Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Strange and Mysterious Case of The Day After

It is now almost the end of the day after the report was released.

A new strange and mysterious case has been brewing throughout the day.

It seem both supporters AND opponents of Bob's current plans are finding reasons to feel negative and down because of the recent publication's recommendations.

It should be obvious to anyone who can read that supporters of Bob's would be a little more than extremely unhappy with the repeated disapproval, denials, and opposition that run all through the document.

Some knowledgeable opponents are also very unhappy that the report illustrates recommendations that would allow for twice the density as The Gardens development, in San Pedro.

Some opponents contend that Western Avenue could see 30% more traffic and up to 480 more school-age children could be living in a 1196-units project IF the Ponte Vista site is developed to the highest density recommended by the Report.

There are a few folks who are now contending that the recommendations created for what could be built at Ponte Vista, by City Planners is probably what Bob has always been looking for.

1196-condominium units is far more than the 429-single,family, detached houses on lots of not less than 5,000 square feel as would be the case for and all-R1 Ponte Vista, with its current zoning.

Even with a density bonus included with the R1 zoning, that would move the 429 figure up to about 733-735 houses.

The report initially recommends between 775-886 residential units. With a density bonus being applied. With a density bonus applied, the total number of units move up to between 1,046-1,196-units.

I tried running some numbers through my calculator this evening. Bob paid $122 Million Dollars for the land at Ponte Vista. I am having quite a lot of difficulty attempting to calculate a reasonable price for a unit within a 1,196-unit project when the cost of the land is so very high.

Just on the outset, I can't imagine that anyone could afford to spend $122 Million Dollars for property and then be able to break even when they can only build as many as 1,196-units.

With a density bonus, the developer would be required to offer about 35% of the units built at lower than market-rate prices.

It would probably be quite tough trying to market housing with such a premium price simply because Bob paid too much for the land that only up to 1,196-units could stand on.

Now here is something that has been strange for several years.

In the Initial Study for the project, the sizes of the units were listed as being between 700 square feet and, get ready for this.....3,000 square feet, with the average size of units being 1,400 feet.

The house that I live in is only about 1,200 square feet, by the way.

Bob and his Outreach Team have never stopped complaining that keeping the site R1 would only allow for houses that cost quite a bit of money.

Well, what does it say when Bob and his bunch complain about R1 housing prices when they were willing to offer units of 3,000 square feet in size?

But wait, here is something strange, trivial and has nothing to do with the project.

Federal campaign contribution records are public records anyone can access.

In 2004, Robert Bisno donated $2,000 to the reelection campaign of President Bush.

In 2008, Robert Bisno donated $2,500 to the Presidential campaign of.......Barack Obama!

Thank you Bob, that was wonderful of you.

In the response created by Ms. Elise Swanson, concerning the Report, she wrote nothing about the scheduled Harbor Area Planning Commission meeting on December 2.

Her response did mention the December 11 meeting of the City Planning Commission.

I wonder if the Outreach Team has already given up on presenting their issues before the Area Planning Commission.

I bet that meeting will be canceled before the close of business on Monday, anyway. But I could be wrong and stranger things have happened.

I'm not going to solve the mystery of the minimum number of units Bob was willing to build and still include the promised amenities. All that is over now, anyway.

There are many other mysteries and strange things that have surrounded the Ponte Vista project that I am aware of, but I don't feel it is time to reveal many of them.

We'll just have to wait until Bob and his current applications are filed in the history drawer of the cabinet.

I can state that the horizon still holds more strange happenings and mysteries and we need to watch out for all of them.


km said...

Put down the calculator, Mark. Per unit price has been irrelevant for a while, I am convinced. Bisno is never going to build those units; he's getting the entitlements and selling the parcel without turning a shovelful of dirt. The promised amenties were smoke and mirrors.

M Richards said...

Thanks km,

The concept that Bob would sell his entitlements has been around for well over a year and it is more probable than most people think.

Bob still needs entitlements for parcels with densities high enough to cover the $122 Million plus the couple of hundred thousand that he has spent since he bought the place.

I don't see anything like that happening for quite some time now.

I wonder what the current value of the land is today, even if the entitlements were granted for up to 18 units per acre.

I was having some fun with my calculator because I have the documents to state many of the figures that Bob used in his first set of plans for 2,300-units.

If anyone writes a book about Bob at Ponte Vista, there could be an entire chapter based on the absurd figures he and his people came up with, in the first place.

What developer is going to buy land that allows up to 18 units per acre when the land itself is so darned overpriced and currently over valued?

I doubt Bob could find any buyers for whatever entitlements are provided for the parcels, at least for quite some time.

The farce must end with this particular chapter when the City Council finally rejects Bob's applications, vesting tract map, community agreement, and the other items they will surely disapprove.

After the vote, we will probably finally learn what Janice Hahn thinks could be built at Ponte Vista and whether she supports the guidelines set by the Planning Commission.

So far, Councilwoman Hahn has held fast with her ideas concerning Bob's Ponte Vista plans, but I can't say what she will consider when Bob's plans are ultimately rejected.

km said...

His numbers were always ridiculous. He was proposing charging more per sqaure foot than comparable properties in RPV. Even at the market peak you could still get a single family home on its own lot in Pedro for the same or less than what Bisno was talking about charging for his attached units. Right now there's a 3 bedroom, charming little 1900 Vic going for 290K in a short sale near me.

It boils down to what I told him at the very first Ponte Vista meeting- "You knew that property was R-1 when you bought it. If you can't make a profit at the price you paid, that's not my problem. That's your bad business decision."

Of course, in a way you can hardly blame him. It's not as if it's a secret that, in LA, land is worth what you think you can change the zoning to. It's not as if LA stands up to developers.

Anonymous said...

here's a thought:

give the blues a shot. the butterflys are not on the property now, but the scientists who were hired to check the site did indicate that the particular plant they use IS on the north slope. one suggested revegetating the site might give the blues a shot at finding themselves a new home.