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Rooftop Retreats Heat Up Los Angeles Real Estate Market

And we’re not talking about a plastic chair and table set with a string of twinkle lights.

The Huntley

The real estate market in Los Angeles is among the fastest-paced in the world with multi-millions of dollars changing hands for the most coveted, high-tech and high-design abodes. I am fortunate to sell real estate in a city where we have an abundance of developers and architects who are constantly raising the bar, setting new trends and creating spaces to adapt to our changing lifestyles. One trend we have recently seen making a splash in the market is the increase in townhome products and the rise of the fully amenitized rooftop deck. And I don’t mean a plastic chair and table set with a string of twinkle lights; I mean a fully built-in chef-quality grill with a meal prep area, jacuzzi, automated sun shades, fire places and fire pits, all topped off with endless views as far as the eye can see from the Hollywood Hills to the ocean. Like most housing trends, necessity is the mother of invention, and these magnificent rooftops are the new crowning jewel for Los Angeles homebuyers.

In 2013 and 2014, Emile Kelman and his real estate development firm Zola Properties acquired two parcels in the very fashionable Melrose Arts District. The first property was a 2,000-square-foot, single-level duplex and the second a 900-square-foot, single family residence. Together, they made way for The Huntley—five townhomes spanning 2,365 to 2,664 square feet each. Inside, the homes feature all the mod cons—floor-to-ceiling window walls capturing natural light in each room and a bonus space for a home movie theatre, gym or office space and much, much more. Yet it is the 800-square-foot rooftops for each that the listing agents—David Parnes and James Harris—say will be the biggest draw for buyers.

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“The rooftop decks at The Huntley are not only grand in size, but also feature the best amenities anyone could ask for when it comes to outdoor entertaining in Los Angeles,” Parnes said. “They come replete with a hot tub, outdoor shower, outdoor speakers, views of the Hollywood Hills and more.”

The Huntley

Indeed, some other amenities on the ipe wood deck rooftop terraces at The Huntley include a kitchenette with bar, sink, mini-fridge, barbeque gas line hook-ups, shelving, boxed planters with a drip line system by landscape architect Jay Scott, 270-degree views and plenty of space for outdoor dining, entertaining and lounging.

Parnes and Harris agree that townhomes with amenitized rooftop decks are more valuable and attractive for a particular set of buyers. Those who they anticipate will be drawn to The Huntley include young couples, professionals and small families who seek an opportunity to own a brand-new home with the full amenities that a single-family residence affords. And priced between $2.6 to $3.2 million, The Huntley residences are at an attractive price point for those considering a single-family home in the area that may need extensive remodeling, repairs or updates.

Michael Druker and David Melaugh just brought to market a newly completed project called Skye Curson, a collection of five townhome properties located just steps from Sunset Boulevard and near Hollywood’s Spaulding Square. Druker says the townhome product in Los Angeles (technically known as multi-level detached single family homes or small lot subdivisions) is becoming more and more desirable for first-time homebuyers who are priced out of the single-family market but still want outdoor space as a prime amenity as well as a desirable location. These buyers have typically lived in larger condo buildings for years and are now wanting to start paying into their own property portfolio as well as seeking more room, a boutique living environment, and the outdoor amenities that a single-family home offers.

Skye Curson’s outdoor deck

Druker says that new projects like The Huntley and Skye Curson—which starts at $1.499 million and features a sprawling roof deck stubbed for electric, gas and water—are starting to come online now, after developers foresaw the uptick of interest in the townhome product and sought to up the ante with the rooftop space.

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“Developers understood that rooftops were a great opportunity to serve as the main entertaining, gathering and lounging space for townhome residents,” Druker said. “But they knew they had to offer more than just views. Fireplaces, firepits, hot tubs, barbeques, surround sound speakers, television, built-in grills and cooking spaces, mini fridges and more are now all part of the appeal of smaller subdivision lot living.”

Condo and apartment dwellers will continue to search for more space in Los Angeles, especially now as work from home becomes the new normal across the city, yet they will find that the townhome option is a viable one for the next or first step on the property ladder given the pricing as well as the amenities it provides. To meet this demand, we will continue to experience a wave of developers assembling parcels to build this type of product, with an emphasis on the new hot amenity—the ultimate rooftop retreat.

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