Liberal, stylish and at times hedonistic, West Hollywood is famous for its all-night entertainment, youthful culture, beautiful people and palm tree-lined streets with views of the iconic Hollywood sign.
Situated in the heart of Los Angeles County, West Hollywood (or WeHo as it’s called) is between Beverly Hills and East Hollywood, and it lies at the foot of the Hollywood Hills. It is not a defined area but it goes as far as La Brea Avenue to the east, Doheny Drive to the west, Beverly Boulevard to the southeast and slightly beyond Sunset Boulevard to the north.
“Two-bedroom condos cost on average $750,000 to $800,000,” said Sharona Alperin, of Sotheby’s International Realty Sunset Strip Brokerage. “They can start from as little as $500,000 and go up to $4 million.”
The average two-bedroom house costs about $2 million, according to Ms. Alperin and Zach Goldsmith of Hilton & Hyland, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate.
Sierra Towers is West Hollywood’s most iconic and ritziest condo building and prices are all but guaranteed to be in the seven-figure range there. Dating from the 1960s, the 31-story building is known for its sweeping views of the city and high-end amenities. It has 24-hour security, a concierge service, valets and porters as well as a gym and swimming pool. Many residences are used as second homes and the building attracts a number of British buyers. It also has a celebrity cachet: It is the former residence of many famous names including Ozzy Osbourne, Matthew Perry and Cher.
The combination of the “services and design, along with the views and location make it highly sought-after,” Mr. Goldsmith said.
Ms. Alperin added: “There are very few portered buildings in West Hollywood, which makes it an exclusive building. Prices start from about $3 million.”
The city has a mix of rental apartments, condos and single-family houses. Houses are the most abundant type of housing.
Extending to just 1.9 square miles, WeHo has some of the smallest plots in Los Angeles, according to Ms. Alperin. Houses tend to have only two to three bedrooms and apartment and condo buildings rarely come with communal gardens.
Spanish Revival-style bungalows are prominent. Dating from the 1920s and 1930s, they have an attractive, rustic look, featuring whitewashed exteriors, red tiled roofs and archways.
Meanwhile, a new large hotel and condo development is set to breathe new life into an area of the iconic Sunset Strip. The residential part, which is being built by the developer CIM, will feature 190 luxury studio, one and two-bedroom condos. Known as The Residences at 8500 Sunset, it is said to be launching to the market soon but prices have yet to be released.
“This area was big in the 1980s when rock and roll was at the height of its popularity, but it has slowly lost its edge and now it is getting a new look and becoming more high end,” Mr. Goldsmith said.
What makes it unique?
The location, nightlife, scenery, its close-knit community are what draw people to West Hollywood,“ Mr. Goldsmith said. I”t is only 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles, yet it has a small-town feel.”
“It’s so central and completely walkable,” Ms. Alperin said. “In a weekend, you can go to a great restaurant, go see a film, visit the park, the gym, and do it on foot. It has a lot to offer, which makes the housing so valuable.”
West Hollywood is known for its dynamic nightlife and cutting-edge venues and the billboard-laden Sunset Strip at the heart of it all. The Strip is home to the iconic rock clubs and bars such as The Viper Room and Whisky A Go Go, which are still popular.
During Hollywood’s Golden Age, from the 1930s to the early 1960s, West Hollywood’s nightclubs, bars and restaurants were where film stars and entertainers went to be seen. It later became a center for folk, rock and punk music. Today it is not quite as wild as it used to be, but there’s plenty of partying to be done there.
Considered a liberal and inclusive place, WeHo is a historic gay district and has a large LGBTQ community. Santa Monica Boulevard is home to many gay and lesbian nightclubs and restaurants.
It’s not all clubs and bars, though. There are a number of public parks, including West Hollywood Park, which has an outdoor pool, areas for playing soccer and volleyball, and basketball courts. For longer walks and good views, head to Runyon Canyon Park’s hiking trails.
For indoor days, the Los Angeles County Museum has a large collection of contemporary art, and West Hollywood Public Library, an elegant streamlined building, has a ground-floor café and views of the Hollywood Hills.
The restaurant scene has boomed in recent years. The western end of Melrose Avenue is a hot area, according to Ms. Alperin, and it is home to many trendy establishments. There’s Craig’s, an upscale restaurant that serves classic American cuisine; Au Fudge, a family-friendly bistro owned by Jessica Biel; and Gracias Madre, a vegan Mexican restaurant.
Catch, a rooftop seafood restaurant and bar, is also a dining hotspot. The members-only club and hotel Soho House offers dining and cocktails on its rooftop garden, along with a screening room. Delilah is a restaurant and lounge with a plush 1920s art deco style interior.
“The restaurant scene is off the charts,” Ms. Alperin said. “It’s a real highlight of the city and it makes it such an exciting place to live.”
Meanwhile, Bootsy Bellows is a 1960s art deco-inspired nightclub that is owned by David Arquette. Music fans head to the legendary Roxy Theatre, a nightclub which was once a popular celebrity hangout and is famous for its live music performances.
A popular shopping street, Melrose Avenue has shops with apparel for every budget, with its array of designer and vintage clothing stores, along with cool furniture stores.
When it comes to local schools, the Center for Early Education is highly regarded. Jay Z and Beyonce reportedly send their daughter, Blue Ivy, there.
Who lives there?
The neighborhood has a large gay community and draws aspiring artists and people starting out in the film and entertainment business. It is not hugely popular with families because the houses are quite small.
Lots of wealthy young people live here, but it is socially diverse, too, as there are rent-controlled apartments. “You can rent a one-bedroom home for as little as $800 a month,” Mr. Goldsmith said. “An equivalent property on the open market would cost as much as $1,500.”
Johnny Depp has owned a few different properties in the city. Mila Kunis and Katy Perry are former residents, too. Hollywood icons such as Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and Charlie Chaplin all once owned residences here.
West Hollywood has always been in demand and it is getting more popular, according to Mr. Goldsmith.
“Developers can’t build what they want as there are restrictions on height and density,” he said. “If you buy a house and knock it down, you can’t build on more than 40% of the plot, even if the original house was larger. It is to stop people from building oversized properties, or ‘McMansions’,” he said.
It’s always been a hip place to live but it’s gotten a lot hotter in the past few years, Ms. Alperin said. “The bars and restaurants are sexier and trendier. It does not have big lots but demand is high. Renovated properties sell particularly quickly.”
Courtesy of: Mansion Global and Claire Carponen