Reagan's Suit is Bought

By Dave Fratello | April 9th, 2010
One of the stranger homes to be found on the 100 block of a beautiful walkstreet finally has a buyer.

MBC said 6 months ago that there was something about 121 17th that was "making us think of Ronald Reagan's brown suits."

The custom "contemporary" home may have been fancy in the early 80s, but now the smallish (3br/3ba, 2200 sq. ft.) home felt hopelessly dated, airless and unsalvageable, especially considering that they were last asking $3 million.

For that kind of scratch you shouldn't suffer inadequate ventilation (by the beach!), poor views (in the 100 block!), chopped-up rooms and dated kitchen and baths.

It's a classic case of an ugly-duckling home that may be perfect for the family that ordered it up, and has almost no appeal on the open market.

We tried to ponder this one. Your blog author often feels pretty visionary when it comes to how to remodel a home. Sometimes you can see the skeleton behind the skin and imagine a great house where you have only a dump.

And then there are cases where the "vision thing" fails and you realize that the home on offer is really just a lot sale. 121 17th was such a case. (Same problem over at 1801 Elm – see "Probate Auction Home Closes" and the prior stories linked back from there.)

Now, location – that's nice. You can't beat the 100 block of 16th-19th Streets. Close to downtown, but quiet, with no Manhattan Ave. in the way.

For whatever reason, the sellers began on the moon, asking $3.999m last year. That they only chopped $1m before a buyer knocked is intriguing.

Recall that 125 8th closed recently for $2.725m, possibly a scraper, too (see "Neighbors on 8th Make Deals"), and that location is much more compromised by the proximity of downtown and the public baths at the foot of the street.

We recall opining privately to someone that the land at 17th might go for $2.5m or less. That may have been too bearish.

Perhaps prime dirt values by the beach are settling in the higher 2's? We'll see.

Please see our blog disclaimer.

Latest Listings Among
Manhattan Beach Homes For Sale