by Philippe Hartley
Alan Stone stands on the edge of the roof parapet, his 18-unit apartment building beneath him, arms akimbo and heels sunken into the blinding white of the brand-new surface membrane. Workmen are affixing the last seams, but his eyes sweep the street 30 feet below, scoping the comings and goings of his tenants. He’s been keeping turn-over low, intends to keep it that way. It’s an hour drive here from his house in good LA traffic (which means never), and he’d like to see more revenue for the work. Eighteen months into this purchase the cash flow is still tight. He needs to scale up with another building but values are on fire, as far as his eye can see.