Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Real Estate Speak; Indy Reporter to Flee to D.C.; Mission & State Drops

I was recently reminded of the great lengths real estate types will go to in order to put the best spin possible on a property's shortcomings. Last week the Independent had an article on the Alma del Pueblo development that is going up alongside the Arlington Theater where the old Von's supermarket used to be. Although downtown living offers many advantages, a great view from one's home usually isn't one of them. However, in describing what her development has to offer, owner/developer Marge Cafarelli listed "vignette views" as one of the attributes of units within the development.

"Vignette views?" What the hell are those? All it conjures up in my mind is a tunnel like peek through a corridor or alley-way with some unchanging object to focus on. But, as I said, the real estate crowd speaks a code all of it its own. To them, "charming" means small and "quaint" means "smaller." "Fixer-upper" means, money pit and "contractor's dream" means tear-down.

The Alma del Pueblo development is only about three blocks from the "charming" house in which I live so it's in my 'hood and naturally I'm curious to see what they will go for in terms of price. After all, as Ronald Reagan once said, "A rising tide lifts all boats." I agree with that. In fact, it may be the only thing that Ronald Reagan ever said that I agree with. At Alma del Pueblo one and two-bedroom condos range in price from $840,000 to $2.6 million, which means they are "quainter" than the place where I live while priced quite a bit higher than what I paid for my place 18 months ago. I'm hoping those sale prices will work their Reagonomics magic on the value of my own place even though I don't have any "vignette views," unless you count the eyeful I get of my chain-smoking neighbor hanging out on his front porch directly across the street from me.

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Chris "I-won't-sleep-on-your-icky-sheets" Meagher is leaving his position as a news reporter at the Independent to become Congresswoman Lois Capps' press secretary taking the place of Ashley Schapitl who has taken a position as communications manager for a national health organization. Besides being a full-time reporter Chris is also a part-time law student at Santa Barbara College of Law. (Yes. That is where I teach.) He will be working at his new job out of Santa Barbara until he completes his legal studies at the end of this year after which he will relocate to Washington D.C. Will miss see him around town, around campus and reading his stories in the Independent. Even if he doesn't want to spend the night sleeping at the Motel 6 in Carpinteria.

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Mission & State, the newest online journalism venture in town made its debut last week. Overall I'd say they are off to a good start. Most impressive are the audio stories which have a very NPR quality feel to them. One criticism is they need to more frequently update the site with new stories every day lest they start looking like Craig Smith's Blog.