When Ernie Wish opened the Toluca Lake office of Wish Sotheby’s International Realty in 2017, he felt like he was returning home.
Growing up in North Hollywood, Wish remembers spending a lot of time on Riverside Drive, hanging out “at the original International House of Pancakes, Bob’s Big Boy and, of course, Hot Dog Show.” So for him to be able to bring his business to what he feels is “one of the most special communities in Los Angeles” was a highlight in his career — and a homecoming that brought everything full circle.
After spending 35 years as an attorney specializing in real estate and representing the vast majority of the top real estate brokerage companies in the Los Angeles area, in 2004, Wish was presented with an opportunity to become the fifth franchisee of Sotheby’s International Realty, a worldwide real estate company with over 1,000 offices in more than 70 countries. That opportunity led to Wish and his wife, Fran, forming Wish Sotheby’s International Realty in 2012.
Soon after, Wish opened his first office in Sherman Oaks, and over the next few years he added offices in Encino and Calabasas. In 2016, he began looking for a fourth location in Toluca Lake, which he recalls being “a difficult task, as most merchants rarely moved given the uniqueness and specialness of the community.” But as luck would have it, during his search, the RadioShack on 10110 Riverside Drive put up signs that it was closing. Wish saw his chance and contacted the owner, who agreed to lease him the space. Once RadioShack vacated, Wish had the space renovated with the tight-knit feel of the neighborhood in mind, converting the upstairs loft into a gathering place for community meetings. Wish was finally back on his old stomping grounds.
Today, Wish Sotheby’s International Realty has 120 real estate professionals who specialize in the sale of luxury properties in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles and the surrounding area. The Toluca Lake office has represented the buyers and sellers of many notable properties in and around the neighborhood, including a property on Valley Spring Lane owned by number of celebrities.
In addition to being leaders in luxury real estate, Wish’s teams work to uphold and build on the company culture that he and Fran created when they established the business — which is “one of friendship, cooperation and a sense of community within the company and within the communities it serves,” he says.
The Toluca Lake office, which is home to 12 of the company’s realtors, has shown its commitment to the community by being active in numerous events throughout the year, including the Holiday Open House and the Taste of Toluca/Earth Day Celebration. They have also volunteered with organizations and made donations to charities that help underserved children and the homeless. This involvement is important to Wish because “we recognize that our clients — whether buyers or sellers of residential real estate property — make up the communities we serve,” he says.
Wish has a special place in his heart for Toluca Lake and feels grateful to be able to give back to and be involved in a community that’s given him many memories in return. He celebrates its small-town character and reflects on how “heartwarming it is ‘to be back’” nearly every day.
“Just spend an hour at Patys on a Sunday morning, or attend the car events at Bob’s Big Boy,” Wish says. “Fran and I live just adjacent to Toluca Lake, and many nights of the week, we are at one of the community’s great restaurants where we always get into conversations with the patrons and the owners because there is such a warm and friendly way about the community. It is a bit of a throwback to an earlier and simpler time.”