Home is where the heart is.
Santa Monica, California
Santa Monica Canyon
Ajacent to the Pacific Palisades and Sunset Boulevard facing out upon the Pacific Ocean is Santa Monica Canyon. With winding roads and steep canyon walls this small enclave shares more with wooded Topanga Canyon than the city of Santa Monica. Home to musicians, movie stars, and aging beach bums, Santa Monica Canyon is not, in fact, part of the City of Santa Monica at all. Rather, this misleadingly named neighborhood is part of the city of Los Angeles, and its Canyon Charter Elementary School is one of the most prestigious elementary schools in the LAUSD. The border between Santa Monica and the Palisades is Chautauqua Blvd.
North of San Vicente
San Vicente Boulevard is the northernmost major street in Santa Monica. Homes north of San Vicente Blvd are among the most expensive in Los Angeles County and often contain views of the Pacific Ocean or the picturesque Santa Monica Canyon. La Mesa Street is one of the most expensive and least known in the city, planted with a dense canopy of rare Moreton Bay fig trees the street makes a picturesque walking location. Twenty blocks closer to the ocean the Santa Monica Steps are a popular set of 189 very steep steps that lead down into the canyon. Rather than being used as a convenient direct route from the Canyon Charter school to Adelade drive, they are more often utilized for intense workouts and are an excellent place for spotting sweating celebrities. Streets north of San Vicente are usually short and contain large gated homes. This is part of the 90402 zip code.
North of Montana
South of San Vicente and north of Montana Avenue consist of small homes and larger family lots. The streets in this portion of Santa Monica are Georgina, Marguerita, Alta, Carlyle, and Brentwood Terrace from 4th to 26th Street. Along with the area north of San Vicente and Santa Monica Canyon, this area constitutes the 90402 zip code. Houses are extremely expensive here and among the most expensive in Los Angeles County and the country, and streets are filled with greenery. The most expensive homes are located just north of San Vicente on La Mesa Drive where presently (02/04/2008) there is a 5 bedroom, 8 bathroom, 8,451-square-foot (785.1 m2) home on a 22,860-square-foot (2,124 m2) lot, built in 1981 on the market for $12,500,000. Most of the lot sizes are 7,500 square feet (700 m2) on 50' X 150' lots. The Gillette's Regent Square tract, developed by King Gillette - the razor blade manufacturer, are 60' wide lots. Present land value as of 02/04/2008 is approximately $260 per square foot for a well located lot.
This area is served by 2 highly regarded public elementary schools - Franklin School for the residents on 15th through the west side of 26th and Roosevelt for the families on 14th Street down to Ocean Ave.
During Halloween, the streets here are famous for their prevalence of trick or treaters.
Montana Avenue is home to two elementary schools, several condos, and dozens of upscale stores. There are three Starbucks (one inside Pavilions) two of which are located between 7th St. and 9th St., one Coffee Bean, and one Peet's Coffee and Tea among several independently owned cafes and coffee shops. The businesses run from glamorous boutiques with only a few chain stores to neighborhood pharmacies and a Blockbuster. Very pricey condos can be found mostly just south of Montana Ave. Montana Ave. is also home to The Aero Theater which shows classic movies and hosts filmmakers after their films are shown. The theater is operated by The American Cinematheque. Every December and June the Montana Ave. Association hosts a neighborhood wide sale and festival where stores give holiday discounts, give free samples of food, or have clearance sales to make room for a new season of clothing.
North of Wilshire
North of Wilshire, but South of Montana Avenue, is a primarily residential neighborhood. Laid out on a consistent grid of numbered streets, there are many mid-sized homes and condominiums. On its westernmost end this neighborhood includes a number of well preserved Victorian duplex houses otherwise unique in the city. Smaller craftsman era bungalows line the east-west avenues like Idaho, Washington, and California. Lincoln Middle School is on 14th Street and California Ave. At the corner of California Avenue and 22nd is the original Gehry House, a deconstructive masterpiece that signaled a dramatic shift in Frank Gehry's architectural style. Real estate is exceptionally expensive in this neighborhood, albeit slightly less expensive than the more stately properties north of Montana.
