The El Medio Bluffs area extends from Palisades High School to Las Casas, including along Asilomar above the mobile home parks. Like the original Founder’s Tract II which became known as the Via Bluffs, this area was situated on an oceanfront plateau bordered by canyons and cliffs. It was called the Las Pulgas tract in 1924 and was laid out with curving streets and many lots oriented toward the views.
The landscape architects and community planners working on the project intended for there to be several “pocket parks” created by leaving small islands at some of the street intersections. For example, the Almar Plaza complex had four islands and was originally designated as a mini-commercial center where quaint shops would add some charm and provide necessities for the neighborhood. That aspect of the development never took place due to zoning provisions imposed by the city in 1928.
Las Pulgas Canyon is technically in the El Medio bluffs area, although many people don’t realize that. It is nearly as large as Temescal Canyon below Sunset. Although the natural beauty of this rugged Las Pulgas canyon had long attracted hikers, picnickers, and even a few filmmakers, its natural hazards were challenging to would-be developers who had to contend with crumbling hillsides and unstable fill. The property exchanged hands a few times, including developers who planned to build 100 houses on the 26-acre property, then later reduced to 45 homes.
Even though neighbors opposed this project in 1988, he began illegally grading the canyon and ignored the Coastal Commission. Residents above the canyon feared that his further work in the canyon would put their properties at risk and they pursued the developer in court until he finally made it available for purchase again in 1990.
Another investment group planned to put a 9-hole golf course in there but decided the economics were not favorable. The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy had estimated that the property was worth a negative $10.5 million due to the numerous geologic problems, so it declined to purchase it for open space preservation.
Ultimately it was bought in 1996 by an investor who is also environmentally protective and although he has had it up for sale for over $20 million, he still owns it.
There are approximately 750 homes in the El Medio bluffs area. So far in 2022 it has been the most affordable area of the Palisades, with a median sale price of $3.0 million.
The Last Decade of El Medio Bluffs Sales and Prices (as of October 2022)
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