Big Money Floods Venice Beach

Is a gentrified Venice Beach still Venice Beach? With median home prices topping $1.4 million, the area's eclectic characters can't afford to stay. Investors and the tech industry say the change is only natural.

August 28, 2015, 9:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

Abbot Kinney

Michael Dorausch / Flickr

Venice Beach is on the path to becoming something very different. Some are now calling the area Silicon Beach. "As skyrocketing real estate prices push longtime residents out of this oceanside district of Los Angeles, corporate chains are replacing funky shops, and tech geeks are emerging as a dominant part of the scene."

Google and Snapchat stand out among a throng of start-ups and plentiful investment by moneyed interests. Median home prices are up from $832,000 to $1.4 million in the past five years alone. Abbot Kinney Boulevard, formerly a space for bohemian shops and eateries, has gone full yuppie. "In a stunner last month, a piece of commercial property on the boulevard sold for $44 million to a New York partnership [...] Jaws had also dropped when the same property sold for $20 million two years ago."

Venice's breakneck gentrification is pushing out the artists and musicians who defined the area for so many years. Some commentators call it natural, prime beachfront property finally coming into the value it should have had all along. Venice is now the top Airbnb spot in L.A.

If that's the case, the area's hippies and avant-garde artists will need to find somewhere else to call home. Or as one resident put it, "A lot of other people, they just disappear, dude."

Monday, August 10, 2015 in The Washington Post


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