Saturday, October 22, 2016

Eastside Property: Condo living in Lincoln Heights

Puerta Del Sol, Lincoln Heights/Google Maps

The Puerta del Sol condominium complex in Lincoln Heights seems both blessed and cursed by its central location. The 165-unit complex on Avenue 26 is right next to the Lincoln Heights/Cypress Park Gold Line Station, making for an easy rail commute to either downtown L.A. or Pasadena.  However, the complex sits between the interchange of the 5 and 110 freeways and a large auto repair and salvage yard across Avenue 26.

Still, prices at Puerta del Sol have remained relatively affordable given the surge experienced during the last year. Take for example a  two-bedroom, two-bath condo that went up for sale this week at $235,000, according to Redfin.  There’s nothing very fancy about Unit #124 but the 990-square-foot condo  ranks as one of the lowest priced properties in the neighborhood. In fact, it is one of only a trio of properties priced under $250,000 in Lincoln Heights and Montecito Heights, according to Redfin.

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  1. In 2010, the LA Weekly did a damaging piece on the Puerto del Sol and the apartments next door, the Tesoro del Valle Family Apartments, discussing the negative health effects, such as asthma, due to particulate matter that enters the units from the freeway. It suggests that maybe these dwelling should not have been allowed to have been built.

    “Black Lung Lofts”

    I would never live there, despite the attractiveness of the easy Gold Line access.

  2. I’d be curious to see stats on how often residents actually use the Gold Line. How many commute via rail? How many take other trips via rail, leaving their car parked. I used to live near a Gold Line station in Pasadena. 99% of the time, I took my car or bike, because the time overhead and cost of rail was too much. I only used the Gold Line to occasionally hit J-town

    • Judging from the almost always empty Lincoln/Cypress station, presumably most residents drive.

      • “empty lincoln/cypress”

        Do even use the gold line? The park and ride there is always full and people get on and off at this stop every day when I ride it, so I would dispute the characterization as empty, as someone who uses the gold line daily.

    • At .52 cents per mile to drive, I can assure you the cost of taking rail is much cheaper.

  3. If anyone wants to see hard evidence of the complete failure of the City’s Transit Oriented District policies, this project is Exhibit A.

    Former industrial warehouses were torn down. When used for warehouses, virtually no cars were found parked on the adjoining streets. I know. I lived in the area.

    Then the City literally gives away the store in approving this “innovative” “visionary” “state of the art” project. They reduce the parking requirement provided in City Code to protect surrounding communities from overparking problems. So 4 bed room units have only ONE parking space. Little to no visitor parking is provided. Almost no visitor parking for the offices on the first floor either. This is all rationalized by the insane “logic” of Transit Oriented Districts that everyone is going to magically toss aside their cars to ride the Gold Line. And this “logic” was assumed to be especially true for the low and moderate income people who took apartments and living units in the complex.

    And what was the reality? The low income residents kept their cars and there are not enough parking spaces. At night, the residents circle the area for blocks looking for parking. They are forced to park on the streets in front of homes and businesses owned by people who lived in peace until this mess was arrogantly imposed on them by the Council. Manhattan has 20 or 30 rail lines in a highly constrained island. We have one rail line that goes in two directions (Downtown and Pasadena). We need a car for all of the other places we need to go.

    Our City Hall is smoking some strong dope, drinking this poison Kool-Aid pedaled by the shyster Real Estate Developers and their high priced lawyers. People need to speak out loudly against Transit Oriented Development in LA. Like the “Transit Village” scandal in Highland Park.

    • The problem with this location as “transit oriented development” is that besides the train stop, it’s not setup for a pedestrian lifestyle… it’s hemmed in by freeways, surrounded by industrial buildings, has high speed streets with very few signalized/marked crosswalks, and I doubt there’s any worthwhile amenities within a few blocks (grocers, schools, parks, etc.) Highland Park is a completely different situation, IMHO.

    • Highland Park is different. The area around its Gold Line station is perfectly walkable. The “Transit Village” if done right could be great for the neighborhood.

    • This project has so many design shortcomings it is hard to list them all.

