El Porto Piero, Volcano - Real Estate Implications?

By Dave Fratello | April 1st, 2021

Thanks for enjoying our annual April Fool's prank(s). We'll keep this story up for posterity, but no, there's no volcano or El Porto Piero (unfortunately!).

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All at once on April 1, Manhattan Beach has seen two big news events that could impact the local real estate market.

One was planned, if quiet: Development of a new Santa Monica-inspired pier project 100 yards off the coast at Rosecrans, dubbed "El Porto Piero." (Here's the news at our sister publication, DigMB.com.)

The other, wildly unexpected: The sudden emergence of a small volcanic hill in East Manhattan, at Begg Field.

How might either of these events affect our high-flying real estate market?

Let's consider.

We'll start big. Yes, that's really a volcano that emerged overnight just west of Polliwog Park. A whole baseball field is gone, smoke and steam are rising into the sky, and locals have been evacuated.

Scientists will be studying what caused the sudden lava vent.

Realtors, by nature, are going to look for the good news.

The volcano did seem to be stopped quickly. Elon Musk's "Boring Company" engineers rushed to the scene and capped the volcano underground using, quote, "a special, proprietary mixture of concrete and polymers."

If it's capped, it's no longer a threat. It's just a big curiosity. In time, the hill will be cleared away, and there will be soccer, baseball and softball right back out there on Begg Field.

Sure, normally, you'd think a nearby volcano would be bad for property values. But people get used to things. It's a shock, until it isn't anymore, and normal life resumes. (Hey, anyone heard of Hawaii?)

Recall this past year, when we were all certain that a deadly and destructive global pandemic would tank property values. The opposite happened. It's been a monster year for sales and values.

There could be federal and state aid coming. One of the deepest-pocketed individuals on the planet may need to pay for improvements to our city.

Contrarian pick: The volcano somehow works out to enhance East Manhattan's already-rising property values, lifting the city as a whole to new heights.

Meantime on the coast, there's a man-made issue.

North Manhattan business leaders want to drastically boost business.

They've gotten their wish: A vast, gleaming new offshore pier with tons of parking, amusement-park attractions, coffeehouses, craft beers and gin joints.

When El Porto Piero opens in 2025, local tourism will get a huge shot (a jab?) in the arm. Add in the new high-rise hotel, and what you're talking about is more people visiting Manhattan Beach and realizing what makes it great.

That means more buyers, folks. And if they can't find what they want: Higher prices.

Don't forget the lifestyle pluses for locals.

Can we just say this out loud? El Porto's gotten soft. All the college kids and bikers and flight attendants and Johnny Depp and Paul Reubens are gone. The most rambunctious local watering hole from days of old is now a fancy fish restaurant (oh, sorry, "bar").

The new pier is going to inject some much-needed life into the place, attracting new kinds of homeowners, renters and vacation-renters who want to be part of the emerging new scene.

Some surfers surely will decry the potential hit to the break, but think of how 3+ blocks of inner coastline will be even safer for little kids, as waves are reduced. Tourists with kiddos = $$$.

Our pick: El Porto is already on a big upswing with removal of power poles. Add pier, will travel. North End prices can only go up.

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