Category Archive 'Real Estate'
11 Apr 2021

BLM Founder Goes on 7-Figure Real Estate Buying Spree

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The New York Post reports that Marxism and protest politics have paid off big for Patrisse Khan-Cullors.

As protests broke out across the country in the name of Black Lives Matter, the group’s co-founder went on a real estate-buying binge, snagging four high-end homes for $3.2 million in the US alone, according to property records.

Patrisse Khan-Cullors, 37, also eyed property in the Bahamas at an ultra-exclusive resort where Justin Timberlake and Tiger Woods both have homes, The Post has learned. Luxury apartments and townhouses at the beachfront Albany resort outside Nassau are priced between $5 million and $20 million, according to a local agent.

The self-described Marxist last month purchased a $1.4 million home on a secluded road a short drive from Malibu in Los Angeles, according to a report. The 2,370 square-foot property features “soaring ceilings, skylights and plenty of windows” with canyon views. The Topanga Canyon homestead, which includes two houses on a quarter acre, is just one of three homes Khan-Cullors owns in the Los Angeles area, public records show.

Some fellow activists were taken aback by the real estate revelations. …

Khan-Cullors embraced activism and Marxism at a young age. “It started the year I turned twelve,” she writes. “That was the year that I learned that being black and poor defined me more than being bright and hopeful and ready.”

But she didn’t rise to national prominence until 2013, when she and two other activists protested the not-guilty verdict against George Zimmerman, who shot dead Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager in Florida.

Black Lives Matter protests erupted again in 2020 after the May killing of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck during his arrest.

Donations and pledges from corporations and individuals poured into the movement at that point. In February, the BLM non-profit co-founded by Khan-Cullors told the AP that they took in $90 million in 2020, with $21.7 million committed to grant funding and helping 30 black-led groups across the country.

Black Lives Matter leaders would not specify how much money they took in from prominent donors, according to the AP report.

It’s also not clear how much Khan-Cullors makes in salary as one of the leaders of the movement, since its finances are split among both non-profit and for-profit entities and difficult to trace.

RTWT

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Jason Whitlock got suspended by Twitter for tweeting this comment:

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In 1911, Booker T. Washington wrote:

“There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”

17 Feb 2021

Needs a Little Work

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The Scotsman reports on a real estate bargain.

A 15th Century ruined castle in Fife with a tennis court is on the market for the same as a one-bed flat in London.

Piteadie Castle, on the outskirts of Kirkcaldy, was built in the 15th century but renovated 200 years later when a stair tower was added, and has a carved coat of arms on the gateway.

It has the potential to be turned into a dream home but Historic Environment Scotland urged for care to be taken ‘to preserve cultural significance’ and that restoration ‘should be sensitive’.

The castle was featured in Nigel Tranter’s novel about James II of Scotland and his protector Alexander Lyon.

It also has an orchard with around 30 fruit trees, a disused tennis court with a stone-built pavilion as well as a polytunnel and a chicken coop in the garden.

It has stunning views across the countryside towards the Firth of Forth, and is in the grounds of country home Piteadie House, also for sale.

The castle is on the market for offers over £225,000 – the same as a one-bed flat in Croydon, South London which has double glazing and central heating. …

Jamie McNab from Savills, said: “The castle ruins and adjacent land are also an interesting prospect, with the opportunity to develop the site for residential use being a distinct possibility, though naturally planning consent and the support of Historic Environment Scotland would be required.”

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Savills has the listing. You get 3.8 acres.

You have to get permission for every move from both a local planning board and from Historical Environment Scotland. Good luck with that!

“it would be likely that the castle would also need some consolidation to make it safe.”

20 Dec 2020

Will Seattle Liberals Put Their House Keys Where Their Mouths Are?

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Lowering the Bar reports that some enterprising Moors are giving them the opportunity.

Just a quick warning to let you know that if someone knocks on your door and says you have to move out immediately, and that person is wearing a fez (see above), you probably don’t need to pack your things right away. Some investigation would be warranted even if the person isn’t wearing a fez, but unless you live in Morocco, maybe, the fez should serve as an additional red flag.

