Too Ugly for a YIMBY?!

I was on the Facebook GrowLA page last week and came across something that made me ask, can a developer make a building so ugly even a YIMBY can’t love it? (Roughly analogous to the old test o’ faith can God make a rock so heavy even He can’t lift it?) And the answer, apparently, is yes.

It was on this post I saw a collection of images shot by a Mr. David Schumacher—here’s some:

These are all down around USC. Most of Schumacher’s shots are of near-identical Tripalink structures. You have to look twice before you realize oh, right, these are in fact different buildings.

I’ll bet you a Coke that’s fake grass

Unbelievably, the YIMBYs thought their own beloved mid-block ultra-dense max-height econobox cubes were, for once, less than appealing:

If, at the outset, you’re asking what is a YIMBY? that stands for Yes In My Backyard, meaning they are anti-NIMBY, who don’t want development in their backyard. YIMBYs want development in your backyard; there’s no actual evidence they’ll accept it in theirs. They’re the sort who pee themselves a little with glee and break into song when, for example, single family zoning is eradicated:

But predictably, enough is never enough:

They also invariably refer to NIMBYs as “boomer NIMBYs”.

I can assure Mr. Sanchez, there are a lot of his Millenial brethren who are fans of a human-scale Los Angeles. In fact, the NIMBY comes in all forms, and you might read more about them here and here and here.

But what of these bilious buildings which elicited such a response?

As I said, many down by USC are built by Tripalink. Tripalink is based in Los Angeles, building primarily for Chinese USC students. “It is our mission to establish a truly co-living neighborhood, to redefine the experience of living overseas” which they do through building multi-unit co-living set-ups. In this article, Tripalink CEO Donghao Li uses phrases like “the value of connectivity fostered by Co-living community” and “Co-living is the trendiest lifestyle in recent years” resulting in a “supreme living experience”…and pairs it with this image:

Totally supreme

Which may raise the question, what is co-living exactly? Simply put, it’s teaching young people to live with less. Instead of having an apartment with a bathroom and kitchenette, say, they have their little bedroom, with a communal kitchen and toilet down the hall. Modern co-living stems primarily from Dutch communism in the 1960s, from which springs lots of lofty words about sharing and connection and such. Ultimately it’s people getting the Youth of Today accustomed to their Glorious Tomorrow: tighter space, fewer amenities, on the pretext of combatting loneliness, and being cheap. I suppose there should be something charming about a return to Dickensian living but I’m not seeing it. I thought part of the the appeal of Los Angeles was to escape the tenements of the east…though in this case I guess I refer to tong lau, and not the Lower East Side.

But anyway. Let’s look at some recent losses. Here at 1224 West 35th was this house, built in 1906, on a block of vintage homes—

—demolished recently, but you can live in the Tripalink replacement:

Don’t have an image of the new property but it possibly looks like this (from here) or maybe this (from here)

Or here at 1607 West 35th Place, God save us from another one of those dreaded Single Family Homes!

This one was built in 1910, again, in the middle of a block of similarly scaled homes
Gone, being replaced by another sixteen-unit, three-story Tripalink structure

Of course the disingenuous chuckleheads at Curbed have for years been saying stuff like:

But imagine my shock, YIMBYs are certainly not fine with with allowing that, and as we’ve seen again and again and again and again and again, it’s been by and large five-story buildings with no parking right in the middle of side streets. (But nice thing about Tripalink? Hey, at least they’re only three-story buildings.)

To which I might add, in looking at the images shot by Mr. Schumacher, they seem to feature a decided lack of flora. Likely because the City has bent over backward to allow developers to not plant trees. This, despite the immense amount we have lost recently; I’m sure I don’t have to remind you of their benefits.

Those, then, are my musings on seeing a simple Facebook post from our demo-happy, density-disposed pals over at GrowLA. Cheers!

10555 Bloomfield Street, Toluca Lake

Raise a glass to classic Valley living—low slung, two story, lots of trees, predominantly Postwar, i.e., the vaunted, vilified suburban dream.

For example: the homes, top, other side of the alley, are from 1936 and 1940; along Cahuenga, hiding under the foliage, the houses are 1949, 1949 and 1946, and then at bottom right, is 10555 Bloomfield, built in 1941.

She’s a little hard to see from the street, what with all the trees and bougainvillea.

Still, with a little maneuvering of the Googlemobile, we can peek in:

The house was designed for engineer Floyd Martin Boes by architect A. Godfrey Bailey, who designed these and all of this.

You knew where this was going:

Of course, all of that air-cleaning flora will be torn out and dumpster’d too, especially since the fifty-seven-unit structure gets to reduce its open space considerably and build to the edges of the lot. But, somewhere in the subterranean garage the developer is adding room for bicycles! This project is green!

The social engineers insist it’s green because, despite the fact that with this density comes, say, overburdened resources, emissions from outflow stacks, the Urban Heat Island, cars sitting in traffic, and so forth (and no, those sixty-nine parking spaces filled with Tolucan EVs aren’t fooling anyone), rather, they’ll say it’s green because no-one deserves a single-family home. Trust me, I don’t follow the logic either, but then also I don’t get how they’ll put fifty-seven units on the site of a single family home.

I’ll give ’em this, though. If we estimate 100 people live in the new complex, that’s on average 3,500lbs of trash for the trash trucks to pick up each week. At least they won’t have any green bins to empty.

Magnolia Update

I had based my tale of 1238 on the application at Planning for the 36-unit that was being plopped on the site; the demo permit I linked to in the text was issued back in July. Was contacted by an area resident to inform me the house was already gone.

The black box replacing these two will be taller than that Canary Island Date Palm

And its wonderful neighbor reduced to this. Because density über alles.

And of this one up at the corner—

I will say this, though, in defense of their replacements. They will absolutely define our age. In a generation, people will look at their SimCity/Minecraft architectonic form and say yep, that’s 2020 in a nutshell.

And then tear them the hell down.