Tuesday, April 17, 2007

That MONSTER and Other Photos

This post originally was published on March 13, 2007. Since then "that MONSTER" was given the name of Seaport Luxury Homes, and their Web site, www.seaport-homes.com has come online and has been revised several times.

I wanted to move this post because I recently received a comment from someone who bought a unit in one of the other two developments on Fitness Drive. I think this person made some good points that I feel should be shared.

The first two photos are of what I call "that MONSTER". Its address is 28000 South Western Avenue, and it is the Sea Port Condominiums at San Pedro.

(If you move your mouse over each picture and click the mouse, the photos should be enlarged for better viewing.)

It is NOT part of Ponte Vista at San Pedro, and I am happy to report that more community members are becoming more informed about how it is not part of Mr. Bisno's current plans, but it is important in any discussion and debate of Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

According to the ordinance passed by the Los Angeles City Council, 28000 Western Avenue is approved for up to 136 units of residences.

The first view is a panning shot of the building along Fitness Drive. Fitness Drive will have three condominium developments consisting of a 62-unit structure nearest Western Avenue, Sea Port Condominiums with 136 units, and Casa Verde Estates, with 129 units. All of these units will have only Fitness drive as their ingress and egress road to Western Avenue. Fitness Drive has a stop sign, currently at Western Avenue. There MAY be plans to connect Fitness Drive with any public road built in Ponte Vista, but currently, there is no access road between the developments on Fitness Drive and the Ponte Vista site.

This second shot is of the back of 28000 Western Avenue as it looked on March 13, 2007. A portion of the Ponte Vista site is in the foreground. As you will note, there are two levels of parking under four levels of residential building. Mr. Bisno plans to have all of the parking under the buildings at Ponte Vista and below ground level. Mr. Bisno also plans a number of buildings with six stories of residential units above ground, so this photo may also present a good illustration of what the height of Mr. Bisno's six-story buildings might be.

At this point I feel it necessary to remind readers about two very important facts. The building which appears in these two photographs is of a development of 136 residential units. Mr. Bob Bisno's current plans call for NINE buildings at Ponte Vista that would have more units than the one pictured here. There is one building drawn on the Ponte Vista site plans that is shown to have 187 units, 51 units more than the building photographed here.

If you notice very closely at between that MONSTER and the building to its right, you might notice what appears to be a very small road. There is actually a narrow roadway between these two buildings. It is used as access to and from the garage parking of the building on the right.

This next photo is of Fitness Drive looking east. The 62-unity condominium building is in the foreground to the left. Looking further down the drive and to the left, you can see that MONSTER, or at least a tiny section of it. Notice how the large truck and trailer take up much of the width of the drive. Looking to the very end, Casa Verde Estates is at the end of the drive.

The Photo below is of the building closest to Western Avenue on Fitness Drive. It is a 62-unit structure. Not one of the 20 buildings currently planned for Ponte Vista at San Pedro will have as few units as this building has. The closest number of units per building at Ponte Vista is scheduled to have 67 units.

This last photo is of that portion of Casa Verde Estates that abuts the Ponte Vista property. It is primarily a three-story structure with underground parking. This development sits between that MONSTER and "The Gardens" condominium development. There appears to be no access between Casa Verde Estates and any road or access to the east or south, other than Fitness Drive.

This photographic journey along Fitness Drive illustrates three different developments, with three different totals for units per building. These three developments, taken together, can provide a small illustration of what may be built at Ponte Vista.

Ponte Vista at San Pedro, as currently planned, will have 20 residential structures with a total of 2,300 homes. Nine of the buildings will have more units in them than "that MONSTER", but none of the buildings will have as few at the building on Fitness Drive closest to Western Avenue.

None of the three developments pictured are part of Ponte Vista at San Pedro, but every resident in the three buildings will be severely impacted by traffic issues if an access road between them and the public road planned at Ponte Vista is not built.


mellonhead said...

I just got an email from RPV City telling me "Good News!" LADOT and the Ponte Vista development will pay for a traffic signal at Peninsula Verdes Dr. Well whoop-de-do! Our worries are over. BTW how are all those people on Fitness Dr. going to turn left coming out on Western. Maybe they won't.

Anonymous said...

I recently bought one of the condos on Fitness Drive without really knowing what was going on. I work hard and it took everything I have to do this. It has been a nightmare. All of a sudden we lost our view, staring into the 2nd floor of a parking structure. Builders make a lot of promises in order to get what they want without really caring about the impact it will have on the people living there. Management and the Board seem to be in on it too, and at what price who knows. It appear that they don't care and they just want to make money. They paint a pretty picture, but it is not. They ask everyone's opinion about the project, except the people who live there, which are the most important opinions. They claim lower housing for seniors, and people who don't live there run and sign these stupid petitions without really knowing anythng. Try letting 250 cars out on Fitness Drive which is a one way in and out access, to Western Avenue. People are so corrupt and don't care about the standard of living for hard working people. They so much as would kick you out of your own home if you don'tgo along with their agenda. They want to keep raising the association fees to align their own pockets, they keep you in the dark. Don't buy a Condo. Association fees will keep going up every 6 to 12 months. Save yourself the headaches and buy a house in a nice quite street, you're better off.

