Double the Fun?

Posted by Dave Fratello on Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 at 4:15pm.

Double lots are rare in the Tree Section, but for some reason relatively common on Pacific Ave.

You may recall the minor sensation around the quick sale at 3505 Pacific (4br/3ba, 2850 sq. ft.), a double corner-lot remodel (8400+ sq. ft.) that sold last year for $1.299m. (That was 18 months ago, but seems a bit like yesterday.)

Or, just a few blocks closer to Valley, you saw 2803 Pacific (5br/4ba, 4425 sq. ft.) crop up this year, a giant of a house and something of a time capsule as well, perfectly capturing a mid-80s aesthetic. (That's our gentle way of saying it cried out for updates.) That one also boasts an 8400 sq. ft. lot. They were last asking $1.999m and it's in escrow now; expect it to close near $1.9m.

Back Yard at 2912 Pacific
Just across the street, this week 2912 Pacific (4br/2ba, 1875 sq. ft.) is debuting at $1.599m. This one features a one-story, contemporary-styled remodel consuming just part of the plus-plus-size 9300 sq. ft. lot. (The current owners picked it up in decrepit condition in March 2004 for $1.340m and got to work with the big remodel you see today.)

How rare are these larger, double-lot offerings in the Trees?

In a search, we found only 11 listings from Jan. 1, 2007, to the present, featuring lots of 8,000 sq. ft. or more.

Of those, 4 weren't double lots, but larger-than-normal single lots with homes selling for $3m or more (850 18th, 1718 Pacific, 2603 Palm and 835 17th, the last of which recently sold off-market after a failed public offering in 2008).

That leaves 7 listings with real double lots, of which 1 canceled, 2 are currently active, 1 is pending (2803 Pacific) and just 3 have sold since early 2007:
  • 3505 Pacific (mentioned first above);
  • 633 15th ("Santa's House" by American Martyrs, a big 90s home on a 12,500 sq. ft. lot); and
  • 2900 Maple (a spec builder's failed lot split; see, for instance, "Double Deal" from April 2009; it closed in June 2009 for $1.450m, $1.1m less than the Feb. 2007 acquisition price).
So, yes, with just 3 sales, those double lots are rare. (Note: Whether a "double lot" is splittable is a separate point; we're speaking generally here about extra-size lots.)

If you're from outside of MB, an 8000-9000 sq. ft. lot with an ample back yard may seem like less of a luxury. Not every neighborhood in SoCal got sliced up into these 4000-ish sq. ft. lots when modern development geared up. But here, we have come to accept our little slices as the tradeoff for being near the beach – even if the Trees are more like the 'burbs.

The entry of 2912 Pacific this week actually doubles the number of active, double-lot offerings in the Trees.

The other is 2600 Pine (4br/2ba, 1550 sq. ft.), now at $1.749m after almost 3 months. The lots are the same size, and you probably rate the location on Pine better than Pacific, though that's arguable given Marine's proximity to Pine. The big difference is that the home on Pine is a 1950s original that we called "potentially charming" in our September review, meaning it does need work.

What we said back then about Pine puts Pacific in a better light:

$1.8m for dirt that's far from the beach, close to Marine, and requiring the additional costs of a massive remodel or total rebuild doesn't sound like much of a deal if you're looking to keep the lot for just one home.
Contrast that with a $1.5-$1.6ish price for a ready-to-go house with that rare big plot of land, and you may see Pacific generate a little buzz. Or maybe double the buzz of a normal post-Thanksgiving, Tree Section listing.
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