The Amazing Stories of Land
People still remember the day a man showed up in a quiet little community southeast of Los Angeles and bought 160 acres of farmland to do something nobody else in the world had ever imagined.
“The best thing that ever happened to Orange County was when Walt Disney chose that vacant land to build his dream. His business decision had an economic impact on the region that is still deeply felt today,” says Lynn Tivens, CEO of Forecast Land. “It was the summer of 1953, and while few folks had the foresight to predict the coming economic boom; others did see the opportunity. The visionaries of that era bought parcels of land located right in the pathway of what became major growth.”
Lynn and his brother Randy Tivens are land specialists who understand high-growth areas; their firm is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018. They say that the history of Southern California land is filled with fascinating business stories that share a surprising theme—in the past and even today, the outlying suburbs of Los Angeles were simply never expected to develop; until suddenly they did and still do.
“Studying the history of land development is one of the most intriguing parts of our jobs,” says Randy Tivens, VP of marketing at Forecast Land. “It’s exciting to see the incredible ways that history tends to repeat itself in the marketplace. The same stories happen over and over. A community appears sleepy and stagnant to most of the world. Then, someone new enters the picture and everything changes.”
Like Tarzana. The San Fernando Valley region of the city of Los Angeles is named for the fictional character Tarzan. That is because iconic writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan, saw the potential of vacant land and bought a large tract for his home and for investment purposes. Property that once was deemed too far from Los Angeles to be valuable, became an amazing asset.
Randy explains, “Across time, people who pay attention to the land and the landscape of commerce become wealthy. The same types of stories have occurred in Beverly Hills and Westwood, in Santa Monica and Newport Beach. It’s hard to believe now, but at key points in history, people truly thought these areas were too far away from Los Angeles to be important. Of course, the visionaries of the eras knew better.”
Lynn says, “These days we are seeing history absolutely repeat itself in a different corner of Los Angeles county. Wise investors like Warren Buffett are buying land that almost anyone could afford. There is an important revolution in energy, aerospace, and technology happening now that has the capacity to be as significant to that area as Disneyland was to Orange County. Visionaries can recognize that high growth is genuinely unfolding. History explains why and that’s why knowing the stories of the land matter.”