Monday, June 30, 2014

The Future Of Costa Mesa Housing?

EVOLUTION OR DEVOLUTION?
At the suggestion of an acquaintance who posted on Nextdoor, my wife and I visited a brand new housing development in Costa Mesa Saturday morning - Taylor Morrison's 60-unit live/work development - Level 1 -  at the corner of Newport Boulevard and Industrial Way.  You can read Bradley Zint's Daily Pilot article HERE, and view Don Leach's photo gallery HERE

ALMOST PRISON-LIKE
My first reaction as we approached the project from our parking spot along Industrial Way was that it looked pretty darn stark, but I admit that's a matter of personal taste.  We had arrived just after they opened for business and the place was already humming, with lots of Looky-Lous and potential buyers wandering around, brochures in hand.  We didn't waste much time in the sales office - the garage area of the first of two models open for viewing - but just grabbed some paperwork and scampered around the corner to see the units.  We'd chat with the sales staff later.

"WORK" AREA COULD BE BEDROOM
The first floor in each of the units is the "work" segment of the live/work concept.  Each of the first floor units had garage-type roll-up doors as a wall, in addition to entry doors from the garage and the "street".  Each "work" element seemed small, but probably practical as an office for an accountant, graphic designer or consultant.  Each had a half-bath, with a toilet, sink and a walk-in shower, which surprised me.  I thought the original plan just called for a powder room.  With this configuration those first-floor elements are an easy conversion into another bedroom.

17 STAIRS...
To reach the second floor living area you trudge up 17 stairs.  In the larger units - with 3 bedrooms - you walk up to a landing, make a 180 turn and finish the climb.  In the smaller units you take a long, straight hike up 17 stairs.  In addition to the living spaces - kitchen and living room - there is a powder room.

AND 17 MORE...
The sleeping floor is the 3rd - another 17 stairs - and each one has two bathrooms plus a closet for stacked washer and dryer.  The rooms were large enough and the view will be nice once the construction is completed.

TAKE OXYGEN - 18 MORE STAIRS TO THE ROOF
If you want to access the rooftop patio you must navigate 18 stairs, but the hike is worth it.  The views are terrific - we could see all the way past Hoag Hospital to the ocean.  Of course, in the foreground was Carls, Jr. and Taylor's Trim Shop across Industrial Way.  Because these units are attached, it's possible to climb from one roof top patio to the next.

DEFINE "WORK", PLEASE
On the way out I asked the sales staff just what kind of "work" folks would be doing in those 1st floor units?  Parking is minimal and they told me that no retail would be permitted.  They were not amused when I suggested that, with the addition of that 1st floor bathroom, one of the world's oldest professions might work out just fine.  A friend suggested that the rooftop patios might make lovely marijuana plantations, with a "dispensary" on the 1st floor.   Actually, as I said above, I will not be surprised at all if those 2 and 3 bedroom units end up as 3 and 4 bedroom units, and rental units, to boot.  We'll see. 

OR... A REHAB ENCLAVE!
Another thought crossed my mind - an entrepreneur might buy a block of those units and combine them for use as rehabilitation homes.  Let's see how that might pencil-out... If you buy 2, 2-bedroom units and 2, 3-bedroom units that are contiguous for about $3 million and house 20 "residents" in them at $8,000 - $10,000 per month each... doesn't take long to make a profit.  Just sayin'...

DID I LIKE THEM?
Did I like these units, which range from around $747,000 for the smaller one to $841,000 for the larger, which is just under 2000 square feet?  Yeah, I think so, but they're not for me.  Too many stairs, too close to your neighbors, not enough guest parking, too much ambient traffic noise and just too congested.  I doubt if you'll see ANY children in these units - there's no place for them to play and it's located in the middle of an industrial area.  That being said, we saw lots of people putting on hardhats for tours of units under construction.

MORE CONGESTION ON THE WAY
After we visited the models we took a little cruise around the site of the proposed 176 units on the ArgoTech toxic site at Pomona Avenue and 17th Street a few hundred yards away then turned and drove right on past the construction at the corner of Superior and 17th Street, where even more live/work units are being built.  I was trying to contemplate the impact of the traffic that will be generated by nearly 350 new dwelling units on that 17th/Superior/Anaheim Avenue/Industrial Way snarl.  And then I attempted to contemplate the impact of the proposed Banning Ranch development, which will more than quadruple those numbers!  I'm glad I live on the Eastside.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

To: All Sycophants
From: Jimbo
Re: Live/Work

I figured out a way, from city funds, to buy one of the new "Live/Work" units so we can use the downstairs room for branding!

