Friday, October 21, 2016

Condos proposed for Mt. Washington gateway

It’s been more than 40 years since a Victorian home at the northwest corner of Marmion Way and Avenue 45 burned down, leaving behind an empty lot dominated by a trio of palms at the base of Mt. Washington.  That lot  may not be empty for much longer, however. Tonight, a developer will present plans at a public hearing to build six condominiums and an underground parking garage on the site overlooking a major entry point to Mt. Washington.

“It is one of the major gateways” to Mt Washington, said Charles Fisher, chair of the Highland Park-Garvanza Historic Overlay Zone, which will review the development.

Proposals to develop the site have been around for several years, with the current plans calling for two-story condos designed that emulate the work of  architect Irving Gill, Fisher said.  Some residents have expressed concern about the impact that vehicles entering and exiting the condo parking garage will have on traffic on Avenue 45.  But Fisher said his board can only deal with aesthetics and whether the developer can preserve the stairway and retaining wall, which are considered historic features.

Tonight’s meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the community room of the Arroyo Seco Libray, 6145 Figueroa Street.

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  1. I could get behind that if they actually look like Irving Gill. I’m dubious, though. I have little faith in developers’ attention to the fine details that make old buildings so appealing.

  2. anyonebutgarcetti

    If this property were in Garcetti’s council district, rest assured it would get approved because Garcetti believes any development is good development.

  3. I like the old retaining wall and stairs, they look classy.
    One can only imagine what ugliness awaits!

    I like the old empty lot……………..

  4. hate to see anything built there, it is beautiful and evocative as is. but please if you’re going to build, build around the palm trees!

  5. While historic preservation can really enhance many things, I think it would be more sensitive to remove these steps and wall, dedicate a wider sidewalk, and add an Arroyo Stone treatment to a new, more sturdy wall and steps. The current wall is leaning and about to fall into the street.

    Unfortunately, the developer has, so far, produced perfectly pedestrian and boring designs for this complex. Let’s hope the HPOZ folks pushed for more.

  6. There should be city-approved architects for condo construction who must pass minimal aesthetic requirements.

  7. Reconstruct the lost victorian home!
    Oh crap, wrong planet.

  8. I hope we are able to preserve the uneven, dusty lot as it speaks to the true history and character of our charming community.

  9. Don’t ruin it! This empty lot has a certain charm to it. The steps and retaining walls really do give one a sense of place, reminds us of a long forgotten past. Don’t trust developers! I remember a certain empty, weedy lot containing the remnants of an old mansion near chinatown at the corner where Geoff Palmer has since erected his soulless, fortressed Faux-Italian monstrosities. Now those are eyesores compared to that empty lot!

  10. I just realized this is the site I see everyday on my Gold Line commute. Perhaps there is something very iconic about the three palm trees that left impressions on my mind, even when I wasn’t observing consciously.

    As an alternative to the developer’s proposal, how about making this into a small but unique neighborhood park? The three palm trees are so perfectly situated in relation to the stairway that it seems natural to make this the main entrance to the park. The stairway and retaining walls can be fixed (for a cost much cheaper than building condos). That can be Phase I.
    Perhaps there is an opportunity to make a continuous mural (painted, mosaic, or other) along the retaining walls flanking the stairway that would turn and wrap around the whole site. This can be an opportunity for a muralist or a skilled tile craftsman (or other artists working in some medium applicable to such surfaces) to do memorable work. Or it could be the work of the community involving participation on a larger scale guided by an artist. That could be Phase II.
    Vegetation and the existing topography should be preserved as much as possible, for these are the features that give this park an unique character. I can see opportunities for simple but unique benches, bird houses, and sculptures sporadically dotting the landscape. As far as structure goes, perhaps a simple gazebo covering round benches and maybe a fountain (drinking or otherwise) may be nice. Restrooms could be tucked somewhere behind the gazebo. That could be Phase III and IV.
    More plants could be added over time, and part of the park could be designated as a mini community garden. This ongoing evolution can be Phase V.
    Just a thought…..

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