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An artistic, green masterpiece

Tresor's beachfront home at 990 Oceanfront has been honored with Platinum LEED status on the West Coast. It sold for $13 million, a possible record for the area.

February 23, 2011|By Greer Wylder
(Don Leach | don.leach@latimes.com )

You've got to love dreamers like John Fischbeck.

Fischbeck co-founded Laguna Beach-based Tresor Properties to develop single-family homes that are unique, high-end and super eco-friendly. It's a lofty vision, but what were its chances during the worst housing downturn in memory?

Fischbeck, 42, recently put his first Platinum LEED project on the market, a 3,600-square-foot oceanfront home in Laguna Beach that listed for about $13 million — reportedly the most expensive property per square foot ever listed in that ZIP code.

And it sold to the first potential buyer who walked through the door and escrow closed in five days.

"It was a groundbreaking project on an environmentally sensitive piece of real estate," Fischbeck said. "We turned it into an art piece that the community, and the new owner can be proud of."

I recently had the opportunity to tour the home, and it was easy to see why Tresor Properties' formula has worked so spectacularly. First, the property with an ultra-modern vibe is visually stunning, beginning with a dramatic entryway with cascading water down the Portuguese limestone steps that gives visitors the feel of walking on water.

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The home also features three floors of living space, glass walls for stunning ocean views and an iPad that controls everything in the house from temperature to lighting.

But perhaps the house's best selling point is that it's the first property on the West Coast certified as a Platinum Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) home — meaning it's incredibly eco-friendly.

"Tresor's [oceanfront property] provides an opportunity to show off an outstanding home that has an added element of eco-friendly," said Ken Howe, who teaches an online course at UC Irvine in LEED construction management. "It highlights the drama that can be achieved while using LEED design."

The oceanfront project took advantage of its natural elements in the same way Orange County's first Platinum LEED Certified building — the Environmental Nature Center (ENC) in Newport Beach — was designed by LPA, Inc., an Irvine based firm specializing in sustainable architecture.

"It's crazy what a site can offer us for free," said Dan Heinfeld, president of LPA. "Cool ocean breezes, available sunlight, no need for air conditioning makes the perfect DNA for a LEED building, and it just makes good business sense."

Heinfeld likens sustainable projects to "solving problems, not chasing fashion."

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