Weekend Opens (8/13-8/14)

By Dave Fratello | August 13th, 2011
Who plans to launch a listing in mid-August? We'll get a sense of that this week.

Mostly these are bubble-era acquisitions, and we noticed a distinct flavor of the 70s as well.

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

As usual, we appreciate it when readers share views on this week's featured properties. Let us know what you like, don't like or must have.

Hill Section 

701 Dianthus (5br/4ba, 3600 sq. ft.) is a fairly big and customized, newer (2005) home with a good-size yard, despite the average lot size (5200 sq. ft.). 

The current owners poured money and effort into giving the home extra style – $150k they say – including Venetian plaster, hardwood floors and custom painting, with elaborate designs on some walls and ceilings. Pretty glam. (The 2 pics in the listing as of this writing don't yet do the home justice.)

Among the bedrooms, 4 are upstairs, including a great master suite, while a smallish 5th br is well suited to its current purpose: home office.

The grassy yard is more than adequate for some outdoor living space (patio with tables, etc.) plus a lot of play area.

Some longer-term readers will recognize 701 Dianthus from its previous, 6-month run on the market in 2008. At that point it began with a 10% markup over the Feb. 2006 acquisition price ($2.530m) up at $2.775m, though by the time it quit the market, the home was listed below acquisition at $2.499m.

This round, 701 Dianthus starts at $2.299m. It is open Sun. 1-4pm.

Sand Section

Ahhh, the 70s in Manhattan Beach. By lore, the town was populated mainly by flight attendants, surfers and dope dealers, with Thomas Pynchon lurking around El Porto. And folks were building quickie duplexes all around town to house this eclectic, transient mix of residents. One was 224 6th, sporting a 1975 completion date and a few updates here and there since.

The front, owner's unit (2br/2.5 ba and perhaps 1800 sq. ft.) is a tri-level, more or less, with bedrooms downstairs, kitchen and eating area in the middle and a living room and loft upstairs. (The unit is full of stairs and split levels.) Take the stairs up past the loft and you reach a roof deck with predictably big views. There are also nice views from the living room on the upper level, and its little balcony.

At $2.999m, here's guessing that the buyer for 224 6th is not much interested in the current property or the income potential. This is a full lot (2700 sq. ft.) on a treasured ocean-view South End walkstreet. Very close to downtown without being affected by it, a nice high point on the upslope to offer big views. This ain't the 70s anymore, and what happens to places like 224 6th is they get replaced with 4200 sq. ft. moderns. Just a prediction.

224 6th starts at $2.999m and is open Sat. 2-4pm.

You like the ocean, you say? MB in the 70s sounds good, too? And you don't want to spend $3m?

Then 1322 Ocean (2br/2ba, 1225 sq. ft.) may be a good fit.

This one is a smallish, fairly affordable TH – one of a set of 4 – that almost could not be nearer to the beach and downtown. It's just across Ocean Drive from The Strand, with $10m+ homes in view.

But for this 2 1/2-level TH with big (legal) roofdeck, you'd pay just $1.490m.

The 1978-built end unit does offer a master that looks straight at the ocean over the walkstreet and past a couple Strand homes, plus views from the upstairs living room (up a level from the kitchen). The kitchen has been updated, though not expensively, and the main bedrooms are of ample size. Off the garage downstairs is a bonus room that you could have guests crash in, though it's not a legal bedroom.

Add in a real roofdeck with spiral stairs – Jack Tripper would be proud to call it home.

Worth noting: 1322 Ocean traded twice in the past 6 years, in March 2005 ($1.095m) and most recently in Aug. 2008 ($1.545m). 

1322 Ocean starts at $1.490m, and is open Sun. 2-5pm.

436 33rd (4br/5ba, 4050 sq. ft.) up on the plateau has a lot going for it – lots of space, a clean, bright feeling all around, newer (2000) construction and even some ocean views (blue horizon) from the back of the top floor.

If you don't like 3-level, maxed-out properties in the Sand, at least this one has an elevator to move people and goods to wherever the action is.