M Richards said...

Thank you anonymous 3:33 PM,

Your comments are so improtant that I have moved this post to be better viewed by more people.

The Tennis Club and Casa Verde developments will suffer the most from the construction of Seaport Luxury Homes. Next will come all those who have to use Western Avenue near Fitness Drive. Finally we all will suffer no matter what is built at Ponte Vista.

The fewer the number of folks living at Ponte Vista, the better it would be for all of us.

michael.meacher said...

While I agree with your comments that this building is a monster, I wonder why you keep using it as an example of what is proposed at Ponte Vista. The sites are completely different. You seem to have a good command of the DEIR, so I wonder why you did not pick up on this?

Seaport Village, for all intents and purposes sits on top of a rise for all to see. The Ponte Vista site is sloped. With the green strip and height limit proposed along Western there would be nothing like the monster in sight in Ponte Vista. Taller buildings would be interior to the project, which is down-slope. So from the street, or even other buildings in the project, you'd just see rooftop.

Unfortunately for us, the Seaport Village project did not require any public hearings. If I had known they would have put up something this god-awful, I would have been screaming my head off.

But please tell me why I need to get worked up about a different project that most likely will not have the same height buildings, and has already been designed so I don't have to look at it?

Michael Meacher

michael.meacher said...

Anonymous 3:33pm

Association dues are certainly an issue, but one that comes up in every single HOA whether you have a condo or a neighborhood association. Your exhortation to buy a house assumes that the buyer can take care of it. As someone who just went through this situation, it is ignoring the fact many seniors can't, or don't want to spend their free time fixing this and that around the house. Let's face it, it is always something. The water heater, or the gutters, or mowing the lawn, etc. My mother owned her home, but just could not keep up with the work after my father passed. We ended up moving her into a condo because that's what association dues pay for.

Michael Meacher

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 3:33 p.m ..... sorry for your loss. Seems the condo seller turned a blind-eye to CA disclosure laws. The homeowners should rid the HOA board members since they did not fairly represent their voice. Maybe the increasing monthly fees will pay for traffic improvements that the HOA did not require the developer to do. And to Michael Meacher.....your wrong about the lack of required public hearings for the project at 28000 So. Western (Seaport). I know those that attended the first hearing in Los Angeles as well as the second.
They spoke loud and clear in support. Moreover, Seaport site does slope about 20feet from the West downwards on the East. You should get "worked-up" about Ponte Vista because nothing is written in stone. Speak now.

M Richards said...

Howdy Michael.Meacher,

When construction really got going on what is now Seaport Luxury Homes, people would ask me what was being built and many folks had the mistaken impression that it is part of Ponte Vista at San Pedro.

I wanted to provide some kind of illustration using the building under construction to compare it with what might be built at Ponte Vista.

I know that Bob Bisno now claims that no building would be taller than three stories, that sit along Western and he has lowered his stories count from 4-6 stories per building, down to 3-5 stories, as he now verbally claims.

But, Seaport does offer some comparison to buildings that might be built at Ponte Vista, and the two other buildings along Fitness Drive can also be used for comparison.

The DEIR listed 20 residential condominium buildings on lots at Ponte Vista. One drawing also has a breakdown of the sizes for each building.

Of the twenty buildings currently proposed for Ponte Vista, the building with the fewest number of units per building is listed as havint 67 units. That compares to the Tennis Club building on Fitness Drive, closest to Western Avenue. That condominium building has 62 units and it has five fewer units than is proposed for the smallest residential building at Ponte Vista.

Seaport Luxury Homes is building a 136-unit building between the Tennis Club's 62-units and Casa Verde's 129 units. The Seaport building, while looking like a very big structure is actually some 51 units smaller than the largest building currently proposed for the Ponte Vista site. The largest of the 20 residential structures is listed as having 187 units.

Seven of the 20 residential buildings at Ponte Vista are slated to have more units in them than the 136-unit Seaport building.

Now for the height issue. Seaport appears to have four floors of residential units above two floors of parking. All of the residential buildings at Ponte Vista are slated to have two levels of underground parking, so the parking should not be as well viewed as it is with the Seaport building.

Now, the original drawings for some of the buildings at Ponte Vista show them to be up to six stories tall. Those buildings would probably be comparable in height to what we see when we look at the Seaport building.

Bob Bisno claims that the taller buildings would be placed towards the eastern or lower portion of the Ponte Vista property, however, the largest building slated to be built at Ponte Vista is a Senior Housing building, which Bob continues to plan to be placed in the northern portion of the property, which is at higher elevation than Seaport is.

