Goodbye to An Old Friend

By Dave Fratello | September 29th, 2008

When this blog was just a couple of weeks old, we made the acquaintance of 4419 Highland.

It's a new home in possibly the worst location west of Sepulveda – at 45th/Highland, across from the gas station, right on top of the busiest street in town other than Hwy. 1. We took to calling the home "The Gateway to Manhattan Beach," recognizing that it's the first (or last) home commuters see at the northwest edge of town.

After all this time, the home has not sold. We've confirmed that it is now rented out; the last posted rental price was $5,800/mo. (One informant sent a photo of a parked U-haul unloading as folks moved in.) Curiously, the listing remains active at this writing, with DOM just days short of 500 by our count.

When first we wrote about the Gateway home (see "Builder Rethinking Dubious Lot?," March 2007), it drew our notice because the builder was trying to unload it on Craigslist with construction newly under way. The catchy title of the ad: "Great Deal $200k in Equity." The price then – about $1.4m:

Price for Land, Survey, Plan check fees, Permits, Approved Design,
Demolition, Grading, Utility hook-up, Retaining walls and foudation is

The balance of the construction contract is $309,980.

$1,399,500 to complete. Comps are in the $1.6 million to $1.7 million range.

True to that estimate of market value, the completed home hit the market at $1.695m in early June 2007. But, of course, no one ever cashed in that $200k in equity.

The home's got 4br/3ba and 1975 sq. ft., so it began at $858/PSF. Over a long period in which two listing agents lost the gig, the price dwindled down to $1.265m with the third. That put it down $430k/-25% from start, and down to $640/PSF.

Even that sub-$1.3m price had no takers. Part of the problem was location, part of the problem was the odd, trapezoidal lot, part of it was the oddly shaped rooms and curious layout decisions in the custom design.

Someone said early on in the comments that 4419 Highland would make a great rental. And there it is.

We still can't forget the breathless enthusiasm of that first agent, who touted the home as the "Times Square of the South Bay" and "three levels of bliss!"

As we wave goodbye for now, let's revisit a couple of highlights of recent months:

  • MBC had accident-scene photos from a late-night crash at the corner of 45th/Highland that took out a fire hydrant, creating a 3-story geyser at the front of the property (see "A Crash at 45th/Highland," Oct. 2007);
  • It was news when the home was first offered as a rental ("45th/Highland for Rent," April 2008 – this one has more pics and a complete history on the property back to 2005).

For now, so long old friend, till next we meet.


Update: In Aug. 2009, after this post was initially published, we obtained photos of another fireplug-ravaging crash at 45th/Highland. See our post & photo here.

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