Move over, Silicon Beach: El Segundo wants in on the tech boom action.

The Urban Land Institute just completed a study for the city that suggests ways it can develop its own creative office space hub that would compete with Santa Monica and Venice, where Google Inc. occupies more than 100,000 square feet and is looking for more space.

The focus of the plan is the former industrial neighborhood known as Smoky Hollow, bounded by the Chevron oil refinery, Pacific Coast Highway and El Segundo’s downtown corridor.

Urban Land Institute consultants conducted the study to help the city identify amenities and services it needs to provide to attract creative firms and become an incubator area for startups. The study, released last week, found that the neighborhood’s industrial feel, small midcentury buildings and beachside locale will be attractive to such firms. Building prices are also advantageous, coming in at least $325 a square foot cheaper than Santa Monica.

But to be truly competitive, the city needs to increase its fiberoptic connections, add parking and amend its specific plan to encourage adaptive reuse, because creative companies seem to be attracted to a concrete-floor, bare-ceiling aesthetic.

City administrators are preparing recommendations for the City Council, including investment in the concept.

City Manager Greg Carpenter believes more tech firms in the area would lead to more vitality throughout El Segundo.

“Those folks will shop and dine in downtown and give it a shot in the arm,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for the city to create some additional identity for itself and its district. A lot of the value is having more people working in El Segundo and supporting other businesses here.”

Hot Sale

Certainly the multifamily market is hot all over Los Angeles County, but in desirable Santa Monica, the sale prices for apartment buildings seem to be rising more rapidly each month.

An eight-unit apartment property at 522 San Vicente Blvd. sold for $500,000 a unit, for a total of $4 million, in the highest per-unit sales price in the market in the last 12 months.

But that sale only barely beats another one just a month earlier, when a nine-unit property at 2101 California Ave. sold for $427,778 a unit, or $3.85 million, at the time the highest per-unit price in a year.

A private group under a limited liability corporation named San Vicente bought 522 San Vicente from Francis Claire Drooz Family Trust in June.


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