Last Empty Lot in Van Nuys

Not quite, but almost.  At the current pace of redevelopment there won’t be a single weedy lot left, not one orphaned tree marooned between apartment buildings, bereft and wishing for the company of crows, the itchy scrape of feral cats.

Sprawl has flipped on its side and moves on a vertical axis now. Down two stories for the parking, then up four for the apartments. Four being the height limit for non-treated wood frame construction in LA.   This right here used to be the infamous Voyager Motel, which perished in a “fire” two years ago and is being replaced with a 160-unit building. Either it is going to be steel frame or the right people got greased, because the renderings indicate a structure six stories tall.

The Vertical Valley

Out: The Abandoned Church In: The Multi-Unit Apartment Complex
Out: The Abandoned Church
In: The Multi-Storey Apartment Whatever
Out: Hot Sheets Motel In: Mega-Apartments, with ground floor retail
Out: The Hot Sheets Motel
In: The Lifestyle Complex, and ground floor retail
Out: The Mini-Mall In: The Mixed Use Tower
Out: The Mini-Mall
In: The Glass Box 
Out: Abandoned Office Building In: Live-work spaces
Out: The long-abandoned Panorama Tower
In: “Live-work spaces”
Out: Green Arrow nurseries, after 50 years
Out: Green Arrow nurseries, after 50 years
In: Developer Renderings
In: Developer Renderings

God ain’t making any more of it. We got nowhere to go but up.

The post-war, asphalt parking lot, low density Valley prototype we’ve always known, beloved and dreckish, is going the way of the VW beetle.  It won’t be K-town exactly, but in five years Sepulveda Blvd is going to look a whole lot different.

Urban Renewal, the Venice Way

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Step one, find a lot with a shack on it. Step two, knock it down. Leave the framing of two walls standing. You’re not building anything new, remember. You’re merely renovating.

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Step three, install steel girders, go vertical. Three floors if you can afford it.

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Step four, add floor to ceiling windows, so people from the Valley can peer directly into your bamboo floor Designista great room and fully contemplate the sin of envy. Discreetly draw the curtains at dinnertime so no one on the walk sees you eating takeout while surrounded by Miele kitchenware.

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Step five, spend $1000 installing a garden box in the parkway that produces $30 of vegetables a season which you donate to the local food bank.

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Step six, be sure to remind everyone of the virtue of being virtuous.