Miracle Mile Residential Association Newsletter • September 2015

Miracle Mile
Residential Association

Newsletter • September 2015 • Los Angeles, California                                                                                                    

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Miracle Mile HPOZ Community Meeting
Saturday • September 19th • 11 AM
Candela 831 S. La Brea Ave

The second Miracle Mile Historical Preservation Overlay Zone [HPOZ] Community Meeting will be held this coming Saturday, September 19, at 11 AM. The meeting will be held in the ballroom at Candela [aka Leonardo’s], 831 S. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90036.
Flyers were mailed to every resident within the boundaries of the proposed HPOZ and lawn signs were also posted throughout the area to promote the meeting.

Miracle Mile HPOZ boundaries. Click on map to enlarge.
Community participation and input is critical to the success of the Miracle Mile HPOZ. Full and honest communication is the top priority of the HPOZ Committee. This outreach event will provide the residents – renters and property owners – with an opportunity to learn more about the details of living in an Historic Preservation Overlay Zone.
The meeting will be hosted by Mark Zecca, Chairperson of the Miracle Mile HPOZ Committee. HPOZ experts will be present to answers questions from the community. Renata Dragland from the City of Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources; Katie Horak, a Senior Associate with Architectural Resources Group; and Robby O’Donnell, a founder of the Wilshire Park HPOZ, will be on the panel. MMRA President James O’Sullivan will also be on hand.
Among the many topics that will be discussed are how the Preservation Plan for the Miracle Mile HPOZ will be developed, how the HPOZ will be administered, and  the approval process for repairs or alterations to properties within the HPOZ.
The Lopez family – the owners of Candela – have generously provided the use of their ballroom at no cost to the community. The first Miracle Mile HPOZ community meeting was held at Candela in January. As with the first meeting, this meeting will be video taped and posted on the MMRA Channel on YouTube. [Here’s a link to the video of the January HPOZ meeting].

Visit the Miracle Mile HPOZ website
for more information.


HPOZ Fundraising Campaign Launched

HPOZ Fundraising Campaign Launched
The MMRA has earned a reputation as one of the most active and effective neighborhood associations in Los Angeles, but we are not a wealthy organization. Over the years we have carefully managed our funds – which allows us to maintain a website, publish this newsletter, commission neighborhood traffic studies, engage expert consultants to review proposed developments, and pay for other expenses necessary to ensure the quality of life for the residents of the Miracle Mile.
Financing the creation of the Miracle Mile HPOZ is the single largest commitment the MMRA has ever incurred. The cost of preparing the historic research and reports required by the City is $60,000. The cost of our HPOZ outreach – meetings, printing, postage, lawn signs  – is approaching $10,000. The MMRA has made this financial commitment to the Miracle Mile because it is the only permanent way to save our historic neighborhood and to stop mansionization and over-development. Your financial support is urgently needed to help make this happen.
Joe Steins, MMRA Treasurer and longtime homeowner; and Ken Hixon, MMRA Vice-President and longtime renter, offer their perspectives below on why homeowners and renters alike should contribute to help the MMRA absorb the cost of creating the Miracle Mile Historic Preservation Overlay Zone.

And to those who have already contributed: Thank you...

Contribute to the Miracle Mile HPOZ Fund
We suggest a $250 donation from homeowners and a $50 donation from renters – but we will be very grateful for any amount you care to contribute. Thank you.
or you can send a check payable to:
Miracle Mile Residential Association • P.O. Box 361295
L.A., CA 90036-9495
Please print and complete this PDF form to accompany your check.
PLEASE NOTE: Financial contributions to the Miracle Mile Residential Association will not qualify you for a tax deduction. The MMRA is not a charitable organization, it is a non-profit civic entity organized exclusively for the promotion of social welfare of its membership under 501 (c) (4) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). All funds contributed to the HPOZ Fund will be used exclusively for costs directly associated with the creation of the Miracle Mile HPOZ.


