Monday, March 12, 2007

Lofty Ideas -- Part I

This past weekend my wife and I drove into downtown Los Angeles to participate in the Downtown Living 2007 Weekend. We have these constant ongoing discussions about what we should do when I retire. Do we need the big house in La Verne, or do we want to try something totally different? One option we have discussed is moving to a loft in downtown LA. It would give me a vibrant location from which to paint and write and it would force us into a downsizing of our possessions which is probably much needed. We both tend to be pack rats of one form or another. The event this past weekend afforded us the opportunity to see what was available and get a glimpse at how it might fit in with our lifestyle.

We took advantage of the trams provided by the event that took you from place to place with ease. Our first stop was Mosaic. Mosaic is not a development of retrofitted lofts, but rather new apartments. If the number one rule of real estate is "location, location, location," then Mosaic has nothing to worry about. What they lack in funk-appeal they more than make up for in location and amenities. Mosaic consists of 272 apartments located at historic Union Station, the public transportation hub of Los Angeles and directly across the street from Olvera Street and El Pueblo de Los Angeles, the 1781 birthplace of the City of Los Angeles.

Mosaic has wonderful, actually superior, common amenities (a huge gym and weight room with dry saunas, pool room, Internet cafes, pool, etc.), an amazing and historic location and a plethora of interesting floor plans. We were really impressed by Mosaic, even though it was not what we came looking for, it offers something else and we found it exciting

Our next stop was the Barker Block. This was more what we were looking for; as their literature describes: 297 one-of-a-kind residential live/work loft spaces from 738 to 2,971 square feet. The Barker Block is being reclaimed from O.T. Barker’s original manufacturing plant and warehouse complex, a new community springing to life in a true manufacturing-to-residential conversion.

They only had two models to show and they had obviously thrown them together in the past few days. Both were two story with a loft above the lower main floor, but the stairs to the loft area had not been put in yet, so our perusal was relegated to the main floor only. But even so you could get the feel of the place. I liked them a lot, my wife thought they were too dark and gloomy. It is hard to tell when you are looking at basically slabs of concrete. I have a felling the 7th floor, which appears to have large skylights in some units will be absolutely amazing, but Barker Block is very much a work in very early progress. I want to go back some time in maybe six months to a year and see what is developing there. I think it might be very special.

Next we left the events itinerary and wandered across the street from the Barker Block to an already completed loft development. More on that next time in Part II!

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