Sources report that last week, several homeowners in the Seattle area received surprise visits from strangers who informed them that they (the strangers) were in fact the legal owners of the properties and asked them (the homeowners) to vacate immediately. “Today is the day!” one apparently kept repeating. Why was today the day? That didn’t seem to be clear.

Also, why were they wearing fezzes? There did seem to be an explanation for that.

The “today is the day” visitor eventually handed the homeowner some official-looking federal-government paperwork and left. But looking a little more closely at that paperwork revealed that the federal government in question was not that of the United States of America, but rather the “Moorish National Republic.” Although I guess that depends who you ask, because the “Moorish National Republic” claims to be the true government of the United States of America, and that it owns all the property in North America. There are a variety of “Moorish” groups in the U.S., most if not all of which are offshoots of the “sovereign citizen” movement, something that has appeared on this site many times given its followers’ penchant for making utterly baffling legal-type claims. See, e.g., “Judge Rejects Man’s Claim to Be ‘Some Sort of Agricultural Product” (Oct. 4, 2017); “King of Australia Says He’s Testing Its Court System” (Sept. 13, 2017); “Judge Finds Alleged Indian Tribe to Be ‘Complete Sham’” (May 13, 2008). Many of these claims involve property, sometimes the claimants’ own property and sometimes the property of another. In Seattle it appears to be the latter.

The claims typically involve official-looking but entirely bogus documents, and jargon-filled legal pleadings that might also appear from a distance to be valid but on closer inspection are pretty ridiculous. So a lot like the Trump team’s recent filings, actually, except the Trump team’s grammar is generally a little better. Also, the sovereigns have a tendency to make up their own grammar and magical symbols, something the Kraken hasn’t tried yet, as far as I know.

According to an expert quoted by the Daily Beast, the Moorish offshoot of the sovereign movement also believes it isn’t bound by the same laws as other citizens, but it has different reasons for thinking that. “Some believe they have diplomatic immunity because they’re members of these North American fictitious tribes, that they’re descended from them,” the expert said. “They believe they were the first inhabitants of the Americas, and that therefore they own everything.” There’s no legal basis for any of this, of course, even if you set aside the historical problems, which are significant.

There also seem to be some problems explaining their adoption of the fez, which so far as I can tell has no connection with any of the tribes indigenous to North America (or at least they became indigenous after walking here from Asia thousands of years ago, as I understand it). According to the SPLC, some members of “Moorish” groups believe they migrated here from North Africa, and that a 1787 treaty between the U.S. and Morocco grants them “sovereign immunity.” (That wouldn’t be true even if that treaty existed, which it doesn’t.) The fez apparently originated or at least became popularized in the Ottoman Empire, which controlled parts of northern Africa for a while, and the term “Moor” is or was sometimes used to refer to various Muslim inhabitants of that area. So that might explain the association.

Or maybe they just like the way it looks. Who the hell knows?

RTWT

11 Sep 2020

For All the Bronte Fans Out There

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Ponden Hall apparently served as the inspiration for Emily Bronte’s Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights, as well as Anne Bronte’s Wildfell Hall.

BBC:

A house thought to be the inspiration for Emily Bronte when writing 19th century classic Wuthering Heights is on sale for more than £1m.

Ponden Hall, in Stanbury, West Yorkshire, dates back to 1541 and played host to Bronte and her family during their childhood.

Several features of the property are said to have inspired her work.

In 2014, it was converted into a bed and breakfast which is currently run by owners Steve Brown and Julie Akhurst.

It is also believed to have inspired Anne Brontë’s novel, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

Sisters Emily and Anne, who began writing as children along with their sibling Charlotte, first came across Ponden Hall during the Crow Hill Bog Burst, a mudslide that occurred following heavy rainfall in September 1824.

While this was the girls’ first encounter with Ponden, they continued to visit, with the house providing inspiration for both Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

The library at Ponden, considered one of the finest in West Yorkshire and which boasted a Shakespeare first portfolio, was particularly appealing to the Brontes, who would often stop by to use it.

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Strutt and Parker has the listing.

