When news broke last week that a new real estate office was opening on Larchmont, the Buzz reached out to Bret Parsons, the Windsor Village resident who will be heading up the operation for Pacific Union International at 156 N. Larchmont Boulevard in Larchmont Village. The office, expected to open later this summer, will take up the entire top floor the Keystone Building, purchased in 2007 by the late Albert Mizrahi, and part of the approximately 20,000 square feet of Larchmont real estate, with his other holdings, now owned by his heirs. The building was formerly the home of Larchmont Hardware, and is now a clothing boutique operated by Mizrahi’s family.
Parsons, a long time local resident and expert in historic architecture, told the Buzz the decision to lease the space preceded him, but he’s intent on making the office a resource for the community.
“We are reaching out to invite the local community to use the space for every kind of community event,” said Parsons. For example, he plans to host drop-in design clinics offering a free 30-minute session with an expert on historic renovations, drawn from the large circle of design experts Parsons has known over the years from his tenure as the marketing director at Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.
“This will not be another real estate office,” explained Parsons. “We are very architecture-centric and community-centric.”
Parsons asserts that most people don’t understand these older homes or appreciate their true value. He’s hoping that by offering more resources on how to update them while still preserving their architectural character, as well as the best ways to finance or refinance, he can help keep them from being torn down or gutted.
“Our neighborhoods are undervalued, as all the good neighborhood in LA get bulldozed,” said Parsons. “But Hancock Park just gets better and better.” Parsons explained it is the result of several factors: our shopping village on Larchmont, our location geographically in the heart of LA, and the fact that the core of the neighborhood is much as it was 100 years ago, because we have retained and enhanced its architectural heritage…all of which continue to make these some of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city.
Parsons has published numerous books documenting the architectural legacy of Southern California, including “Colcord Home” and “Gordon B. Kaufmann,” part of a 12-volume series, and “Master Architects of Southern California 1920-1940.” His next book in the series, “Roland E. Coate,” will be published this May.
In addition to serving as associate manager for the Pacific Union Hancock Park office, Parsons will spearhead the launch of Pacific Union’s Architectural Division in Southern California. As executive director of the division, he will leverage his extensive experience with and passion for architecturally significant properties. Parsons previously served as director of Coldwell Banker’s architectural division. Prior to his career in real estate, Parsons spent 16 years in the architecture and design industry, including a role as the marketing director at Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.
San Francisco-based Pacific Union will have 21 locations in Southern California. In 2016, Pacific Union merged with Los Angeles-based brokerage John Aaroe Group, followed in 2017 with mergers with Partners Trust and Gibson International, also based in Los Angeles, and Empire Realty Associates. The firm has more than 1,700 real estate professionals statewide.