Weekend Opens (2/16-2/17)

By Dave Fratello | February 16th, 2013

You're watching your health, you're taking breaks, and you're getting the kids the heck out of the house for at least part of this coming "Ski Week" break – we hope.

Don't forget to take the Blue Zones pledge (link offsite) and get yourself automatically entered to win this awesome $200+ gift basket from Barsha.

(For more on the pledge and Barsha, see the intro to our Weekend Opens post from 2 weeks back.) 

Ski Week, for the uninitiated or out-of-town, is that odd, weeklong mid-February school holiday we get in MB because, it seems, without it, absenteeism in the schools would be too great during the prime powder months.

Ski Week also tends to mean fewer new listings, on a theory that goes something like this: Everyone who's looking to buy in Manhattan Beach already has kids in the schools and will, therefore, be away.

Yes, ridiculous, but this is more of a "feeling" and not a fact-based approach to timing listings.

Out of the 4 new listings we're reviewing, 3 were on the market somewhat recently. We saw 85 Bayview and 1331 Voorhees in 2012, but they did not sell, while 801 1st made several appearances on MBC in 2009-2010 as we tracked the property's somewhat difficult journey to a sale back then.

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


Hill Section

801 1st (4br/3ba, 2800 sq. ft.) has nice Cape Cod-type styling and a traditional feel in a remodeled home that sports a 1957 build date, but where the additions and updates are just 15 years old.

Location is what creates the biggest issue here. The home fronts Ardmore and is fairly near to the busy intersection at 2nd St. You have to make your peace with that. It's not so bad while inside.

Layout features 1br downstairs along with a series of compartmentalized living spaces. All the rooms are bright, and the living room opens to a pretty substantial, south-facing yard with a nice tree for shade. Some of the rooms have a little step-up/step-down, more of an artifact of the 80s or 90s.

Maybe the most out-of-date feature is the smallish (albeit remodeled) kitchen tucked away in a corner of the house. The "great room" arrangement buyers love today would put the kitchen amid the living spaces, but here it's the opposite. Laundry is just off the kitchen, more reflective of the smaller 1950s original that is the core of this house.

The remaining 3br are upstairs, and the master gets sweeping sky and rooftop views over the Sand Section just below. If you position yourself just right in the master or the downstairs living room, you get a little view of the blue right down 1st St. Prevailing onshore flows will give this house great breezes most of the year.

Some will recall the last trade on this one. After a debut at $2.095M in May 2009, the sellers finally found the market at $1.720M (-$375K/-18% from start) in April 2010. The property was referenced here on MBC a few times along the way.

This one returns now at the same start price as May 2009, $2.100M, but in a vastly different market. It wouldn't shock us to see this sell at asking, but if the final number had a 1 in front, no huge surprise there, either.

Worth noting: The prior sale before 2010 was at $1.050M in Dec. 2000, or exactly half today's start price.

801 1st starts at $2.100M and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

Sand Section

85 Bayview (3br/4ba, 2075 sq. ft.) is a mid-90s TH with some smart updates, particularly to the master and top-floor living areas with ocean views.

Layout here is surprising, with the garage at the midfloor. So that puts 2br together downstairs, sharing a little shady patio. One has an attached bath, while the other, with its own larger bath and jacuzzi tub, requires the resident to walk down a hallway (?). Neither bath is fully updated. The midfloor master is much more of today, with the most up-to-date features.

The top floor in these units is always where it's at. Here there's a midcentury/ultramodern-type vibe (hard to classify), wide open, feeling high-end, with lots of windows to draw in the views. (Admittedly, the views aren't profound, but you get lots of peeks of blue.) The kitchen is very well executed.

With this one's start price of $1.899M, you have to look to some other neighborhood sales. There's 88 Manhattan Ave. (3br/4ba, 2150 sq. ft.), sporting what we called "generous" ocean views straight across Manhattan Ave. and down a wide street, which went for $1.925M in May last year. There's also 215 Homer Place (3br/4ba, 1950 sq. ft.) that sold for the same $1.925M in July last year, off-market.

The drastic counter-example is 97 Bayview (2br/3ba, 1500 sq. ft.) – yet another recent sale within a stone's throw – the 2br-could-be-3br-again TH with fantastic views that drew 9 offers and sold for $1.313M last September. Yes, a $500K-plus difference.

This one was on the market last year, made a deal but then quit. They're ready to try again now.

85 Bayview starts, as we noted, at $1.899M, and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4p.

Tree Section

591 29th (3br/1ba, 1000 sq. ft.) is a little original 1950 beach cottage that's been refreshed inside and out, if not radically remodeled. The major draw is the location west of Blanche and in sight of the sand dune. Lot size is 4800 sq. ft.

This one last traded in Sept. 2009 (for $895K) and was in poor condition. That was near lot value at the time, and you might have seen the little cottage get scraped and replaced by a modern home, but it was sold as an affordable "starter" home and the structure survived. It even got some love.

Now this home's back at $1.200M and is drawing lots of interest. It's once again got appeal as a starter, and we'd expect a mix of plans on the part of potential buyers – including builders looking to go whole hog with new construction here.

Disclosure: Dave has toured this property with clients.

591 26th starts at $1.200M and is open Sat. & Sun. 1-4pm.

East MB

Last year, when 1331 Voorhees (5br/4ba, 4150 sq. ft.) hit the market, it made us say out loud, "finally, something different!"

We also said then:

It's not a Cape Cod, there's not a whiff of Tuscany in the air, and it's no Caliterranean. In fact they don't name the style beyond calling it "traditional," which is fine for now.

New year, new agent, and now they're labeling this home "Tuscan-inspired." So maybe there is a whiff of Tuscany in the air.

A unique, 60 foot wide lot changes the feel and orientation of most of the rooms. The kitchen/great room in back goes on almost forever, and the formal living room up front, due to the extra width, is a huge space that you'd definitely want to use.

Another surprise: all 5br fit upstairs, and none is really squished.

The bummer: No yard in back. There's a small patio in one corner and then retaining walls and a strip of landscaping to look at as the hill rises up in back. The total lot size is just 6300 sq. ft., short of the 7500 that is more or less the standard for this part of East MB.

As the pics show, the home has lots and lots of extra custom style poured on – box ceilings, extra mouldings and custom paint patterns, built-ins here and there. It's almost a dizzying amount of detail, but very nice.

1331 Voorhees sold new (and comparably blank inside) in July 2006 for $2.025M, tried last year at $2.150M down to $2.075M, and and starts anew now at $2.075M with a new agent. It is open Sun. 1-4pm.


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