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Welcome to our 3rd Quarter 2018 Newsletter , highlighting the recent work of the firm; including new possible heights in development in DTLA, landslides near the heart of LA, the realities of California's goal for 100% renewal power, and new changes in Charter School funding requirements in California.

Anytime we can provide you with market research information, consulting, or simply answering a question related to property values, just let us know.  We are more than happy to help!


Steven R. Norris, MAI, CRE

Norris Realty Advisors
Proposed Downtown LA Tower
Can 7 Feet Make a Difference?

Recently, Norris Realty Advisors was retained to complete an analysis of the land underlying the LA Grand Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles - related to a potential transfer of the development or "air rights" from other downtown sites. 

The existing improvements consist of a 13 story hotel building and convention/meeting center. The current owners are proposing redevelopment of the site to 224 market rate apartments, including a new 77-story luxury skyscraper with 599 hotel rooms, 242 condos, and nearly 29,000 square feet of commercial space. 

The site is immediately adjacent to the Harbor Freeway.  According to the architect the new building would rise to a record breaking 1,107 feet, just 7 feet higher than the newly finished 1,100 foot tall Wilshire Grand. 

If the proposed development is completed, won't that be, well, just Grand?

For more on this proposed development, go here.
SB 740 - Charter Schools

Recent Legislative Changes Require
Fair Rent Estimates
Norris Realty Advisors has been involved in Charter School valuation and consulting throughout California for more than a decade.

The California School Finance Authority (CSFA) has recently commenced the process of requiring certain Charter Schools throughout the state to update the opinion of fair market rent for the facilities they occupy.  Over 100 Charters Schools have already been contacted by CSFA on this matter, and many have contacted our firm requesting opinions of fair market rent.

We will not bore you here with the details of qualifying schools, but simply link you to sources of information for these new requirements.

So Your Property is in a 
Landslide Zone?

With less and less vacant and easily developed land available in the City of Los Angeles, housing developers are clamoring to snatch up what is still available, with some sites in potential landslide zones.

History proves that landslides are still a dangerous possibility; with one interesting example occurring in Elysian Park. 

In 1937, residents witnessed a "moving mountain" in which land slowly crept down-slope along Riverside Drive until it triggered a massive landslide that unearthed transmission towers, severed water pipes, and severely damaged roadways and bridges.

As Norris Realty Advisors has provided valuation and counseling services for a number of similar sites being considered for development, very careful consideration must be made of geologic conditions.  

While a moving mountain might be interesting for sight-seeing, it definitely becomes problematic and a massive risk for prospective developers.

For some fascinating local history on landslides, learn more about the 1937 landslide here.

Where will it happen next?
100% Off The Grid for California?

Unfortunately, basic land-use calculations 
Say it may be a dream

For more than a decade, Norris Realty Advisors has been involved in a wide variety of major conventional and renewable power developments throughout California.  

We Californians love the dream of unplugging from the grid and becoming "carbon free", but may of us are quite passionately opposed to new development on a massive scale.  In the future it is becoming more likely that these two opposing forces will clash.

Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill 100 this month, committing the state's utilities to getting all of their electricity from renewable sources by 2045.  While this is a laudable goal, this effort may be rooted in wishful dreaming.

To expand renewable power sources would require wrecking vast onshore and offshore territories with forests of wind turbines and sprawling solar projects.  The simple math of the plan to become completely renewable does not seem to work.

The Solar Dilemma 
Last year, global solar capacity totaled about 219,000 megawatts. That means an "all-renewable" California would need more solar capacity in the state than currently exists on the entire planet.  California can (and will) add lots of new rooftop solar over the coming decades. But a renewable plan would also require nearly 33,000 megawatts of concentrated solar plants, or roughly 87 facilities as large as the 377-megawatt Ivanpah solar complex now operating in the Mojave Desert. Ivanpah, which covers 5.4 square miles, met fierce opposition from conservationists due to its impact on the desert tortoise, which is listed as a threatened species under the federal and California endangered species acts.  This is approximately 470 total square miles of solar power facilities that would be required in California.

Wind - An Awful Lot of Land Needed
Wind energy faces much larger problems. The Department of Energy has concluded in multiple reports over the last decade that no matter where they are located - onshore or offshore - wind-energy projects have a footprint that breaks down to about 3 watts per square meter.

To get to the required 124,608 megawatts (124.6 billion watts) of onshore wind capacity, California would need 41.5 billion square meters, or about 16,023 square miles, of turbines. To put that into perspective, the land area of Los Angeles County is slightly more than 4,000 square miles - California would have to cover a land area roughly four times the size of L.A. County with nothing but the massive windmills. 

In 2015, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to ban large wind turbines in unincorporated areas. Three other California counties - San Diego, Solano and Inyo - have also passed restrictions on turbines.

The Visual Effect
As we have been involved in consultation on many of these projects, this math fascinates us.  We undertook a quick measurement using Google Earth of the land areas and elevations that may be a stake in the effort to become "all-renewable".  The visual effects are stunning.

Below is a map showing the land areas that might be required for solar and wind production superimposed over Southern California.

The green circle represents the total land need for wind, and the red circle is the need for solar land. 

Given this, perhaps someone in Sacramento needs to redo their math.

For an interesting article on the complete analysis of renewable energy land needs in California, go here.   
Thank you for taking the time to review our Newsletter.  We greatly value our relationship with clients, peers, and friends of the firm.  Contact us directly with any questions.

Steven R. Norris, MAI, CRE View our profile on LinkedIn
Norris Realty Advisors