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This week in celeb real estate: Howard Hughes’ former Beverly Hills home hits auction block, Brie Larson takes a loss…and more

Los Angeles homes linked to two Oscar-winning actresses and an Oscar-winning director made the news this week. Brie Larson — Laurel Canyon — and Reese Witherspoon — Zuma Beach — both sold their houses. In Encino, the former home of director Ron Howard hit the market. The Beverly Hills home that once belonged to tycoon and Hollywood producer and director Howard Hughes was set to be auctioned off. And a Kanye West creation, the “Star …

Kanye West cares about “Star Wars”-themed affordable housing

Jesus walks, but Luke Skywalker talks, at least for Kanye West when it comes to affordable housing. The rapper-turned-aspiring real estate mogul is reportedly leading the development of an affordable housing project with a “Star Wars” theme at a secret California forest location. Forbes reported that the recording artist, entrepreneur and designer is working with a team to design prefabricated shelters as affordable housing, possibly for homeless people. West wanted an austere design for shelters …

Benvenuto! Why the number of high-net-worth individuals applying for Italian residency may spike

The number of ultra-wealthy taking up residency in Italy may surge this year. The influx of high-net-worth individuals is due to a new tax program for residents, Bloomberg reports. Known as the “New Resident Regime,” which the Italian government introduced in 2017, foreigners who establish a residence in the country can cap their income tax on worldwide income at €100,000, or US$114,000. Establishing a residence entails buying or renting a home, without a minimum investment …

“Empire” mansion still looking for buyer after 6 years and 40% price cut

A 17,000-square-foot Barrington Hills mansion frequently seen on the Fox TV series “Empire” has yet to find a buyer despite a 40% price chop from its original asking. The home at 45 Lakeview Lane originally listed for $15.9 million in June 2013. Now it’s listed at $9.5 million, according to Crain’s. The 8.5-acre estate regularly has been featured as the mansion of actor Terrance Howard’s Lucious Lyon character since 2014, but owners Sam and Geralyn …

After 137 years, this landmark church finally got a building permit

The city of Barcelona has finally issued a building permit for La Sagrada Família, an architectural landmark in the Spanish city that has been under construction since 1882. The city licensed a committee to finish the construction of the Roman Catholic basilica and charge a fee of 4.6 million euros ($5.2 million), CNN reported. License fee proceeds will fund efforts to soften the local impact of the church’s global appeal: 4.5 million people a year …

One of the largest parks in Brooklyn is going to be a residents-only amenity

A new 25,000-square-foot green space in Brooklyn is reserved for residents of a new development exclusively. The sprawling space will be equal to roughly five basketball courts and packaged as an amenity to residents of the Front & York condo project, a 1.1 million-square-foot, mixed-use development in Dumbo, the New York Post reports. Expected to be mostly complete by 2021, Front & York will have two towers containing 320 rental apartments and 408 condos. Prices …

Hamptons resi brokers remain resolute, despite a slumping luxury market

For Bespoke Real Estate’s Vichinsky brothers, sitting atop a ranking of the top residential brokers in the Hamptons is not unfamiliar territory. The duo landed in the No. 1 spot in The Real Deal’s 2019 ranking of ultra-luxury brokers — those who closed the highest sales volumes of homes priced at $10 million or more. And in years past, the Vichinskys sat atop previous TRD rankings that included sales of homes priced under that amount on …

Why rich Brazilians are scooping up property in Portugal

Brazilian multimillionaire Ricardo Bellino lived more than 10 years in Miami before relocating to Portugal, which has emerged as a haven for affluent Brazilians. Bellino, 53, who bought a home near Lisbon, will gain from a flat income-tax rate of 20 percent in Portugal, where he also may be eligible for a tax-free pension after he retires. He told Bloomberg his relocation to Portugal from Miami enabled him to reside in “a tax haven that …

This week in celeb real estate: Tinder co-founder eyes breakup with Montecito home, Beck’s former home lists for sale… and more

Aside from one $16 million sale in the South Bay, celebrities looked outside L.A. for their real estate fix this week. Two multi-million-dollar listings came up in Montecito, a celebrity enclave in Santa Barbara known to attract A-listers like Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey. In Montecito, Tinder co-founder Sean Rad is looking to part ways with a ranch home he picked up from Ellen DeGeneres last year. The scenic six-acre compound is on the market …

Freshly renovated manse heads to the auction block with no reserve

A newly remodeled mansion on the eastern edge of Los Angeles County is hitting the auction block with no reserve. The 7,250-square-foot Mediterranean-style mansion sits in a gated community in the city of Diamond Bar and will go to the highest bidder at an auction on June 1, according to Mansion Global. It’s a no reserve auction, which means the seller isn’t setting a bottom-end threshold for bids In other words, it could sell at …

One of Karl Lagerfeld’s final works, a luxury apartment tower, is rising in Taiwan

Those mourning the loss of fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld will soon be able to turn to a new high-rise in Taiwan to purchase a piece of the late designer’s final works. In 2014, developer Jut Group teamed up with the late Chanel and Fendi creative director to design an apartment tower in Taichung City, Bloomberg reported. The building is expected to be completed by 2022. Lagerfeld designed almost every aspect of the building, from the …

