With the commercial real estate market in turmoil because of the freefall of the U.S. economy, real estate brokers are in for a rough ride. Broker Ed Rosenthal sells commercial real estate in Los Angeles and has a passion for poetry. Known as the poetbroker Rosenthal encourages high school students to write poetry on urban topics each year in a contest coordinated by the Urban Land Institute.Rosenthal’s anthology of poetry, Jaded Deco, was inspired by the historic 1929 Chapman Building at 8th and Broadway in Los Angeles. The poetbroker said he “fell in love with the building like a woman”. He decided to purchase a unit in the building on the third floor with a very high ceiling.JADED DECOIn ’29 the ownersraised her fluted sidesof aqua terra cotta,covered herin deep blue and coppermade a towerlike a tiaraof latticework in goldand giant white clocksbelow the neon name,“Eastern Columbia.”They pressed a gold sunburstinto her front façadeto welcomewide-eyed shoppers.A beautiful goddessrising as a vision above Broadway.The owners took gold from theirown pocketsbefore the age of credit.Her clocks hummedthrough the Great Depression and the War…. Inspired by the long history of the Chapman Building, Rosenthal acknowledges that: “The owners took gold from their own pockets, before the age of credit.” During the years of the Depression it was very difficult to obtain long term financing for a major project.After purchasing his unit in the Chapman building Rosenthal said he had to cancel escrow in 2006 when the real estate market began to show signs of major deterioration. In fact, the building’s developers “told me to cancel escrow when the sub-prime and pre-qualified clients turned out not to be qualified.” CONJUNCTIVE POINTS SONNETUrban Land Institute Poem 2003Each day we leave the strip that Harry Culver claimedand cross concrete ballona at the L.A. borderat the Turning Point School where I drop off my daughterand there, you pop out like the particles of matter that physicists name,curving steel that winks like sexy eyelashes;flying steps that climb outside the building’s boxhang out over the cars in the morning passageand linger like metal flowers that intoxicate and entice.Because you are a mirror of nature’s own ways,your outside structures match your inside functions.When you say “Build To Suit”, you’re talking DNA,combining beauty and utility in one construction;form flows from function like flesh on bones.Culver City developer Fred Smith’s Conjunctive Points project was named after that point in physics where one cannot distinguish between matter and energy. Rosenthal said: “I was astounded that any developer would call it Conjunctive Points. It just so happened that this development in Culver City was picked as the location for the real estate conference where we hear poets reading every year.”Each year the winner of the poetry contest and the winner’s family is invited to the Urban Land Insitute Conference. Rosenthal’s poems and the winning poem of the poetry contest have been read at the conference by Los Angeles Councilmember Jan Perry. SOME PEOPLE WANT A RIVERWhere the Arroyo Secomeets the Los Angeles,by the Gabrielino sites,in the old rail yards north of Chinatown.a tall blond broker, a flyer,planned to build concrete boxes.But a bunch of activistsheld their hands in his face.Pointing at the concrete trenchesAnd calling it a river,they wished construction craneswould pull up the slabsand put catch basins there instead.One Sunday in L.A.I took my daughter and her friendon a dusty trail to a Malibu river.The sun burned their hair.I poured water on hankiesand put them on their heads.We walked to the rock pool.A bunch of EvangelicalHispanics in white shirtsheld a Baptism.During the dipping,back shadowsof a giant oakmoved on the water….Rosenthal hikes in Topanga State Park and marvels at the Mariposa Lily which blooms in the Spring. Growing up amidst the concrete and steel of New York City, the poetbroker supports the return of the Los Angeles river from a concrete channel to a free flowing river. Rosenthal said he remembers meeting Lewis McCadams, a main supporter of the river’s transformation to a natural condition, and believes that “poetry should be used to influence policy.”For information on Ed Rosenthal’s poetry contact Ed at poetbroker@ yahoo.com and www.poetbroker.com
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