Yes, The Triple A Ranch of Laredo was kind enough to have several great branding irons made just for us here in Costa Mesa. You can have the brand put on your buttocks, back, or shoulder.

Choices:

Riggy's Boy
OCGOP Fan
Developer's Dunce
Park Paver

If you do get one, there is no charge, but you must tell everyone that "The brand is strong."

6/30/2014 06:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Ken Nyquist said...

Reminds me of the prison in Lancaster where I had a suite for a few...This development is just flat out ugly...At $400.00 a square foot..
When we were building customs in Big Canyon when it was developing, we were at $100.00 a square foot, the top of the market...But 40 years down the road, they are still some of the nicest homes in the area...
This development, will probably be the first place in Costa Mesa to have a shootout on the roof decks...War between gangbangers with loads of cash...Hello hookers,masseuses and as Geoff suggested, maybe a top of the line pot farm...Nobody can stop you from growing your 12 plants ya know...

6/30/2014 07:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Geoff, I agree with you. These are not entirely ugly, if they were put in the right place. They just look strange where they are. The one on 18th Street at the end, looks like the Great Wall of China. In a city, it would be perfect, save space, etc. But this is the suburbs. We are not Santa Monica, and don't want to become Santa Monica. Sure they look fine (not great) now, but wait 10 years. They want to attract young families? Young families have children. Ever lived in townhouse complex where there were children? Good luck with that.

If you go inside the ones on 18th Street. I'm betting you need to sit and rest before you get to the patio on the top. Its not nice.

6/30/2014 07:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

Shower in the "work" space? Sure, everyone takes showers at work. They sound more like live-rent units.

6/30/2014 08:09:00 AM  
Anonymous seedling said...

I anticipate these being very much ghettos in 15 years time. Young professionals typically think about starting families and are looking for some space and at the very least where their friends will park when hosting(expecially when plunking down 700k, you can get a 2000 sq ft detached home in FV for that)-- ALl developments are usually built with good intentions-- but these are obviously buit thinking about today, not the future.

6/30/2014 11:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

May be they will attract investors who can fill them with college students during the school year and then use them for vacation rentals at a much higher rate during the summer. Who wants to go in on one?

6/30/2014 03:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

seedling, that is most likely what will happen. When you get too many people in too small a space, things go downhill very quickly.

7/01/2014 06:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Atlas Shrunk said...

I, too took a look at these units.
Figure ownership at $6,000 per month. I figure that they will be college rentals during the winter 6 people that's $1000 per month each.... and $6,000 per week for easy beach access during the summer. Surplus parking in Costa Mesa and there is plenty of room for bikes in the "2-car" garages.
Little kiddos going to the public schools in the area as the breezy sales literature said? That seems not so likely.
Escort services, yes. Perambulators, no.
Stairs were narrow. Stairs to roof ran next to rough stucco wall. They could have used smoother materials there as people will rub against them.
There were two different AC units (one for the work area) and the demo garage had two water shut off valves in it, which seemed odd. Tankless water heaters are not all they're cracked up to be and there is no place to put in a tank if you wanted one.
Nice windows.
Roof deck had an oddly inaccessible area.
Roof overflow scuppers emptied right over the front door.
The roll up door on the ground floor is impractical. Open it and let the dirt/tire debris and smog from the backed up traffic come in. No way to screen out bugs and still have the door open.
HOA at $225 seems low to ensure adequate reserves.
Design is dated, already (mid 1990's AIA stuff). It seems to want to resemble industrial buildings; yet, the real industrial buildings that were there did not look like this. That's the same as the similar places down on the peninsula where the stuft-T shirt used to be.

7/01/2014 06:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Atlas, good review. I did not like the windows though, as they all look into one another. No privacy. I hated the narrow staircase, which was unduly steep. I'm glad you noticed that no water heater tank will go in there. Thats a definite drawback. (Don't like tankless either)

So, from everyone I've spoken to so far, the reviews are not great for that money.

7/03/2014 02:07:00 PM  

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