Ocean Avenue is a major thoroughfare in Santa Monica that runs along the Palisades Park, with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Real estate is extremely expensive here, as all residences have a full view of the beach and Pacific Ocean. South of California Ave are several hotels, restaurants, businesses, and homes. The Santa Monica Pier is located at Ocean Ave and Colorado Ave.
Downtown Santa Monica
Downtown Santa Monica is located south of California Avenue. The streets that make up downtown Santa Monica are Wilshire Boulevard, Arizona Avenue, Santa Monica Boulevard, Broadway, and Colorado Avenue from 2nd street to 14th street. The Third Street Promenade and Santa Monica Place are located in the heart of downtown. Many restaurants, tourist sites, and hotels are in downtown Santa Monica. In particular, Santa Monica Boulevard has an abundance of car dealerships.
Midtown Santa Monica
Comprising most of the 90404 zip code Midtown Santa Monica stretches from 14th street to Centinela at its westernmost and easternmost extremities, and California Avenue to Olympic Boulevard in its north and south. Alternating between major thoroughfares and quiet residential lanes, Midtown is less congested with tourists than many other parts of the city. Planned on a regular grid, Midtown Santa Monica was once home to a number of picturesque Craftsman houses and brightly painted Victorians, though only occasional examples of these can still be found. In the early 1940s the first wave of suburbanization overtook this part of the city and many preexisting structures were razed and replaced with tiny square California Bungalows with green lawns and small, private backyards. In the 1960s a large number of these increasingly dilapidated structures were demolished in favor of four and five unit condominium complexes and apartments. The easternmost edge of Midtown Santa Monica, often referred to as the "college streets" where Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, and Berkeley intersect with Wilshire Boulevard, represents one of the city's primary gateways. Commemorating the spot where the cities of Santa Monica and Los Angeles (Brentwood neighborhood) share a border is the "Wave" a sculpture by Tony De Lap arching over Wilshire Boulevard near Franklin.
The Pico District is a heavily Latino lower income section of Santa Monica. Before the 1960s, the neighborhood was much larger and was an important African-American enclave on the Westside, but when the Santa Monica Freeway opened in the 1960s, it destroyed much of the neighborhood and relocated many of its residents. Its boundaries are Lincoln Blvd to the west, Centinela Ave to the east, Colorado Ave to the north and Pico Blvd to the south. The Santa Monica Freeway runs through the area with access near both Lincoln Boulevard and Olympic Blvd. Santa Monica High School and Santa Monica College are both on Pico. Pico Blvd in Santa Monica has traffic lights at nearly every block, as well as local and middle class businesses. This is the most ethnically diverse area of Santa Monica, and is rapidly becoming gentrified. Nonetheless, there are still gang activities.
Located in the southwest corner of Santa Monica is the Ocean Park neighborhood. This neighborhood has a mix of older smaller homes and apartment buildings and condos. Several housing towers are located along the beach. The area has a funky, artsy feel similar in manner to its neighbor Venice Beach. Many Santa Monica residents come to shop/browse on Main Street, home of many boutiques and restaurants. Main Street also hosts a weekly farmer's market on Sundays. SMASH (an alternative school) and John Muir elementary schools are located in the neighborhood. Olympic High, an alternative high school is also located in the area.
Sunset Park is a residential neighborhood located between Pico Boulevard and the southern city limits and Lincoln Boulevard and eastern city limits. It is composed primarily of single-family housing. Most of the homes are small one-story houses built in the 1940s for workers at the Douglas Aircraft Factory. Remodeled or rebuilt homes are upscale.
Sunset Park is part of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. Will Rogers and Grant elementary schools and John Adams Middle School are located in the neighborhood. Santa Monica College, a two-year community college, is also located in Sunset Park.
Santa Monica TORCA Condominium Conversions
Have you looked at buying a condo in Santa Monica and wondered what it means when you see TORCA Conversion listed? TORCA = Tenant Ownership Rights Charter Amendment. So What does that mean?
In 1984 Santa Monica voters approved the Tenant Ownership Rights Charter Amendment through which an apartment building could be converted to condominiums if a sufficient number of tenants approved the conversion and agreed to purchase their units. The City of Santa Monica offered shared appreciation loans to qualifying tenants to help them purchase their converted units.