The Miracle Mile HPOZ: A Cost Benefit Analysis for Homeowers


The Miracle Mile HPOZ:
A Cost Benefit Analysis for Homeowners
by Joe Steins, MMRA Treasurer

One of the many advantages to owning a home in an Historic Preservation Overlay Zone – like Hancock Park or Carthay Circle – is the financial benefit. There are many national studies that demonstrate how the value of a home is enhanced by being in an historic district (see the links below). 
Of course, that doesn’t mean that homes in an HPOZ are immune from overall market forces. If we’ve learned anything from housing bubbles it’s the well-worn cliché that what goes up can come down. But many realtors and homeowners testify that homes in an HPOZ recover their value faster after a crash.
Before I make my case for the financial benefits of an HPOZ, I want to emphatically state that this is only my opinion based on my research. No one can make any hard and fast guarantees about just how much an HPOZ will improve the value of your property – though the evidence seems to indicate that it will. But, again, this is my subjective point of view. With that said, I present to you this hypothetical example:
A single-family home in the Miracle Mile commands a sale price in the vicinity of $1,200,000 (some homes sell above this price). But to keep things simple let’s take a “hypothetical” $1,000,000 home and build a McMansion next door to it. According to local realtors, unless the majority of homes on this block are also McMansions, the value of the older $1,000,000 home next door to this gargantuan McMansion can suffer as much as a 10% decline in price. Now our “hypothetical” house is worth $900,000.
So, as long as the possibility exists that a McMansion could pop up next door, your house might not be worth as much as you think it is. It’s all a matter of whether you sell it before or after a McMansion speculator targets your neighbor.
Now let’s place our “hypothetical” home in an HPOZ. Based on a comparison of prices of homes in an HPOZ (like Miracle Mile North or Windsor Square) to nearby non-HPOZ homes, the HPOZ homes command an additional 10-to-20% in price. But let’s split the difference and say that HPOZ enhances home prices by 15%. Now our “hypothetical” home, no longer threatened with devaluation from McMansions, will see its value grow from $1,000,000 to $1,150,000.
The question is which “hypothetical” home would you like to own? Given the $250,000 difference in these scenarios the answer is obvious.
The next question is: If you were the owner of this “hypothetical” home wouldn't it be a a prudent investment to contribute $250 – one-tenth of one-percent of that $250,000 difference in valuation –  to support the creation on an HPOZ?
Now, I will dispense with hypotheticals and ask a final question: Are you willing to contribute $250 to protect the historical heritage of our lovely neighborhood and your most valuable asset – your home? Because, by any calculation, the increased value of your property will far exceed $250 once the Miracle Mile HPOZ is established. 
A $250 contribution to the Miracle Mile HPOZ Fund could be the most profitable home improvement you’ll ever make.
For additional information:
The Impact of Historic Districts on Residential Property Values
Connecticut Local Historic Districts and Property Values
Historic Preservation and Residential Property Values: An Analysis of Texas Cities
Benefits of Residential Historic District Designation for Property Owners
Historic Districts Are Good for Your Pocketbook: The Impact of Local Historic Districts on House Prices in South Carolina


Why HPOZ Matters for Renters



Why HPOZ Matters for Renters
by Ken Hixon, MMRA Vice President

The majority of Historic Preservation Overlay Zones in Los Angeles contain only single-family homes, but the proposed Miracle Mile HPOZ also contains multi-family buildings. Duplexes, fourplexes, and apartment buildings are included in the HPOZ because they are part of the original historic fabric of the Miracle Mile. Like the homes in our neighborhood, our vintage multi-family buildings reflect the styles and fine craftsmanship of their time. Some of these buildings were designed by notable architects including Edith Northman and Rudolph Schindler.
The Miracle Mile has always had a substantial population of renters. This is why the MMRA is not a typical “homeowner’s association.” From its creation in 1983, the MMRA has been an organization that represents the interests of all its residents – renters and property owners alike. Half of the Executive Board of the MMRA are renters, as are many of our board members.
The well-built and diverse stock of multi-family units in our community – coupled with the Rent Stabilization Ordinance adopted by the City in 1978 – has provided the Miracle Mile with a many longtime renters. By virtue of the length of their tenancy these renters are more likely to take an active interest in the community. Longtime renters are not only active in the MMRA, they also serve on the Mid City West Community Council, and volunteer their time to other worthy neighborhood causes and organizations.
But just as McMansions have threatened to overwhelm the scale and charm of our single-family homes, so does unchecked development threaten our inventory of historic multi-family buildings. Los Angeles is confronting an affordable housing crisis as older buildings are demolished to make way for supersized “luxury” apartment developments that are exempt from the Rent Stabilization Ordinance. These new high-density properties offer only short term leases with ever-escalating rents that create a constant turnover of tenants. This is evidenced by the number of moving trucks that can be seen loading and unloading every day at the newer apartment complexes lining Wilshire Boulevard.
The threat to our vintage multi-family buildings is heightened by the City’s grand plans for Transit Oriented Development [TOD] which would greatly increase density in areas within one-half mile of a major transit hub. The Purple Line subway extension is placing two such hubs on Wilshire at La Brea and at Fairfax. TOD could eradicate the historic housing north of 8th Street and replace it with more mega-complexes looming over the homes to the south. 
This sort of hyper development would multiply the traffic, parking, and noise problems that the community is already enduring. It would also displace longtime renters and replace them with a more transient group of tenants who are more inclined to view the Miracle Mile as a pit stop – not a neighborhood.
HPOZ will not only maintain the architectural heritage of the entire Miracle Mile by preserving our historic multi-family buildings it will also protect the only vestige of affordable housing in the Miracle Mile by saving rent stabilized units. 
I have rented in the Miracle Mile for nearly 30 years. My children have grown up here. When my wife and I moved here we were looking for not only a comfortable duplex with vintage details, we were also looking for a great neighborhood for our children. We found that here. But the very charm, stability, and history that attracted us to the Miracle Mile in the first place is now imperiled. This is why I implore my fellow renters to financially support the creation of the Miracle Mile HPOZ – without it we stand to lose the most.
For additional information:

City of Los Angeles: Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Handbook
KPCC: Ellis Act evictions in L.A. on the rise


Historic Profile of Every Property in Miracle Mile HPOZ Released


Historic Profile of Every Property
in Miracle Mile HPOZ Released

Example of a DPR form. Click on image to enlarge.
Architectural Resources Group [ARG] has submitted the final draft of the Miracle Mile Historic Resources Survey Report to the HPOZ Committee for review. ARG has also completed the DPR forms for every property in the HPOZ.
“DPR” is an acronym for the California Department of Parks and Recreation. A DPR form is a standardized state form for documenting historic resources. It includes key information – property description, original architect, builder, and owner (if known) – and a photograph of every property within the historic district. The DPR form for your property or residence can be reviewed by clicking the apropriate link below.
The Historic Resources Survey Report and DPR forms, which will be official submitted to the City this week, are a prerequisite for applying for Historic Preservation Overlay Zone status.
“We are very pleased with ARG,” said HPOZ Chairperson Mark Zecca. “They have done excellent work and completed the project on budget and on time.”
ARG Senior Associate Katie Horak will be at the Miracle Mile HPOZ community meeting on September 19 to answer questions about the historic survey of the Miracle Mile and how the reports were compiled.


When the Miracle Mile was LAX


When the Miracle Mile was LAX


View looking north over the wing of a plane showing the intersection of Fairfax
and Wilshire, circa 1922. (Water and Power Associates)


In the first decade of the 20th Century flight captured the imagination of the world. Southern California played a key role in the invention of the aviation industry, beginning in 1910 when the first American air show was staged at Dominguez Field (in what is now the City of Carson). The exhibition drew leading innovators and pilots from around the globe – as well as a quarter million spectators who marveled at the daredevil displays of these flying machines.
Prominent members of the Hollywood community were soon bitten by the flying bug, the most notable being the famed director Cecil B. DeMille (1881-1959) and Sydney Chaplin (1885-1965), the older half-brother of Charlie Chaplin. Although business competitors, they pioneered what would become the modern airline industry by offering the first scheduled commercial flights in the world.

DeMille [left], a founder of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, was the most commercially successful director of his time. His credits ranged from the Squaw Man to the Greatest Show on Earth and the Ten Commandments.
In 1918 DeMille founded the Mercury Aviation Company and built his first airfield, DeMille Field No. 1, across from the present location of Fairfax High School. Soon DeMille build a second airfield, DeMille Field No. 2, and moved his enterprise to the northwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue (which was then known as Crescent Avenue).
Mercury Aviation operated a fleet of surplus World War I “Jennys” and offered popular sightseeing trips and charter trips. The airfield featured a gas station at the intersection of Fairfax and Wilshire that fueled automobiles on one side and airplanes on the other side.
Mercury purchased its first new aircraft in the summer of 1920, a Junkers that was delivered to DeMille Field by famed flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker. In May 1921 Mercury launched regular scheduled flights carrying passengers to Santa Catalina Island, San Diego, and San Francisco, and other locales – becoming the first scheduled airline with multiple destinations in the world. The first passenger flight from New York to Los Angeles landed at DeMille Field No. 2.
In the two years or so it was in operation, Mercury transported over 25,000 passengers without a single injury – but flying was expensive and still too much of a novelty to be fully embraced by the traveling public. The Mercury Aviation Company proved to be unprofitable and DeMille shut down the airline by 1922.