Ponden Hall is a magnificent Grade II* Listed detached country house with the east end dating back to 1541 and the main house dating back to 1634. Steeped in history and with a fascinating historical connection to the Bronte family and their literature, Ponden Hall is widely accepted to be the inspiration for the interiors of both Wuthering Heights and Wildfell Hall.

The property features beautiful original details including exposed timber beams, vaulted ceilings and exposed stone work, creating a thoroughly unique and appealing living space. Currently run as an award-winning bed and breakfast, Ponden Hall sits in extensive grounds of approximately 4 acres with spectacular panoramic views over Ponden Reservoir and the open countryside beyond.

10 rooms, 7 bedroom, 2 baths, 5015 sq. ft. (466 sq. m.) 4 acres. Offers Over £1,000,000 ($1,280,000).

20 Jun 2020

Samuel Taylor Coleridge House for Sale

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Chanters House, Ottery St. Mary.

If you have a spare £7,000,000 lying around, you can own Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s boyhood home, complete with 22,000 volume library.

Alas! Some horrible yob has converted the family chapel into a “party room.”

Country Life story.

The Coleridge family, the previous owners of The Chanters House, had always lived in Devon but the family moved to Ottery St Mary in 1760 when John Coleridge became headmaster of The Kings School. He settled his ‘Tribe’, as he called his four daughters and eight sons, and this was the first of five remarkable generations distinguished by intellectual energy, athletics and good looks. They took the Coleridges high in every profession from the Army to the Law as poets, artists, judges, bishops, and Naval, military and NATO commanders. All were outshone by John’s youngest son, the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, born in 1772, renowned for the Rime of the Ancient Mariner. He never forgot the landscape of his childhood. The little town, clustering around the church overlooking the broad valley of the river Otter, was to be poignantly recalled most famously in Frost at Midnight.

The entire west wing is taken up at ground floor level by a huge library, the largest west of Salisbury and designed for Lord Coleridge’s 18,000 books.

Photos and virtual tour.

17 Feb 2020

Excessive and Deranged Government in Action

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What the offending building would have looked like when completed.

This classic New York City real estate story has attracted international news coverage.

The Independent:

In an extraordinary ruling, a state supreme court judge has ordered the developers of a nearly completed 668-foot block of flats in New York to remove as many as 20 or more floors from the top of the building.

The decision is a major victory for community groups who opposed the project on the grounds that the developers used a zoning loophole to create the tallest building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. A lawyer representing the project said the developers would appeal the decision.

Justice W Franc Perry ordered that the Department of Buildings revoke the building permit for the tower at 200 Amsterdam Avenue and remove all floors that exceed the zoning limit. Exactly how many floors might need to be deconstructed has yet to be determined, but under one interpretation of the law, the building might have to remove 20 floors or more from the 52-storey tower to conform to the regulation.

“We’re elated,” said Olive Freud, the president of the Committee for Environmentally Sound Development, one of the community groups that brought the suit.

“The developers knew that they were building at their own peril,” said Richard Emery, a lawyer representing the community groups that challenged the project before the foundation was even completed. Mr Emery said this decision sent a warning to other developers who proceed with construction despite pending litigation.

The question at the heart of the suit was whether the developers had abused zoning rules to justify the project’s size.

It is common for developers to purchase the unused development rights of adjacent buildings to add height and bulk to their project. But in this case opponents of the project argued that the developers, SJP Properties and Mitsui Fudosan America, created a “gerrymandered”, highly unusual 39-sided zoning lot to take advantage of the development rights from a number of tenuously connected lots. Without this technique, the tower might have been little more than 20 storeys tall, instead of the nearly finished 52-storey tower that now stands.

The decision also sets an important precedent, said Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the Municipal Art Society of New York, one of the advocacy groups that brought the suit against the project.

RTWT

If you were ever wondering why big cities have constant shortages of housing and why real estate prices climb into the stratosphere, this particular story illustrates just how costly, difficult, and risky real estate development can be in places where zoning and regulation reach levels that Imperial Austro-Hungary Bureaucracy could have envied, and where “community groups” made up of self-appointed trouble-makers, busy-bodies, environmental fanatics, and communists can operate much like arms of the government.

