On a drizzly afternoon in March, Danny Haber is walking down 24th Street in West Oakland, giving a tour of two of his new apartment developments, when he pauses mid-step and turns to look over his shoulder. “You see that?” he says, a bit of edge to his voice. A car slows down as it drives past us. “It looks like Jonah’s car. Sometimes he just sits out here in that Volvo.”
Jonah is Jonah Strauss, the 38-year-old founder of the Oakland Warehouse Coalition and Haber’s most vocal adversary. A former resident of the 24th Street building that Haber’s company, oWow, bought and is redeveloping into 16 apartments, Strauss has described Haber’s developments as “gentrification bombs.” “As if the subprime mortgage crisis wasn’t enough, you now have Danny Haber preying on the neighborhood,” he says. (As for whether Strauss was stalking Haber in his car, he says he wasn’t: “I have no desire to interact with him in person.”)
LOS ANGELES — The black-lit pillow fight room was perfect. “Anything with movement, it’s an instant boomerang!” said Ayla Woodruff. “That’s just a given.”
She quickly jumped into the milieu, picked up a few white feathers and asked her mother to start shooting. Half a dozen models in form-fitting pajamas theatrically swung pillows at each other, jumped on the bed and hammed it up as party guests snapped pictures with their phones.
Ms. Woodruff is a 25-year-old professional social media influencer. She gets paid as much as $22,000 for a post.
This was at a real estate open house on a recent evening in Los Angeles. There were a few stacks of fliers with the usual twilight photos and bullet-point highlights of the home on offer (a $15.895-million hillside contemporary-style mansion with an infinity pool and 360-degree views of Los Angeles).
One man is building a house so enormous, and so absurdly lavish, that it may be the ultimate symbol of our age of thirst, excess and inequality. Asking price? $500 million.