Wright Masterpiece Trades; Developers Upbeat on Office, Industrial Outlook

By Alex Girda, Associate Editor  In the wake of the recent spike in transaction volume enjoyed by the Los Angeles luxury residential market, an architectural masterpiece has taken the spotlight. Ennis House, a 1924 hilltop residence in the city’s Los Feliz [...]

 In the wake of the recent spike in transaction volume enjoyed by the Los Angeles luxury residential market, an architectural masterpiece has taken the spotlight. Ennis House, a 1924 hilltop residence in the city’s Los Feliz district designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, traded for $4.5 million. The 6,000-square-foot building fetched the relatively low price primarily because of damaged wreaked by nature, the Los Angeles Times reported. Heavy rainfall led to a partial collapse of the building in 2005, a decade after the structure had been pounded by the Jan. 1994 Northridge earthquake.

 Proceeds from the sale will be used to cover the balance of construction loan taken out by the non-profit Ennis House Foundation to restore the crippled masterpiece. About $6.5 million in repairs have been completed, with an estimated $6 million in repairs needed to restore Wright’s masterpiece, the largest of four “textile-block” houses the architect designed in California.

Developers in the Golden State’s major markets are upbeat about prospects for the next several years, according to the Allen Matkins/UCLA Anderson Forecast California Commercial Real Estate Survey. New development is expected to emerge first in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley office markets, followed closely by Los Angeles and San Diego, the survey found. On the industrial side, manufacturing will drive growth, particularly in Orange County and Silicon Valley.

“Optimism with respect to office and industrial market fundamentals in 2013 and 2014, which first appeared a year ago, is an important precursor to the re-start of commercial construction,” said Jerry Nickelsburg, senior economist for the forecast. “While the overall sluggishness of the general economic recovery will engender a slow recovery in commercial real estate as well, the prospects are improving.”