10 Feb 2020

Life In California’s Left-Wing Paradise

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The Nomenklatura live conveniently in Atherton, Portola, or Pacific Heights, but the proletariat get to catch 2:30 AM buses to work from the 110° every day Central Valley. Protocol:

It’s 2:30 a.m. in the Central California farm town of Salida, and the only sound is the tech bus pulling into an unmarked lot surrounded by barbed wire. Men and women in work boots board in the moonlight. Next stop is 11 miles away in Manteca, and then it’s another 55 miles to Fremont on the San Francisco Bay, where — an hour and a half hour later — the 4 a.m. shift at the Tesla factory starts.

Welcome to life on Silicon Valley’s new frontier. When tech companies first introduced private shuttles for their employees more than a decade ago, they served the affluent neighborhoods in San Francisco and the Peninsula. Now the buses reach as far as the almond orchards of Salida and the garlic fields of Gilroy.

Tech companies have grown tight-lipped about the specifics of their shuttle programs in the wake of high-profile protests in San Francisco. But Protocol was able to locate enough stops for company shuttles to confirm that some tech shuttles now drive all the way out to the Central Valley, an agricultural hub once a world away from the tech boom on the coast.

“That just tells you the story of the Bay Area,” said Russell Hancock, president and CEO of regional think tank Joint Venture Silicon Valley. “We’re going to be in these farther-flung places, and that’s our reality because we’re not going to be able to create affordable housing.”

Tech shuttle sprawl speaks to the unique pressures that the industry has put on the region. High tech salaries have driven up housing prices in Silicon Valley, San Francisco and the East Bay, forcing white- and blue-collar workers alike to move farther away from their jobs. The crisis is compounded by anti-development politics that make it hard to build new housing and patchwork public transit systems that make it difficult for commuters to get to work without driving.

The mismatch between jobs and housing has become so extreme that Google and Facebook have proposed building thousands of apartments or condos on their own campuses.

In the meantime, those companies — plus Tesla, Apple, Netflix, LinkedIn, Genentech and others — are trying to solve the problem with long-distance buses. They all now offer shuttle service to at least the extended suburbs of the East Bay, according to interviews and reports Protocol consulted. Their longest routes now stretch north across the Golden Gate Bridge, south to the surf town of Santa Cruz, and east to the Central Valley — a total service area approaching 3,000 square miles.

09 Feb 2020

Cities Make People Crazy, and It’s Happening in Berlin

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A Berlin rent protest.

You missed visiting bombed-out, rubble-strewn Berlin post-1945? Don’t worry. You’ll have another chance, just a few short years down the road, to see entire empty neighborhoods comprised of falling-down, abandoned buildings.

New York City had square miles of buildings like that, back in the 1970s, thanks to Rent Control.

When Government Price Controls gift tenants with give-away rents and buildings’ incomes fail to suffice to pay taxes and buy heating oil, their owners have no choice but to walk away. Nobody wants to abandon valuable real estate, but when the Government expropriates all the income and destroys a property’s value, abandonment becomes inevitable. In NYC, countless thousands of buildings, entire neigborhoods, were once boarded up and abandoned. Berlin’s turn is obviously coming.

Bloomberg

Germany’s capital is taking extreme measures to stay (relatively) affordable and not go the way of San Francisco or London. Beginning in early 2020, Berlin’s left-leaning government will freeze rents for five years. Landlords will be required to show new tenants the most recent rental contracts to prove they aren’t jacking up prices. They’ll also have to follow new rent-cap rules, which for many landlords could mean lowering rents by as much as 40%. Those who don’t comply will be hit with fines as high as €500,000 ($553,000) for each violation.

Even more radically, tenant groups and thousands of activists are demanding that large corporate landlords be expelled from the city altogether, their property expropriated. The goal is to get the government to buy back roughly 250,000 properties—almost one-eighth of Berlin’s housing stock—and turn them into public housing. And while the move may sound far-fetched, it’s won support from anywhere from 29% to 54% of Berliners, according to yvarious polls. Two of the city’s three ruling political parties have even endorsed a nonbinding public referendum on whether to force big landlords to sell their real estate to the government. (The biggest party, the Social Democratic Party, or SPD, is against the move, as is German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. They’ve signaled their intentions to challenge the new regulations in court.)

