Weekend Opens (1/19-1/20)

By Dave Fratello | January 19th, 2013
What makes MB special? Surely a part of it is the iconic Manhattan Beach Pier.

And what makes the pier iconic? That'd be the roundhouse at the end of the pier.

The roundhouse hosts a terrific aquarium, aptly named the Roundhouse Aquarium, and the aquarium needs your help with repairs and maintenance.

What better way to help than at a fundraiser at The Strand House?

On Tuesday, Jan. 29, from 6-8pm, you're invited to join a close-knit gathering at $80/head, which includes 2 beverages plus tasty appetizers. Proceeds go to the Roundhouse Aquarium.

Have fun, mingle, and help a good cause. Sign up today before the event sells out!

As to local real estate, this weekend has been largely skipped over by would-be new listings, with just a couple of exceptions. We're guessing that MLK weekend here will be the last non-busy one for a while, but we'll see. (Careful predicting!)

The first on our list, in East MB, might provoke a little sensation.

To plan your open-house tours for this week, use MB Confidential's online list of Manhattan Beach open houses (it's mobile-friendly!).

East MB

Expectations almost could not be higher for 1159 Chestnut (3br/2ba, 1400 sq. ft.), a recent remodel.

This is a project brought to you by the same folks who recently redid 2001 Pacific (3br/2ba, 1070 sq. ft., $990K in May 2012) and 1605 Harkness (3br/2ba, 1500 sq. ft.), which sold immediately (at the brokers' open) in October for cash at $1.095M. (We did a whole post on Harkness: "Transforming an LV Cottage.")

In this case, we're east of the highway and just a few doors up off of MBB, a location that is going to give some people pause until they really feel it out for themselves. And instead of a yard, this one's got a pool, which also will lead to questions.

But beyond that, 1159 Chestnut delivers in the important ways. It's a late-1940s cottage that has been lovingly brought to the 21st century with a modern beach aesthetic. Dark wood floors (largely, it seems, preserving the original flooring). An open kitchen with nice and different touches. Modern baths.

It's got a special feel that fully rhymes with the 2 projects referenced above on Pacific and Harkness. Hey, why spoil a formula that works?

Now, yes, we love the look and finish here, but the living spaces are fairly tight – owing to the original house layout. We'd say it's right between 2001 Pacific and 1605 Harkness in this way – Pacific clearly lacked adequate common areas; the remodelers actually added a big, nice family room to Harkness (and boosted the value accordingly).

Here on Chestnut, there's a "great room" feel to the front living/dining room area, but it ain't huge or differentiated, and in back, a rather small cozy corner opening out to the yard – staged with a TV on the wall – serves more as a faint echo of a more typical "great room."

Lots of things add up quite well here, but it's worth noting that this one's got the highest start price of the 3 recent projects, though it does not seem to be as compelling as 1605 Harkness.

1159 Chestnut starts at $1.079M, and is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.

Hill Section

1042 2nd (5br/4ba, 4425 sq. ft.) is a very large, newer (2003) condo that feels fully like an SFR. (It's detached from, but shares a lot with, the neighbor to the west.)

It's near Sepulveda and even nearer to a large office building, a fairly dominant next-door neighbor. (See it in the frame of the exterior pic?)

This one ran 7 months days on market in 2012 without success, but it's back for another run here, optimistic that 2013 holds a different fate.

To help their chances, they're priced way below last year's level. The start last February was at $2.195M, dropping to $1.995M by June.

Now: $1.750M, or -$245K (-12%) from the last list price. That has to help. We are finally seeing motivation here.

With the price improved, for buyers, it's really about the living space, and being west of Sepulveda. They did a nice job with the original construction here (2003), and the current owners have upgraded the home some, inside and out, since their Aug. 2009 acquisition (at $1.810m).

The style runs with a Spanish theme, including saltillo tiles throughout the first (bedroom) floor, dark woods for the stairs and upstairs and ornate wrought-iron railings that keep the style flowing. (The curvy stairs are covered by a turret with exposed wood beams – more style.)

Views are limited to a city/mountain peek over commercial buildings, but the home has an upside-down layout anyway to take whatever advantage can be taken of that peek.

The master's quite large with a big walk-in closet that's fully finished out (one of these owners' upgrades), with a fireplace between the bath and bedroom. The master opens to the little grassy yard (one of the quirks in an upside-down layout), which is fairly quiet despite the proximity of Sepulveda.

Turns out, that behemoth commercial building is also a pretty good noise shield.

Last year we called it "a pleasant surprise, in all," and that's when it was priced $450K higher.

Go ahead, look around the Hills (or South End of the Sand) and try to find 4400 sq. ft. of modern house under $2m. It doesn't happen. (Even 3000 sq. ft. under $2m doesn't happen much.) Put this one on a good block, and you're deep into the 2's. For someone, this time, the tradeoffs will work.

1042 2nd starts at $1.750M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

Sand Section 

525 2nd
525 2nd (4br/4ba, 2750 sq. ft.) is an updated version of a mid-90s home with a good layout on a nice street in the South End.

This one debuted last week, but seems to have actually lasted a whole week on the market – will wonders never cease?

As we said then, there's not a wasted square foot inside, it seems. The open kitchen features both informal and formal dining right off of it. The 2-story first-floor living room is not one of those forgotten "formal" spaces, it really is the family living area. A separate office (with bath and closet, so technically the 4th bedroom) finishes out the first floor.

Upstairs, you have a kids' wing in back, with 2br, a bath and a "kids' living room," and an adults' wing in front. The large master suite, with high ceilings, lots of light, double closets and a spacious bath consumes the front half of the house, plenty insulated from the kids.

In July 2007, this home sold for $2.125M. This year they're looking for a little markup over 2007 to $2.299M (+$174k/+8%).
525 2nd St. starts at $2.299M and is open Sun. 1-4pm.

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