Besides a big, sunny home with attractive, light-colored hardwood floors, this one throws in some extras. The entry is, uniquely, set on a deck over a pond with splashing fountain. The third floor, where the living spaces are and where you'd expect to find things the hottest in summer, has air conditioning. A home theater's been partly built in upstairs, with a dropdown projector and 11' screen (a specially painted wall) – try to get the radical audio equipment in the deal. Finally, if that a/c unit at the beach tweaks your inner environmentalist, you'll like the solar panels that currently generate enough juice to result in rebates from the electric company.

436 33rd was purchased for $1.488m in Jan. 2003, started a month ago at $2.150m, and is newly at $1.999m. It is open Sat. & Sun. 2-4pm.

216 2nd (4br/4ba, 2750 sq. ft.) is a sleek and bold modern ("tropical modern" per the listing) that was completed just 4 years ago, as the bubble popped. A buyer had jumped in mid-way through construction, upgraded it along the way, and closed on the deal in June 2008 at $4.350m.

South End, ocean-view walkstreet, no neighbor to the immediate west (the home is on Bayview, a big asset), plus this spectacular design and big, big views upstairs – you can almost see it over $4m.

Now the market is being asked to consider 216 2nd again. This time it's very slightly marked up from 2008 to $4.390m.

It's not a full-size home or lot – 2/3rds of a full lot in fact (1800 sq. ft.). And those views, while huge and featured extra well by tall ceilings on the top level, are impacted noticeably by electrical wires running horizontally across the line of sight. (You can imagine how they'd fade into the background over time, but yes, they are there, and they're not going underground.)

The home's layout is similar to a full-size walkstreet home, with the large bottom-floor room – currently set up as a chill space with bar and pool table – opening straight out to the patio. Bedrooms are on the midlevel, including a master you can only describe as cool with some ocean views. The top level has giant blue views accentuated by the disappearing sliding doors. The kitchen is a showpiece on top of everything else. 

South end, high style, big price – we'll see how this one wraps up.

216 2nd starts at $4.390m and is open Sun. 2-4pm.

Tree Section

2909 Laurel (4br/4ba, 3700 sq. ft.) is a newer (2005) home in a decent location. It boasts a unique "plantation" style, with a very serious and substantial fell all around, plus maturing trees that give the home a special, private setting.

Big, brick-paved patios in front and in back expand the living space and accent the entry (up brick stairs). The formal living room up front is surprisingly bright, given that it's on the north side of the home, and it's dramatic with its 2-story space and big double fans. The kitchen/great room feels big and open.

The upslope of the lot means the front porch, office and master all drink in great treetop views over the Tree Section to the west – an asset for homes on both sides of Laurel in this particular stretch, but more so the ones built up the hill like this.

A first-floor room that really should be a great office is not currently laid out as such, but it's easy to see. Downstairs, a little bonus room is set up as a kids' playroom. The listing says it would work as a home theater, but not a big one at all.

This is a pretty big home that sold new during the bubble years, for $2.6m in Sept. 2005, and is up now at a discount, $2.350m.
2909 Laurel is open Sat. & Sun. 2-5pm.

2503 Valley (2br/1ba, 950 sq. ft.) offers a surprisingly attractive option for the entry-level buyer. What's that – less than $800k for a location that's neither on Rosecrans nor Oak? Yep. This one will generate lots of interest at once.

The home is barely livable as is for most families, though the restored hardwood floors and fresh paint help put the best possible face on things. Really, one bath? A 50s kitchen? Original everything? There's work to be done. Fortunately, it's fairly easy to see how to expand the home back over a space that's currently all concrete anyway, and you might go up a bit as well.

Valley is clearly a location liability, and the long driveway will pose a challenge for cars backing out onto the street. But the Valley location also gives the home one of its great assets – views of treetops and homes along the hills across the greenbelt from the main living room. The view was probably zilch when the home was built in the 50s and the greenbelt was a railroad track, but here we are today with a plus.

Point of annoyance: The listing is chock full of stock photos of Manhattan Beach – even the golf course – but no shots of the nice view we're describing.

2503 Valley appears to represent someone's failed investment, for it was last acquired in July 2007 for $1.031m, and is now offered back for 24% less: the strangely precise asking price of $782k. (Think back to July 2007 a moment: MBC was trying to warn folks that the market had overheated and was going down, but not everyone had internet connections back then, apparently.)

2503 Valley starts at $782k – and probably won't last at that price – and it's open Sun. 1-3:30pm.

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