Note: If the seller of the property you are looking at was an original purchaser of a TORCA property and if they utilized the shared appreciation program, it should be reflected in the Preliminary Title report and must be addressed by the listing agent and escrow officer.
Note: Protections were built in for tenants who did not wish to purchase their units, even today there are still many units with original TORCA Tenants (the listing will say Tenant Occupied by TORCA Tenant). These original tenants are protected by very strict rules under the TROCA Charter. Once a tenant moves and the unit is bought and owner-occupied the TORCA Tenant rules cease to apply.
The City of Santa Monica has new and improved TORCA Shared Appreciation Loans for low and moderate income households, to assist them to buy condominiums in buildings which have been converted under TORCA.
To find out more go to: http://www01.smgov.net/housing/TORCA.htm
Santa Monica Reduces Speed Limits at a Dozen Intersections
By Lookout Staff
August 17, 2009 -- Motorists will have to slow down at a dozen Santa Monica locations after the City Council last week reduced the speed limit by 5 mph.
The move -- which must be approved on second reading -- came after the City studied traffic patterns at 103 locations to comply with a State law that requires municipalities to conduct a traffic survey every five to ten years.
The survey gauges roadway conditions as well as use by pedestrians and bicyclists, said Andrew Maximous, the City's transportation engineer.
Four of the 12 locations where speed limits were reduced are on 4th Street, two are on Wilshire Boulevard and another two on Main Street.
Not all streets will see traffic slow down.
The speed limits on Colorado Avenue between Ocean Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard and on 2nd Street between Wilshire Boulevard and Colorado Avenue will increase from 25 to 30 mph, which is the limit throughout the Downtown.
At the following locations, the speed limits will be reduced by 5 mph:
1. Olympic Boulevard between 11th Street and 15th Street from 45 MPH to 40 MPH
2. Ocean Park Boulevard between 23rd Street and Centinela Avenue from 40 MPH to 35 MPH
3. Wilshire Boulevard between Lincoln Boulevard and 17th Street from 35 MPH to 30 MPH
4. Wilshire Boulevard between 17th Street and Centinela Avenue from 35 MPH to 30 MPH
5. 4th Street between San Vicente Boulevard and Montana Avenue from 30 MPH to 25 MPH
6. 4th Street between Montana Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard from 30 MPH to 25 MPH
7. 4th Street between Pico Boulevard and Ocean Park Boulevard from 30 MPH to 25 MPH
8. 4th Street between Ocean Park Boulevard and south City Limit from 30 MPH to 25 MPH
9. 5th Street between Montana Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard from 30 MPH to 25 MPH
10. Main Street between Pico Boulevard and Ocean Park Boulevard from 30 MPH to 25 MPH
11. Main Street between Ocean Park Boulevard and south City Limit from 30 MPH to 25 MPH
12. Ocean Avenue between Pico Boulevard and Hollister Avenue from 30 MPH to 25 MPH
The changes are in large part a response to complaints from residents during public input gathered to update the City's Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE), which will dictate development and traffic patterns for the next quarter century.
Santa Monica Beach Parks
Ocean Front Walk (south of SM Pier) at Seaside Terrace
Beach Park #1
Ocean Park Boulevard and Barnard Way / at the beach
Picnic tables, 1 children's playground, 1,493 beach parking spaces (fee), and 2 beach restroom buildings
Ocean Front Walk, south of SM Pier, on the beach
South Beach Park
Explore Santa Monica:
Support your local community.
Santa Monica's four weekly farmers markets are widely considered to be among the best on the west coast and feature field-fresh produce, hundreds of kinds of vegetables, brilliant cut flowers, breads, cheeses, delicious foods, live music and more.
WEDNESDAYS: Arizona Ave & 2nd St. 8:30am - 1:30pm. SATURDAYS: Arizona & 3rd St. 8:30am - 1:30pm and 2200 Virginia Ave 8:00am-1:00pm. SUNDAY: 2460 Main Street 9:30am-1:00pm.
Visit City of Santa Monica Website