Although no passengers were ever injured during the operation of Mercury Aviation, two of the most famous barnstormers of the era, Ormer “Lock” Locklear [above] and Milton “Skeets” Elliott, dramatically perished performing an aerial stunt for a silent picture filmed at DeMille Field in August 1920. The two pilots were nationally acclaimed for their aerobatics and daring-do. Locklear was the first man to transfer mid-air from one plane to another. Hollywood soon beckoned and Locklear was cast as the leading man of “The Skywayman.”
The dramatic climax of the film required Elliott to dive a plane, carrying himself and Locklear, into some nearby oil derricks and appear to crash. The stunt was shot a night so that the giant floodlights illuminating the maneuver for the camera could be switched off at the last second to conceal Elliott pulling out of the dive, but the electricians missed their cue and the lights stayed on. Elliott, blinded by the bright lights, crashed the spiraling plane and both men died instantly. Not inclined to waste a spectacular stunt, particular one as realistic as this, it was utilized in the finished film.
Mercury’s competitor in the air travel business was across the street at Chaplin Airfield, which was founded in 1919 by Sydney Chaplin. Chaplin was a stage performer and silent film actor before becoming his far more famous sibling’s business manager.
Chaplin Airfield was located on leased property that is now bounded by Wilshire Boulevard, Fairfax Avenue, and San Vincente Boulevard. The Syd Chaplin Aircraft Corporation advertised that it “maintained a fleet of newest Curtis one and two-passenger aeroplanes, large shops with complete equipment and hangars for our own ships as well as those belonging to business firms and individuals.”

The company offered observation flights for $10 and round-trip flights to San Diego for $150 (at a time when the average wage was $1,200). Obviously, the cost of air travel was very steep and Chaplin’s enterprise had a brief life span. Around 1920 Chaplin sold out to Emory H. Rogers, a business partner, who renamed it Rogers Field.
Rogers Field was touted as the largest airfield in the west and continued in operation for about ten years. Rogers offered free use of the field to the City of Los Angeles as a municipal airport, but the surrounding real estate was rapidly becoming too valuable.
In 1922 a developer named J. Harvey McCarthy began work on a residential district along the San Vicente Boulevard line of the Pacific Electric Railway. He utilized a derivative of his own surname and called the development Carthay Center. That same year another developer, A. W. Ross, and his partner, Hector N. Zahn, paid the then outlandish sum of $54,000 to acquire 18 acres of land along a dirt road that would become an extension of Wilshire Boulevard. The parcel, between La Brea and Fairfax Avenues, was ridiculed as “Ross’s Folly.” It is known today as the Miracle Mile.
By 1931 both DeMille Field and Rogers Field had disappeared from street maps and the Miracle Mile’s brief – but important – role in the creation of the commercial airline industry was over.

For more photos visit:
Miracle Mile Aviation History Photograph Gallery


Miracle Mile Real Estate • August 2015 Sales


Miracle Mile Real Estate
• August 2015 Sales •

903 S. Spaulding Ave.
3 bdrm; 3 bath
2,270 sq. ft
lot 6,381 sq. ft.
listed price: $1,649,000
sale price: $1,649,000
sale date: 8/18/2015

5804 W. 8th St.
duplex: 1 - 2 bdrm; 1 bath unit
1- 2 bdrm; 2 bath unit
2,958 sq. ft.
lot: 4,434 sq. ft.
listed price: $1,195,000
sale price: $1,160,000
sale date: 8/24/2015

5854 San Vicente Blvd.
duplex: 1 - 4 bdrm; 3 bath unit
1 - 3 bdrm; 2 bath unit
4,549 sq. ft.
lot: 4,713 sq. ft.
listed price: $1,745,000
sale price: $1,780,000
sale date: 8/6/2015


(...below the fold...)


MMRA Board Meeting
October 1, 2015
@ 7 PM

Board meetings are held at

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[Click on image to enlarge]

Miracle Mile

History Quiz

Here's a circa 1924 aerial photograph of the most famous site in the Miracle Mile. (And it's not Urban Lights.) What site is it?

Miracle Mile Farmers' Market
Every Wednesday 11 AM ~ 3 PM

Wilshire Courtyard

Miracle Mile
Residential Association

James O’Sullivan, President

Alice S. Cassidy, Vice President

Joseph Steins, Treasurer

Ken Hixon, Vice President
Director of Communications

Mark Zecca, Chairperson
Miracle Mile HPOZ Committe

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Copyright © 2015 Miracle Mile Residential Association.  All rights reserved.

Miracle Mile Residential Association
P.O. Box 361295
Los Angles, CA 90036-9495


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