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Category Archive: ‘Local Flavor’


la jolla

Enjoy local architecture in October, with lectures, exhibitions, and tours scheduled throughout the month – from the UT:

Fantastic opportunities in the second and third tours:


“Sundays with Save Our Heritage Organisation,” at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. each Sunday in October, Balboa Park and other locations; see for details.

Modern San Diego home tours, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 10; self-guided tours of six homes, $40; tickets at

“Oh! San Diego” open house tours of 41 sites, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 17; free. See details at

American Society of Interior Designers Kitchen and Bath tour, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 24; $25; tickets available from

Posted by on Oct 3, 2015 in Historic Homes, Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor | 0 comments

99 Homes

The foreclosure movie ’99 Homes’ is out – here is the review from Variety:

Here is what the had to say:

“99 Homes,” a gripping, intelligent thriller set amid the bursting of the nation’s housing bubble, zeroes in on the ruination of the American dream and the morally bankrupt characters who profited from the carnage. Like “The Grapes of Wrath,” it’s a classic example of how to take a social issue and turn it into riveting cinema.

The story opens in an Orlando, Fla., bathroom, where a family man has just killed himself to avoid the specter of being thrown out of his foreclosed home. Not long after the yellow police tape has been set up, real estate broker Rick Carver (the incomparable Michael Shannon) is prowling the premises, with an e-cigarette in his mouth, a cell phone in his ear and a gun attached to his ankle. Carver needs to make sure that the dead man’s grieving wife and kids are shooed off the grounds, so he can keep his banker clients happy.

Then it’s off to another residence, where Carver’s next victim awaits: down-on-his-luck construction worker Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield, back in top form after his “Spider-Man” foray), his mother (the always reliable Laura Dern) and his son. It’s the first of many evictions in this movie, and director Ramin Bahraini imbues all of them with a palpable sense of terror, anguish and heartbreak.

As it turns out, Carver sees a lot of leadership potential in the handyman Nash, who ends up striking a Faustian deal in which he helps the ruthless broker with evictions in exchange for financial help. Because of Garfield’s skill, and the strength of the script, we sympathize with the desperate Nash and his love for his home, even as he forecloses on his moral values.

Likewise, Shannon provides interesting shadings to Carver. On the surface, he’s Gordon Gekko with a “Miami Vice” outfit, but it’s clear that Carver doesn’t enjoy what he’s doing or view it simply as a way to get rich. Instead, he sees himself as a player trying to survive in a game that’s been rigged against 99 percent of the population. Shannon manages to convey an inner loneliness, a quiet desperation that he’s gone too far but can’t turn back.

The movie trailer:

Posted by on Sep 30, 2015 in Foreclosures, Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor, Real Estate Investing | 1 comment

Nordstrom Project Approved


From the UT:

A costly, well-organized campaign to build a Nordstrom-anchored shopping, entertainment and open-space destination on the shore of a Carlsbad lagoon ended with the City Council’s unanimous approval late Tuesday night.

“This project is compatible with my vision and my values,” said Councilwoman Lorraine Wood before the vote. “A true leader makes a decision based on what they feel is right.”

Several hundred people attended the Carlsbad City Council meeting, where more than 130 residents spoke before the council voted to approve the Caruso Affiliated-backed citizen initiative without changes. The only other choices for the council were to call a special election or take 30 days more to study the plan.

“You have my word that we will surpass your wildest expectations,” Rick Caruso, founder and CEO of the company, told the council as he explained his Agua Hedionda South Shore Specific Plan, also called the 85/15 plan, and presented a short video.

Carlsbad is the third Southern California city this year to see a citizen-led initiative backed by private financing power its way around the municipal development review process. The Carson City Council unanimously approved an initiative in April to allow construction of a stadium to be shared by the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, and Inglewood approved a similar one in hopes of getting the St. Louis Rams.

Caruso’s initiative has been a polarizing issue for many in Carlsbad. Some speakers Tuesday said it would be wonderful, “a crown jewel for the community” and “an incredible gift,” while others said it would bring much more traffic and pollution, that the publicity campaign was deceptive because it emphasized open space and not the shopping center, and that many people were misled to sign the petition in support of the initiative.

The Los Angeles-based developer and his staff have spent more than three years in Carlsbad, meeting with residents and business owners and hosting bus trips to his shopping center The Grove in Los Angeles. Caruso built a strong following for the project, and many of those residents came out in support of it Tuesday night.

Read full article here:

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in Carlsbad, Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor, Local Government | 10 comments

Video on 85/15

2015-08-21 12.09.03

There have been other projects in Carlsbad that faced an uproar.  This time the complaints have ranged from gnatcatchers, to Indian remains, to increased traffic, to competition for mom-and-pop store owners.

Whatever the gripe, those who oppose had better get to a city council member or two by Tuesday, or it’s going to be over.  The city council has been mum about their votes, but they have been cushy with the developer for three years.

Posted by on Aug 22, 2015 in Carlsbad, Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor | 7 comments

Caruso and the City Council


85-15 plan

The developer of the 85/15 plan (that hopes to bring a Nordstrom-anchored shopping center to Carlsbad) is using a new angle to get project approval – read the VOSD story, click HERE for link.

An excerpt:

One of the country’s largest mall developers, Caruso Affiliated, is pushing through a plan for a shopping center near coastal wetlands in Carlsbad using a novel method that could allow it to bypass many of the state’s environmental protection rules.

A California Supreme Court decision last August ruled that if a project gets enough signatures to put it on the ballot, a city council can approve it without going to voters and without a California Environmental Quality Act review, the state’s landmark environmental law that sets mandates for big projects to disclose their environmental impacts and reduce as many of them as possible. Two proposed football stadiums in Inglewood and Carson used voter initiatives to leapfrog CEQA, and Caruso is trying to make it happen for the first time locally.

Caruso only needed to collect 15 percent of registered Carlsbad voters’ signatures to qualify the measure for a vote – it submitted twice the number of signatures they needed in early July – and now it only needs to lobby the City Council for the three votes necessary to pass the measure in the next Council meeting on Aug. 25.

Read full story HERE.

What will the Carlsbad City Council do?  They’re not saying publically, but opponents think there are conflicts:

Posted by on Aug 11, 2015 in Carlsbad, Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor, Local Government | 4 comments

San Diego is Eighth Hottest Market


We finally edged ahead of Detroit. From HW – link HERE

Whether to buy or sell may not be clear following recent housing indicators, which offered contradictory points of view. But Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at, says the residential real estate market continued to show strong signs of health in July.

According to’s ‘Advance Read of July Trends,’ which draws on residential inventory and demand trends over the first three weeks of the month, the prevailing positive price trend continues with the national median list price increasing to $234,000, up 7% year-over-year and 1% over June. Median days on market increased to 69 days, down 7% year over year, but up 5% month over month.

“It’s typical to see a slackening in the pace of market activity during this time of year, due to back to school and the dog days of summer,” Smoke said. “Increasing median days-on-market suggests the market is finding more of a balance, but demand is still strong. This bodes well for more moderate price appreciation in the months ahead.”

“We have reviewed the data and taking into account less than perfect seasonal adjustment techniques at a very seasonal time for housing and the differing baseline metrics used in the various indicators, we’re comfortable that the market remains strong despite of these recent mixed signals,” stated Smoke.

The 20 hottest markets in the country in July, ranked by number of views per listing on and the median age of inventory in each market, follow.

hottest markets

Posted by on Aug 4, 2015 in Jim's Take on the Market, Local Flavor | 4 comments