Inside Real Estate - November 15th, 2019

Inside Real Estate (Nov 15th, 2019)

Venice floods' recovery costs / Martha Stewart's real estate plans / The 'Best House in the UK'

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1. The Italian government declared a state of emergency for Venice, 70 percent of which is currently flooded. The city’s historic St. Mark’s Square, as well as the many shops that surround it, have been forced to close. Venice officials say the high tide rose to 5.05 feet, the second-highest in its history. The Italian government is allocating €20 million — roughly $22 million — toward recovery but anticipates that it will be much more expensive to repair the city. Experts claim the damage to this popular tourist plaza could run into the hundreds of millions of euros. St. Mark's Basilica's destruction is likely "irreparable," because of saltwater damage to its mosaics and columns. - CNBC

2. A new project in San Jose, California, could add more than 760 new homes, including 330 designated for affordable-living units, just a block away from some Google-owned properties. If approved, these new buildings would replace a number of commercial buildings in the area. They’d be minutes from Google’s proposed transit village, Downtown West, which would add hotels, shops, and restaurants that would employ a whopping 25,000 people. - THE MERCURY NEWS

3. A minimalist rural residence known as “House Lessans” has just been named the best new architect-designed house in the UK by the Royal Institute of British Architects. The Northern Ireland "Best House of the Year" is sleek and modern, which creates a stark contrast with its rolling green terrain. It cost roughly £335,000 — or $432,500 — to build. RIBA president Alan Jones remarked: “Even with the tightest of budgets, House Lessans shows that a dream home, designed by a talented architect, can be a reality.” - BLOOMBERG

4. Martha Stewart is scouting out cities in Europe, Asia and the U.S. for upcoming real estate projects, according to The Real Deal. Martha Stewart brand owner, Marquee Brands, is collaborating with Brand Labs International to find parcels for what could be single-family homes, assisted-living facilities, condos or other residential projects. Marquee Brands explains that Stewart's large collection of houses has prepared her for this process and will inform her vision for these new developments. - ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST

5. One of Snapchat’s inaugural employees, David Kravitz, just bought a 38-acre, secluded ranch in Topanga Canyon, near Los Angeles. The 2,500-square-foot residence —built in 1990 — reportedly set him back $5.4 million. The three-bedroom dwelling’s main draw is its vast, unspoiled acreage and scenic mountain backdrop. The home is surrounded by gardens that yield a variety of fruits and vegetables. - VARIETY

6. Four-year-old startup Travelio has raised $18 million to help connect people with homes in Jakarta — where 50 percent of residential units are reportedly vacant. Travelio — which collects between 20 and 35 percent of the revenue generated by its property owners — has roughly 4,000 fully furnished homes on its platform. It also offers cleaning services and maintenance and hopes to eventually provide financing options and interior design. Co-founder Christina Suriadjaja said it differentiates itself from sites like Airbnb because it leases out a property from a few days to a few months, instead of focusing on the travel sector. - TECHCRUNCH 

7. Oprah Winfrey's impressive real-estate portfolio stretches from Montecito, California, to Maui. She reportedly owns more than $30 million and 160 acres in Hawaii. However, she’s shed several Chicago — where she filmed "The Oprah Winfrey Show” for 25 years — properties in recent years. Her most famous estate is “The Promised Land,” a 23,000-square-foot Neo-Georgian mansion in Montecito, which she bought for $50 million in 2011. - REALTOR

8. The pool of real-estate-focused billionaires in China is still thriving, according to Forbes. Real estate was considered “a main source of wealth in China earlier days,” and is only being outpaced by the tech industry.  All of the people on the 2019 Forbes China Rich List, which was released last week, were billionaires— no millionaires made the cut. Among the top people on the list is the country’s wealthiest real estate developer, Hui Ka Yan, with a $27.7 billion fortune. - FORBES

9. A new luxury condominium tower at 33550 South Ocean in South Palm Beach, Florida, just sold two penthouses, one for $6.4 million and another for $3.8 million. The beachfront building, which features just 30 residences, is seven stories tall and situated a mere third-of-a mile south of the Palm Beach line. The pricier penthouse was purchased by the former Samuel Manu-Tech Inc. CEO, Toronto-born Mark Samuel. It was originally listed at $7.2 million and includes 7,005  square feet of indoor-outdoor living space, including a rooftop terrace that overlooks the ocean. - THE PALM BEACH POST

10. Sri Lanka's Urbanest Apartments in Buthgamuwa, Rajagiriya, promises to be the country's most sustainable apartment complex. Its vertical-living,  environmentally friendly features include solar-power energy, a rainwater harvesting system, cross ventilation and a solar photovoltaic system to power its lighting. The tower includes 1,388- to 1,456-square-foot units that range from LKR 23.5million — $130,000 — to LKR 31 million — $170,000. - SES ENGINEERING

Written and curated by Darla Guillen Gilthorpe. Darla writes for the Houston Chronicle, where she was part of its 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist staff. She was previously an editor at Vox Media site Eater and has had bylines in Elle Decor, SFGate and various other outlets. Follow her on Twitter here.

Editor: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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