Berlin’s landlords, big and small, are reeling. The city’s publicly traded real estate companies, whose share prices fell for most of the summer after the government announced the planned freeze in June, complain that Berlin’s new regulations will scare off needed capital. Fewer companies will invest in modernizations to make buildings more appealing or energy-efficient, they say, and construction of new units may suffer, which would exacerbate Berlin’s shortages. “Almost 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it seems that some people want the former conditions back,” Michael Zahn, chief executive officer of Berlin’s largest publicly traded landlord, Deutsche Wohnen SE, said in an earnings call in November, referring to the former East Germany’s all-controlling government. “Tenants and landlords will face great uncertainty. That’s a poison pill for investment.”

RTWT

08 Jul 2019

$1200-a-Month Pod Living in San Francisco

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“O brave new world, That has such people in’t!”

How many years of school? How many hours a week working? For this?

But, hey! they get access to all the great SF restaurants!

HT: Vandeleun.

11 Feb 2019

Boat Moored in Front of the Louvre for Sale

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espaces-atypiques:

This magnificent boat sailing 25 meters/82 feet, is moored in one of the most sought after areas of the Latin Quarter. Classified of heritage interest, it has a roof of 16m/52.5′ long under which take place all the comfort of a beautiful apartment.

The wheelhouse, entirely preserved in exceptional condition, gives access to an unusual reception. Its proportions allow it to host a lounge area with its cozy fireplace and a dining room that will turn into a billiard room if necessary.

At the same level, at the stern, under the wheelhouse is a first cabin separated from the living room by an office area and kitchen. On the other side, at the bow are two cabins, one with a bathtub overlooking the Seine.

At the bow level, a terrace of 15m2/49 sq. ft., will allow you to appreciate the exceptional view of the Louvre and the Ile de la Cité, in the tranquility typical of the small arm of the Seine.

The authentic fittings, its look and its benefits give it an undeniable charm.

Anneau: 1500 € ($1690.50) quarter

1 050 000 € ($1,183,350)

23 Dec 2018

“Indigenous Moor” Appropriates House

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Joel Fedd.

The Daily Mail reports that “Indigenous Moor” Joel Fedd moved into a vacant Gwinnett County, Georgia house, recently purchased by another family, changed the locks and put up “No Trespassing” signs.

04 Aug 2018

Peter Hawker’s House For Sale

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Longparish House

For sale: Historic Longparish House, former home of England’s greatest shooting author, Peter Hawker 1786-1853, author of the “Instructions to Young Sportsmen” which appeared in ten continually revised and enlarged editions, 1814-1854, over the course of the author’s lifetime, and which described both the development of the technology of the gun and the evolution of upland gamebird shooting into a major activity of the British aristocracy.

Savile’s has the listing:

Grade II* Listed house 9 bedrooms

Tenure: Freehold

An Elegant Grade II* Listed Country House and Estate in a glorious setting on the world renowned River Test.

Longparish House comprises 4 principal reception rooms, kitchen/ breakfast room, cloakroom, principal bedroom suite, 4 guest bedroom suites 4 further bedrooms, family bathroom.
lower ground floor including billiard room and wine cellars.

Annexe with self-contained 1 bedroom flat.

Outbuildings including garage, granary, stables, manege and stores.

Formal and informal gardens with extensive river frontage, swimming pool & tennis court.

Idyllic estate surroundings including about 26 acres of water meadows, 76 acres of farmland and 54 Acres of woodland.

The River Test
Over 2711 meters (2964 yards — a mile and a half) of double-bank fishing on The River Test and carriers and a lake.

3 further cottages including a pair of Grade II Listed thatched cottages.

Square Footage: 11,664 sq ft — Acreage: 177 Acres.

A mere “excess of £15,000,000”, whatever that means.

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Country Life article

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Captain Peter Hawker, 14th Light Dragoons. Hawker’s military career ended when he was badly wounded at the Battle of Talavera, 28 July 1809.

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