      The “ground floor” retail that is popped up above a sidewalk that is technically wide enough for a family of five – if it weren’t for palm trees planted right in the middle of the sidewalk making the street impassable for more than a one person at a time on either side of the trees.

      There are no safe-feeling nor appealing walking routes to the nearby shops and stores in Lincoln Heights – because heaven forbid that the right-of-way be anything except a retrofitted freeway onramp zone.

      The train station is a New Jersey park-n-ride style disaster (just like the one up the street, “Heritage Square”) – I walked by a guy pissing in the bushes just last night. There are no concessions, not even a newstand, no bathrooms, and walking into the station is a visually confusing morass. Woe unto the poor wheelchair or stroller-bound traveller who must pass through the corridors of poop and pee stained handicap ramps.

      Overall, the project (despite being next to the 5/110 cauldron) could have been a success IF the city was willing to sacrifice rapid automobility on Avenue 26 to allow residents and non-car road users better access to the station and the project. Clearly, the city wasn’t willing to give up one iota of Level of Service and so we’re left with some of the most disgusting and degrading pedestrian access issues you’ll see in this city.

      I walk by here on a daily basis and the surrounding area is fetid with piles of human waste, humans who are wasted, trash, dumped goods, and a scary feeling that one is about to be anonymously attacked.

    • Highland Park Gold Line station does not have the jumble of freeway connectors and a bridge over the Arroyo Seco freeway and river channel between it and the closest shops that Ave 26 does. You will not find the homeless living in the area of the Highland Park station. The two areas are very different.

      Highland Park station is suited for dense housing adjacent to the Gold Line and shops half a block away. The transit village would replace the urban wasteland of long term parking that is 90% empty. To entice residents that do not have cars decouple parking spaces from apartment rents. This would allow those who need a parking space to rent it separately thereby reducing the rent for those who do not have an automobile. More residents without cars would be attracted to the area which would take cars off of the road.

      The walking residents would also provide customers to the business district providing a boost to local commerce which cannot compete with big box stores on price and selection and instead have to depend on convenience to local customers. The increase in passengers on the Gold Line would allow for more frequent scheduling of trains improving service for the entire line. The increase in the city tax base from property tax collection on an empty city lot and the increase in sales tax from customers in local stores could be used for local walkable streets improvements further decreasing automobile dependency.

  4. This was one monumentally stupid move from the start. Better planning would have factored in the realities of L.A.’s car culture. Like the song says, “Nobody walks in L.A.” and nobody has less than one car (you pretty much have to in the absence of decent mass transit). I have yet to drive by there without seeing a ribbon of cars shoehorned all along the perimeters of the complex. Kind of reminds me of those little plastic slidey puzzle things. The ones where you have to shuffle the tiles along with only one space to move them around in. How frustrating for the tenants! But as long as you have these jackamos running the city deciding how people ought to live, rather than designing for how they actually live, we are going to have these issues. I wonder how many parking spaces these geniuses have for their own gas guzziling, city-issued monstrosities. I’m guessing more than one.

    • I think you are totally incorrect. Lots and lots of people walk in LA. Few living here would want to walk – because nearly everything that could be done to make car driving easier, and make walking unpleasant, has been done. Have you tried walking a stroller on either side of Avenue 26? It is disgusting and in several places not wide enough to squeeze anything but the smallest model stroller through the gap between utility poles, passed out bums, heaps of trash, or deconstructed road infrastructure.

      The problem is not the lack of parking.

      Get out of your car and try walking and you’ll see why few residents choose to do so themselves.

  5. I happen to live at Puerta Del Sol, I have one vehicle and 2 parking spaces for my unit. I use the gold line as often as possible as do several of my neighbors. As for the pollution, I assume it is no worse that the homes along side the 5 in frog town or those in echo park along side the 2. Pollution is hard to escape in Los Angeles.

  6. Any housing of any kind done in poor taste, inexpensive or cheap materials with no true architecture integrity that does not mesh or compliment an existing community needs to be built in the DESERT!

    Leave Highland Park alone! We do not need ratpack housing that in a few years will turn into blight! We need housing that will enhance our community.

    Puerta Del Sol housing already looks like blight!

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