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L.A. Rams to spike South Bay real estate market

By the time the National Football League collection of owners made its decision, allowing the St. Louis Rams to move back to Los Angeles, Shorewood Realtors real estate agent Ed Kaminsky was already coiled and ready to strike.

“I had been anticipating it for a while,” he said, building relationships as a “connoisseur-level” relocator for athletes. “It’s a closed marketplace to get into — you have to have relationships established, and you can’t pop in too easily.”

Kaminsky is one of many high-end real estate agents who are champing at the bit to work with the many members of the Rams organization who are making the move back to Los Angeles after the franchise’s 21 years in St. Louis.

The Rams’ future home stadium, to be built on 60 acres of land in Inglewood at the site of the former Hollywood Park race track, is projected to be a boon for the L.A. metropolitan area at large as part of a projected $2.66 billion entertainment center project. Given the site’s proximity to the South Bay, it’s also likely to a boon for the Beach Cities’ real estate market.

“There’s going to be an influx of buying and leasing, not only for the players, but their families, coaches…there are a lot of people who are going to need housing,” said Darlene Hutton, an associate partner with Partners Trust. Hutton has represented and brokered a number of home sales for athletes throughout the years. Already she’s been in touch with “three or four agents” and player representatives, she says, though due to non-disclosure agreements, she cannot name names.

The Beach Cities are already considered among the area’s hottest real estate markets, with Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach named as such by the Los Angeles Times within the last week.

Citing figures from analytics firm CoreLogic, the Times noted that the median price of a single-family home in Manhattan Beach rose by 10.1 percent to $2.1 million over the past year. In Hermosa, a single-family home jumped by 30.9 percent to $1.69 million over the same time period.

“The average price of a home in the Tree section of Manhattan Beach is between $2-3 million, and could go upwards of $3-5 million,” Hutton said, adding that prices in Inglewood are also going to go “through the roof.”

“I think if you’re going to buy, that’s a good investment there; it’s going to help in a lot of areas, especially in that one,” she said.

Should the stadium-surrounding Los Angeles Entertainment Center project come together, she said, the area could see another residential and entertainment district like Downtown’s L.A. Live, which is adjacent to the Staples Center.

Since Staples opened in 1999, property values in Downtown Los Angeles have increased 151.2 percent, according to the Downtown Center Business Improvement District. Similar investment in Inglewood would radiate throughout the surrounding area. “There are so many avenues this is going to open,” Hutton said. “For housing alone, it’s amazing, but the economy itself is going to have an influx. You have to staff places, and you can’t have a stadium with no restaurants or hotels.”

Jan Rhees, a Manhattan Beach-based manager with Partners Trust, believes that the real estate market is primed to bring in about $200 million due to the Rams move, “and a large percentage of that could end up in the South Bay.” Manhattan, in particular, is a target for incoming athletes, she said. Rhees indicated that a 4,676 square foot, six bed, five bath home selling for $4.9 million in the Sand section was already drawing interest.

Yet the draw for athletes, Rhees says, is not just location, but the lifestyle. “It’s the outdoor quality of life, beach casual — it’s a smaller community where an athlete or a celebrity can walk around and they won’t be bothered … it enables athletes to focus on what’s important to them and their performance. A life to return to that is idyllic, peaceful and sane.

“If you don’t like where you live, you bring that to your game,” Rhees said. “When you love where you live, and your family loves it, then you love playing.”