LIVIN’: RENT CONTROL
City Beat: June 26, 2003
By Elizabeth Hanauer
How do Hollywood’s celebs and film industry insiders score the dream apartments? With their creative essays, of course. Dave Goldstein, who owns 35 of the city’s most desirable addresses, a fantastic array of circa 1920 and 1930 buildings in Hancock Park, Beverly Hills, and the Hollywood Hills, requires an essay from each of his applicants, no matter how fat the wallet.
“Short of selling off my organs, I would do anything to live in one of your buildings,” reads one of the applications. “They are the treasures of the city. Will sign in blood if needed.” Goldstein’s renovated English Tudors, Art Deco, and Italian villas apparently merit the lease-lust, many of them outfitted beyond the requisite wood floors, beamed ceilings, and antique fixtures with so-civil touches like mosaic tiles, stained glass, or Mediterranean landscape murals.
“I want my tenants to have soul,” says Goldstein. “I don’t care about the money. You don’t have to have a job, but you’ve got to show me that you deserve to be in one of my buildings.” Raising the bar on LA’s out of control housing market has been good news for one struggling demographic: writers. His tenants work on Frasier, Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, The Tonight Show, and have written several blockbuster films. Ninety-five percent of Goldstein’s tenants are “creatives,” a group including actors, models (they write!) and musicians (they write too much!), a hand-picked clientel that he calls “the collection.”
Doctors, lawyers, and financial wizards can try to bribe their way in with gifts and enormous checks, but if their prose lacks passion, they can hop back into their black BMW’s and hit the road. Goldstein says, “When they’re not artists or don’t have any artist in them, I usually don’t like them.” Celebrities don’t get off the hook either (although it is o.k. if their assistants do the actual writing.) Bill Gates leased one of his units as a corporate apartment (one of his minions wrote the essay.) Our personal fave? “An attorney by trade am I/leaving behind my 4-pound Chihuahua, Tito, would make me cry/a one bedroom is all I seek/for me and my dog who is very meek.” But if that made the cut, we’re slightly less impressed.