The buildings planned to be part of the Senior Housing section at Ponte Vista include a 187-unit building, a 164-unit building, a 125-unit building, and a tiny 98-unit building. If you look at the site drawings for Ponte Vista, these buildings would be built at the highest elevations of the property and would probably require much grading and earth movememt to lower their overall height compared to the level of Western Avenue as it now.

Another aspect of Seaport is that IF a public park is built at Ponte Vista and IF it is built where Bob want's it built, then the building would stand next to the park and not have a building in Ponte Vista directly next to it.

Mr. Bisno has said that he might increase the number of units in the Senior Housing section. I don't know if he will designate some non-age restricted buildings to become part of the larger section, or perhaps increase the sizes of the buildings in the Senior Section.

All in all, "that MONSTER" is really the only visual thing we really have to compare to what might be in store for all of us IF Ponte Vista is built according to the illustrations submitted by the applicant.

I haven't heard one person yet claim that the Seaport Luxury Homes building is a beautiful, refreshing development to come to our area. Most of the folks seem to think it is really a monster, and they have no idea what may be in store for them if Ponte Vista is built the way Bob continues to want it to be built.

I am still waiting for some real compromise to come from the folks at Ponte Vista.

michael.meacher said...

Okay, on the public hearing thing, perhaps I missed it. Probably becasue I'm not within the 500 foot radius for notification, and this blog did not exist at the time, so I did not know about them.

Secondly, if I gave any hint that I thought Seaport Village was okay, let me clarify by saying it is one of the ugliest things I've ever seen. If I had my way, they'd dynamite the place.

I'm still a bit confused though by the comparison to Ponte Vista. I understand what you've said about the grading and such, but in what I've seen in concept drawings the architecture seems completely different. Ponte Vista's concept drawings seem pretty attractive. Comments?

Michael Meacher

M Richards said...

Howdy again Michael,

I do like the artist's renderings of what Ponte Vista might look like. There is an 1100+ development of apartments in Irvine on MacArthur Drive that very, very closely resembles the drawings. I think the name of that project is Newport Villa. It has private drives, parks, and all the amenities I would expect for a first-rate complex. If you look at some previous posts, like the one I wrote about the first tour the CAC took to view the complex, you will learn that I liked what I saw.

A big problem for me is not what Ponte Vista might look like, it is simply the sizes and scale of the project. Considering that seven buildings at Ponte Vista might be larger than the Seaport building scares me.

Seaport is ugly, IMHO, and I think that most folks who view their Web site might also feel the finished product will not be much to look at.

Ponte Vista is just too much of the same thing, according to Bob's current plans, I feel. While it does look great on paper, I actually got a chance to tour a development that looks much like what Ponte Vista might look like, even though it was half the size.

The CAC look like they are recommending different types of buildings, different looks, and different numbers of buildings. All the while, Bob's current vision sits in the corner of the meeting room and absolutely nothing has been really put in print by the Bisno organization to suggest Bob is willing to compromise on anything. Yes, he has said that there will be no buildings taller than three stories along Western, and yes, he has said that the rest of the buildings wouldn't be as tall as his original drawings suggest.

But these words come from a person who charged in print form, that there would be a "mix of single-family housing, condominiums, and townhomes...". So Mr. Meagher, I must question what might from Bob's words when I read such a distortion of the facts that are included in numerous places within the DEIR, Initial Study, and other documentation.

I can't take Bob's words as truth because I have read things that simply are not true, concerning the Ponte Vista project.

Would somebody, anybody from the Ponte Vista Development group please start thinking about putting compromise proposals in print so we can get this project built.

And another thing. It is very obvious to everyone that the majority of folks asked if they favored a development of some kind being built at the Ponte Vista site, would say YES. Just about everyone who signs the R1 petitions believe something should be built at Ponte Vista. It just so happens what they want does not agree with what Bob's supporters want. Both groups favor something being built at Ponte Vista.

We don't need to remind anyone that the majority of folks in our community want something built at Ponte Vista. Whether it is a park, a 429-unit project, a 1,700-unit development, or a compromise of some kind, the majority of members of our community want something built there.

michael.meacher said...

Well yes, developers are famous for presenting one thing and something else winds up on the site. A friend of mine who lives over on Grand Avenue had a developer propose a 3-storey building and get permits. Lo and behold a 5-storey wound up being constructed because of the way everything was worded. It tuns out it was 3 stories of residential. In the fine print was 1 story of parking above 1 storey of street-level retail. An appeal to the Planning Commission was turned down. Yikes! Sort of like the poor guy up top who is suddenly looking at a parking structure. Or as I read in your blog about the 18-storey Palos Verdes Street project right in front of the Vue, of course blocking any view.

Seaport Village is just an abomination. I see absolutely no redeeming value in any part of that building

Michael Meacher