Architecture’s final frontier: Here’s what houses on Mars might look like

The most Earth-like planet in the solar system, Mars has always looked like an obvious choice for future human colonization. But what would houses on Mars actually look like? A NASA-sponsored contest, called the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, seeks to answer that question. Launched in 2015, the contest’s third and final phase is set to wrap up next month. Though the premise is literally out of this world, technology developed for outer-space living

Long shadow of Toys “R” Us closure boosts competitors, leaves toymakers reeling

Toymakers are struggling to stay afloat in a world without Toys “R” Us. Mattel saw its annual sales fall by 8 percent last year, according to The Associated Press. Hasbro had a 12 percent drop in sales, as the sudden absence of Toys “R” Us stores made it harder to find shelves for their products. Competing retailers like Target, Walmart and Party City all expanded their toy offerings since last spring, when Toys “R” Us …

Fancy a dip? Here’s how much value pools add to homes

How much extra would you pay for a house with pool? In Los Angeles, a pool can add over $95,390 to a property’s value, while in Austin, Texas, the water feature could boost the value by over $50,220, a new analysis by Redfin has found. To work out how much value a pool can add to a home, Redfin ranked metro areas where at least 5,000 homes had sold in 2018 and more than 2 …

Why South Africa’s construction industry is on shaky ground

A South Africa construction group is calling on the government to intervene following a series of recent episodes in which $1.8 billion worth of building projects have been disrupted by armed groups around the country. A letter from the South African Forum of Civil Engineering Contractors, a lobbying group, to the country’s finance minister, Tito Mboweni, details the incidents and their impact on investor confidence and the country’s construction industry, which has seen a flight …

Two more retail tenants sign on at Macklowe’s 432 Park

UPDATED March 16, 2019, 9:21p.m.: The massive photo portrait of Harry Macklowe and his new wife isn’t the only new thing at 432 Park Avenue. At a panel at 92Y’s third annual City of Tomorrow summit, Cushman & Wakefield’s executive vice chairman Joanne Podell revealed that two more tenants had signed leases at the 130,000-square-foot commercial component of Macklowe’s luxury condominium tower. New York Post columnist Steve Cuozzo was making a larger point about how […

Hudson Yards’ tax breaks are bigger than Amazon’s would have been

Over a period of more than 10 years, government tax breaks and incentives to support Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group’s development of Hudson Yards total about $6 billion. That’s double the package of tax breaks and incentives Amazon’s Long Island City campus was trying to secure before the company scrapped its plans, the New York Times reports. Related Hudson Yards’ president L. Jay Cross told the publication the 28-acre complex that contains 13 buildings …

What the trade of this luxury hotel brand means for the hospitality industry

In what is thought to be the first deal of its kind, Best Western has acquired European indie hotel chain, WorldHotels. The global hotel industry has been going through big changes in recent years, as online booking and homesharing cracked open new opportunities for independent hotels. In response, large hotel chains have launched dozens of “soft brands”, semi-independent collections of hotels that can offer differentiated experiences to travelers. This week, Best Western upped the ante …

Amazon on why its NYC campus fell through: “Look, the political climate was just really, really hard”

New York politics sent one of the most valuable companies in the world packing this week. A survey of Amazon representatives, lawmakers, public officials, lobbyists and others involved in the negotiations between Amazon, New York City and the state by the New York Times pieced together the final days of the efforts to finalize a deal for its now-scuttled Long Island City campus. The resulting picture is a company overwhelmed by New York’s political arena. …

The cost of natural disasters last year? $91B

Natural disasters caused $91 billion in damage to the United States last year, a federal government study has found. Amid growing global concern for climate change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration analyzed the aftermath of 14 natural disasters that occurred during 2018, and found that it was the fourth most costly year on record for such events, as reported by CNBC. The most devastating events were the California wildfires, Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas …

This is the world’s “money-laundering paradise”

Everything’s bigger in Dubai. Home to the world’s tallest building since 2010, the emirate’s real estate industry could also be one of the world’s largest money laundromats. Transparency International, the anti-corruption group behind the annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), has now joined the chorus of voices decrying the city-state’s weak regulations and lax enforcement, according to Forbes. With the release of its latest CPI results, Transparency International singled out Dubai for special

A Sicilian town is selling homes for a single Euro

Got a buck? Or, rather, a Euro? That could get you a home in scenic Sambuca de Sicilia, Italy. The town on the island of Sicily is selling off 17 properties there for as little as €1 to help attract people to a community experiencing depopulation, according to the New York Post. Of course, there’s a catch. New owners are obligated to invest at least $17,000 into improvements of the property within the first three …

Billionaire Henry Kravis’ 19K sf ranch is on the market

Want to ride horses, hunt big game, play golf, and fly in a helicopter, all in the same day? Then this $46 million luxury ranch in Colorado is for you. The seller, Henry Kravis, co-founder of investment company KKR, has an estimated personal net worth of approximately $5.4 billion, according to Forbes. He bought the property for $5.5 million in 1991, according the Wall Street Journal. The ranch, known as “Westlands,” spans about 4,600 acres …

Relaxing the rules: Millennial buyers are prompting some co-op boards to loosen up

Vying to lure in more young buyers, some co-op boards are loosening their rules. Some boards are trying to ease requirements about approvals and subletting to make home values more in line with condos, Forbes reported. “So many mindful co-ops are trying to act more like condos these days, so they can attract higher prices from a wider audience,” Compass agent Brian Lewis told Forbes. “I’ve never encountered a condo that wants to act more …