approved or proposed for construction. The most recently completed skyscraper in Los Angeles is L.A. Live Ritz-Carlton Hotels & Condominiums, which rises 653 feet 199 m and 54 floors.


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