Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Nancy Kaufman
Observer Staff Writer 

Couldn't we all just get along? Asks Halton Pardee, celebrating SNAP Inc's Venice Presence

Venice Realtor Says Snapchat is Enhancing the Quality of Life in Venice

 

April 16, 2017

Venice Realtor Says Snapchat is Enhancing the Quality of Life in Venice. And besides, technological advancement has always required sacrifice.

Venice Beach, CA is still where the action is today, in its new, improved and future form. Snap, the technology boom, the rise of digital capitalism, and Snapchat as the disrupter of social media all intersect where the economy and culture of Venice meet.

According to Forbes, Snap was considered the disrupter of social media in 2013. Business Insider called Snap a "socially augmented reality platform," which has taken the digital platform to another level. Snapchat is the only app of its kind where advertising, creativity and fun are bundled into one and the user can actually simultaneously play with the filters while actively engaging with the advertisement. https://www.forbes.com/special-report/2013/disruptors/index.html

The way Snap has helped to shape the new, exciting and vibrant culture of Venice is comprehensibly explained by Justin Alexander, the director of sales of Halton Pardee, the real estate agency that Justin describes as the "tech broker" of Venice.

While local residents were protesting Snap, holding up signs such as, "Snap killed Mom and Pop," others, including real estate agency, Halton Pardee celebrated the company's Venice presence.

Justin Alexander, of Halton Pardee explained the Snap phenomena as part of the tech boom that is "changing Venice economy and enhancing the culture."

Snap has really been great for the neighborhood and for Halton Pardee, whose office stands right on Abbot Kinney, the heart of the new Venice economy. Justin revealed that in the last 12 months, his agency sold ten homes to ten employees of Snap.

Snap's presence in Venice, Justin says, is "bringing a vitality to the neighborhood and it is the future of business and the economy."

When asked about the complaints that protesters have made, Justin explained that what they don't realize is that Snap, and other tech companies such as Google are "bringing Venice to a new level, as part of the global economy. "

Snap, Justin says is "great for the neighborhood. So many employees want to live close to the office." Since Snap's Venice offices have 1000 employees, there have been surges in the real estate market and an improved boom in local businesses such as restaurants and boutiques have all been the result of Snap and Google's presence in "Silicon Beach." As Justin puts it, Snap has brought "vitality

There is, "from Tumbleweed & Dandelion to Zinque as a mobile office," Justin says, an extra excitement referring the commercial boom on Abbott Kinney. First it was Google, then more upscale restaurants and shops, and now Snap invigorates the Venice economy.

Justin noted that because of the tech boom, Venice is attracting "people from London, Australia, New York and all over the world. "All want to be a part of Venice!" As a result of tech companies such as Snap's and Google's ubiquitous presence in the beach city, Venice has now become a place of global interest and a part of the global economy.

Everyone wants to be part of Venice. Justin explained that there's been a boom for "tech people, business people, and fashion people, on Abbot Kinney."

Justin has noted that the city's boom has extended to entertainment and media people as well. He said Halton Pardee sold a home to a Grammy award winning production firm. "When tech and media industry create partnerships, there is a more vibrant work space. The reason entertainment firms are also coming to Venice is because they feel that cool edge you have in Venice."

The local residents who were protesting that Snap's corporate presence would interfere with the quirky, bohemian, artsy flavor of the neighborhood, didn't really understand that Snap actually has accentuated this creative vibe. Evan Spiegel, CEO and creator of Snap Inc., after all, grew up in the Venice area, and chose to bring his company back to his stomping grounds because of the incredibly creative atmosphere. Justin said that "Snap is only enhancing the culture of Venice, not detracting from it."

Snap and the other tech companies such as Google are taking Venice to a new modern day level, Justin tells us.

"Venice has been here for a hundred years. It's an amazing town. Snap brings it to a new level and Venice is being watched all over the world. This is the future of business. People can have an office in Beverly Hills or Downtown, but to have an office in Venice gives you a completely different edge because Venice is diff than any town in LA."

When asked to characterize its difference, Justin responded by saying, "inspiring, adventurous, never a dull moment, an dull of people just wanting to love their life."

When asked about the protesters, Justin said, "it's unfortunate. People (like Snap) have worked hard to do something for global economy and the future of business. There's always going to be that handful of people who protest when people get to a certain level of accomplishment."

Justin also said, "I hope that one day the protesting turns into welcoming."

Justin explained that part of the mission of Halton Pardee is to help all stakeholders in the neighborhood find housing. There's never enough housing for the lower, middle and upper income classes. Halton Pardee doesn't just try to find homes for Snap and other wealthy clients, but also for those in need of affordable housing.

He says, "Pardee is actually trying to locate affordable housing. We have clients who are building homes." Unfortunately, he also explained that they are given pushback from city and protesters. "We have to work with Coastal Commission," he also said.

Halton Pardee goes to city meetings to push for projects to be approved and they are constantly working with VNC (Venice Neighborhood Council) and LA city council. He says, "We want sensible building for all economic classes. We want to meet all peoples residential needs on all levels."

The real problem Venice faces is not so much Snap's occupation of 20 or so buildings, but more or less that there are and always have been limited options for housing. Halton Pardee actually works with homeless population, schools, and charities such as Harvest Home that takes in pregnant women and helps them transition their lives into motherhood. As Justin puts it, "we are all about giving back to the community."

45 Market Street is one of many buildings that used to be eclectic stores, that now host God only knows what, Snapchat.

Snap is much like Halton Pardee in that it too helps the community, contrary to what the protesters claim. Bloomberg's sound cloud, Decrypted interviewed a local Venice community group, PS arts, whose spokesperson said that Snap has been an "incredibly responsible contributor," and noted that even some of the snap employees painted with the kids

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-02-23/snap-rankles-venice-neighbors-opposed-to-beachfront-expansion

Long time Venetians will have to learn to accept change, as their city's economy grows. Since Google landed in Venice about six years ago (2011) and Snap's presence began in 2012, there is an economic growing spurt. Any kind of growth spurt often accompanies pain. Local residents will of course experience growing pains and hopefully, eventually, the neighborhood will cohere into a prosperous city of global wonderment. Snap, the vital future of the tech industry is here in Venice to stay!

 

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