This time last year I was back in Los Angeles and had time to visit the area around the Santa Monica Pier, including Tongva Park. Here's a link to Part I and Part II of Tongva Park, plus a link to the area surrounding the terminus of the new Expo line. Above, the Santa Monica Pier at dusk.
Santa Monica has become an incredibly popular - and incredibly expensive - place to live, work and visit. Above, The Waverly Condominiums, located on the corner of Olympic and Ocean Avenues, and across the street from Tonga Park.
According to the Waverly website, the condos are available for sale and for lease.
Currently, there's one unit for sale, a 1 bedroom, 1 bath for $1.3 million. If you'r looking to rent, there's also just one unit available, a 2 bedroom 2 bath, 1,451 sq foot condo for $7800 a month - which ends up just shy of $100,000 in annual rent. For a condo. Welcome to Santa Monica. What blows my mind is that at even this price, there's only one unit available.
As stated last time, Santa Monica now has the distinction of being the most expensive rent in the United States, with the average price for a one-bedroom apartment, an incredible $4,799 a month. New places a block from the beach like The Waverly condos are, of course, more than that.
Santa Monica also has a huge homeless population, which certainly a bit jarring, especially around all this wealth. Many (but certainly not all) of these individuals are either mental ill, have drug or alcohol problems, or both.
This is a very complex issue and I certainly don't claim to be any sort of expert on the subject. That said, here's a link to a previous post with some thoughts on this.
As Christians, my wife and I continue to support the work of the Union Rescue Mission - which not only provides long-term housing for hundreds of most vulnerable men, women, and children but has a comprehensive program to get people permanently off the streets. That's the goal, isn't it? If you're looking for a way to make a difference in people's lives, they're one of the best.
For the "working poor" (who often spend 50% of their income on rent) and the middle class (who are leaving Los Angeles for more affordable parts of the country) the answer is simply green lighting more housing. A lot more housing. For Los Angeles County, which currently has about 3.5 million housing units, somewhere along the magnitude of an additional 550,000 units. That would be like overlaying the entire housing stock of the city of San Francisco, plus another another 164,000 units, over Los Angeles County.
While requiring developers to set aside a percentage of new housing units below market ("affordable housing") is perhaps a noble idea, the unintended consequence is this drives up the price for everyone else, as developers simply pass along the cost to other renters or buyers. Housing is built when the developer, who's taking a ton of risk, has a good chance of making a profit. No one is going to build housing that's not profitable. That's why most current development is for high end property.
Perhaps a better solution would be to make it easier and just as profitable for developers to build mid range and smaller (that is, more affordable) housing.
Meanwhile, back in the very beautiful city that very few people can afford, it's sort of weird to go from seeing an individual's possessions in an abandoned shopping cart back to the eye candy that along Ocean Avenue. Across the street, is the Loews Santa Monica.
The Ocean Lodge Hotel is a reminder that Santa Monica, like much of the "westside" of L.A. was once much more middle class. The reviews on google are mixed, certainly the location is the biggest draw. No free parking. That's an additional $24 a night.
The Ocean Lodge is literally against Tonga Park, and a couple of block from the Santa Monica Pier.
I walked across the street, just to check out the Loews. Fire pits and a pool up against the beach. Beautiful place.
From the upper floors, there's a beautiful view of the Santa Monica Pier.
The public parking lot in between the hotel and the sand, perhaps not as scenic. The palm trees help.
That said, I appreciate the fact that there's plenty of parking near the pier. However, the lot north of the pier is very busy, especially on weekends and during the summer, and becomes extremely backed up coming out of the McClure Tunnel and heading north on the Pacific Coast Highway. That said, I'd suggest one of these lots south of the pier, or a nearby parking structure.
Next to Loews, is the smaller and older Hotel California. What name came first? The hotel, or the classic song by the Eagles? According to their website, the Hotel California has changed their name to Sea Blue Hotel. I will say, considering the location, rates seems fairly reasonable. Travel + Leisure magazine named is "one of the top three affordable hotels in Los Angeles." Nice. (I wonder what the other two are?)
Walking to the other side of Ocean Avenue, and back to my car.
And a final view of Colorado Avenue. The entrance to the Santa Monica Pier is behind me, the Expo Line is three blocks ahead. Apparently, these aren't Christmas lights, but are up year round.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.
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