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Harry Gesner, RIP

Hat tip to Rob Dawg for sending in the news that one of the most engaging architects of our time has passed away at age 97.  Harry lacked formal architecture training, but that didn’t stop him from designing 100+ houses.  My favorite is the Sandcastle (above), the house he built himself from reclaimed woods and other parts found at the junkyard. He lived there for the second half of his life, and he used to sit up in the tower to do his designing!

A couple of links to view his work:

https://www.pinterest.com/domester/harry-gesner-architect/

https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/harrygesner/

Here are quick interview questions plus a Vimeo film linked at the bottom with clips of the Sandcastle interior (at the 9:15-min mark) and his 1958 Mercedes Benz 190SL that he converted to electric power:

Modernism’s Maverick: A Conversation with Harry Gesner

The One Foreclosure

Even if this 12% ‘auction premium’ (commission) gets cut in half, every home seller and agent should take note of the commission structure at auctions – paid by the buyer!

The mega-mansion known as “The One” sold Thursday for $126 million at a bankruptcy auction. That’s a huge discount from its $295 million listing price, even with a 12 percent auction premium bringing the total to about $141 million.

The Bel-Air property set a new record for the costliest house sold at auction, but it fell well short of the California sales record set by venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, who purchased a Malibu estate for $177 million in October. The most ever spent on a U.S. residence was $238 million by hedge fund mogul Ken Griffin for a New York City penthouse in 2019. Several international sales have surpassed $300 million.

The buyer will be disclosed by March 8, when paperwork must be submitted to U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Deborah Saltzman, who will hold a hearing later this month on whether to approve the sale. It is possible that the winning bidder will be a limited liability company, a legal entity often used by the wealthy to hide their real estate purchases.

At least three dozen prospective buyers toured the 944 Airole Way property over the last couple of months, including billionaires from the Middle East, Asia and in California, The One’s listing agents have said.

The online auction opened Monday, with just a handful of participants bidding before the final gavel. Most of the action occurred in the last few minutes.

The price amounted to well less than the roughly $190 million in debt carried by the property, meaning that many creditors will take losses.

The largest single creditor is Los Angeles billionaire Don Hankey, who lent $106 million to the dream project of developer Nile Niami. The lender claims he is owed more than $130 million in secured debt, including money he provided in bankruptcy to repair and spiff up the property for sale.

Hankey, who previously said he might bid for the property if it was severely underpriced at the auction, said he did not make a bid. He said the price should allow him to recover the cash he put into the project, but added that he was surprised at how low the final price was.

“The guy who bought it just got a great deal. He’s got people willing to pay $50,000 a day just to do commercials and films,” he said.

The hilltop home, said to be 105,000 square feet, was marketed for $500 million several years ago while under construction but didn’t find a buyer. It was placed into bankruptcy in October after Hankey foreclosed on the $106 million in debt defaulted on by Crestlloyd, the limited liability company established by Niami that legally owns the project.

The One is just the latest L.A. trophy home to end up in bankruptcy following a blitz of costly development in the region’s glitzy hillsides and coastal communities.

Concierge Auctions, a luxury online auction house that handled The One’s sale, last year set an auction record when it sold a Beverly Park home for $51 million — but that was still more than $100 million off its original asking price.

How much The One would go for has been something of a parlor game in the luxury real estate community, with some thinking it is the ultimate trophy home and others declaring it a white elephant.

The property includes a 4,000-square-foot guesthouse, a sky deck with cabanas, a private theater, a full-service spa, a nightclub and even an outdoor running track and moat. It has 21 bedrooms and 42 full bathrooms.

Link to Article

Read the YouTube comments for a chuckle!

Historical Photos, 2021

Some of the better historical photos I saw this year!

Top Gun house, 1880

Bauer Lumber on State Street in Carlsbad, 1930s

Carlsbad in the late-1950s

Date unknown – maybe late-1970s or early-1980s?

Encinitas in 1932

Enlarge this Del Mar/Solana Beach photo and it’s still hard to find a house….in 1941!

The Del Mar/La Jolla border in 1960!

La Jolla Windansea, 1930

Culver-Myers-Capp House

Here is my video tour of the oldest home in Carlsbad.  The owners prefer if the buyer preserves the house, and it is only right – it is the only thing like it in town.

Hopefully the large 1.27-acre lot will enable the new owners to develop the remaining land to fulfill their investment, or just create the ultimate family compound!

Special thanks to Compass listing agent Gina Vreeberg for allowing me to publish this video tour of the oldest house in Carlsbad! @ginavreesellsre

https://www.compass.com/listing/3140-highland-drive-carlsbad-ca-92008/748996408467865465/

Culver House

This historic home built on 1.27 acres in 1887 will be on the market for $2,995,000. From the U-T:

The owners of a Queen Anne architectural gem in Carlsbad have appealed to the city in hopes of saving the historic house from the wrecking ball.

“The home was built by Alonzo Jackson Culver, who also built the Twin Inns,” states a letter from Rebecca Holbert and Paul Abodeely, two of the eight family members who inherited the property.

The Twin Inns were mirror-image Queen Anne-style mansions built in the 1880s on what is today Carlsbad Boulevard. In the early 1900s, they were restaurants famous for their chicken dinners among coastal travelers.

One of the twins, known as the Wadsworth mansion, was torn down in 1950. The other most recently was occupied by the Land & Water Co. restaurant, which closed in October 2019, but the building remains part of Village Faire shopping center at the corner of Carlsbad Boulevard and Carlsbad Village Drive.

“Leftover lumber from the Twin Inns was used to build this sister home,” said Hollbert and Abodeely, whose great uncle Gerald Capp purchased the Culver House on one acre at the corner of Highland Drive and Oak Avenue in 1969.

Originally, the house was on 30 acres and had numerous outbuildings, including a blacksmith shop and a well house. It was built entirely with manual labor using pine from Julian, wooden nails, limestone, rock and sand, according to old news stories.

Capp lived in the Culver House until his recent death. He installed an electrical system, repaired the stained glass windows, plumbed the house for an indoor bathroom to replace the outhouse, and planted many of the Torrey pines, fruit trees and cacti that still grow on the property.

Also known as the Culver-Myers-Capp House, it is one of 19 properties that the City Council designated as local sites of historic interest in 1986. The artist Gertrude Myers, considered the “Grandma Moses” of Carlsbad, lived there from 1936 until her death in 1965.

In recent years without an occupant the two-story building has fallen into disrepair, which the family hopes could be resolved by new owners.

“The reality is that the house will likely need to be sold and the proceeds divided,” the letter states. “We do not want this house to be torn down and the land divided. We are writing in the hopes that the city … might be able to purchase the house and land in order to preserve it as a historic landmark and park for the enjoyment of the people of Carlsbad.”

The Carlsbad Historic Preservation Commission reviewed the family’s request at its March 8 meeting and agreed to ask the City Council to consider ways the property might be preserved.

“I’m not saying the city should buy it, necessarily,” said Commissioner Lauri Boone. “But there has to be some way to preserve this unique property and its history. There is an estate house, a carriage house and a second lot with old cars on it. There are so many creative ways this can be worked out.”

The Mills Act Program is one tool available, said Carlsbad Planning Commissioner Alicia Lafferty, an alternate member of the Historic Preservation Commission.

The program is an economic incentive provided by the state with oversight by the city for the restoration of qualified historic buildings by private property owners.

“This is a local historic resource … a really important piece of architecture … fast being lost,” Lafferty said.

Link to U-T Article

 

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