The news points to an accelerating local real estate trend.
The announcement that Hollywood legend Meryl Streep and her husband just bought a $3.6 million estate atop the rim of the Arroyo capped a year of Pasadena home purchases by high-profile movie and television actresses in what appears to be an accelerating local real estate trend.
The five Hollywood stars all selected mid-century modern-styled homes with gorgeous views of the local mountains. Local real estate experts point to the relatively reasonable pricing of larger secluded properties here, the stunning views, their yearning for privacy and Pasadena’s respectful culture.
The year started with Mandy Moore’s $2.6 million Pasadena purchase after selling the house she shared with ex-husband Ryan Adams.
Moore since joined in selecting Pasadena over Hollywood by Rachel Bilson, Summer Bishil, Kristen Wiig, and now, Meryl Streep.
“I think a lot of it has to do with both pricing and more privacy,” said Bill Podley, Chairman of Pasadena-based realty company Podley Properties.
He continued that many beautiful Pasadena estates designed by world-famous architects and sitting on large plots of land are available in Pasadena for only 50 to 75 percent of what a similar property costs on the west side.
“One might think that a higher paid entertainer wouldn’t be so greatly concerned, but I think everyone thinks about those things these days,” Podley said.
Location, Location, Location
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Realtor Nick Borelli added that Pasadena is “close to downtown and there is less traffic up here. It’s a lot easier to get around (than Hollywood).”
Borelli agreed that for the money, many Pasadena estates offer “a lot more space to make it more private.”
Additionally, Steve Clark, founder of the Clarkliving team at Compass, notes that there’s been a general eastward movement in terms of neighborhood desirability. “Pasadena has always been one of LA’s preeminent suburbs. There’s a timeless elegance to Pasadena. We’ve got walkability, privacy, views of the San Gabriel mountains, history, culture, and a wealth of phenomenal architecture.”
Michael Bell, one of the top agents in Pasadena who as a Broker-Associate regularly deals with many Hollywood agents and was the listing agent for the seller of the house bought by Rachael Bilson, observed that “Westsiders are discovering Pasadena because we have almost everything but the beach and the traffic, and our real estate is incredibly affordable.”
Streep and husband Don Grummer bought a well-maintained, late-1950s mid-century modern residence privately tucked into the affluent foothills in Pasadena, according to Variety. Whitney Smith and Wayne Williams designed the 1959 home located on one of Pasadena’s most prestigious streets above the rugged Arroyo Seco.
A Storied Past
Wiig, known for her work on “Saturday Night Live,” purchased a celebrated mid-century modern-style home for $2.96 million. The residence, known as Case Study House No. 10, is part of a series designed and commissioned by LA-based Arts and Architecture magazine. The father-and-son duo Kemper Nomland and Kemper Nomland Jr House designed No. 10 in 1947. It features minimalist flourishes spread across 3,425 square feet.
Also during the past month, Summer Bishil, of “The Magicians,” bought a mid-century modern home in Pasadena for $1.8 million. The house, built in 1952, has glass walls opening to canyon, mountain, and city views. The living room includes a fireplace with a circular opening. Furthermore, the updated, 2,000-square-foot house sits on a half-acre of land and offers elegant finishes and high-end materials. The courtyard outside features a pond and waterfall, with a swimming pool back below the house.
Rachel Bilson, who rose to fame on the hit series “The O.C.” and later appeared on “Hart of Dixie” and “Nashville,” bought her new dream home in October — a $3.25 million stylish six-bed, four-bath home in the Linda Vista area.
Gregory Ain designed the 1950 mid-century modern masterpiece known as the Ralph’s House. The 3,678-square-foot property maintains most of its original design. This includes floor-to-ceiling windows, refurbished wood floors, and a spacious living room with a fireplace and built-in bookshelves. The landscape features rolling gardens with stunning views of the canyons and mountaintops above Pasadena. The entire property measures 35,844 square feet.
Privacy and Character
In January, Mandy Moore bought a Pasadena home for $2.6 million after selling her house with ex-husband Ryan Adams. Moore’s property features 1.45 acres of land, 360-degree views, floor-to-ceiling glass walls, breakfast nook, spa, and pool. Noted architect Harold Zook designed the mid-century mansion.
Podley believes the privacy element isn’t the only thing the celebrities are looking for. The character of those who live here has as much to do with their attraction to Pasadena as anything else.
“It’s a different lifestyle. We’ve always been known as a more old-monied kind of community where people aren’t as concerned about their image. And I think that they find that in the Pasadena area,” Podley said. “It’s a little calmer lifestyle. Yes, you may be noticed, but you’re not going to be oogled over maybe as much. I think Pasadenans by and large get along and respect each other’s privacy.”
This article by Andy Vitalicio originally appeared on pasadenanow.com.