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Old April 22nd, 2014, 09:54 PM   #1
msquaredb
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Why don't LA beaches have highrises?

Why don't LA beaches/coastal area have Miami type development? Clearly, the beaches there are desirable places to live, so why do they not support denser or higher condo development? Is it because the rich residents of LA have so many other attractive options that are already well establish enclaves of wealth and status? Even so, I would imagine the next wealth bracket who can't afford a location like Bel Air would have propped up high rise condo development on the beaches.

Is it a zoning or earthquake issue? Perhaps the soil near beaches is unsuitable for earthquake resilient building.
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 10:27 PM   #2
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It's probably a matter of sustainability. Traffic along the coast is already a nightmare. You would need to make massive upgrades to public transit, water, electricity, sewage, road improvements to mitigate traffic and noise...

High density developments put enormous strains on our resources and would require enormous amounts of planning which is very expensive. It's funny how people on this forum think it's all as simple as just plopping down a bunch of skyscrapers like you would in a video game.
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 10:30 PM   #3
msquaredb
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Why don't LA beaches have highrises?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GatsbyGatz View Post
It's probably a matter of sustainability. Traffic along the coast is already a nightmare. You would need to make massive upgrades to public transit, water, electricity, sewage, road improvements to mitigate traffic and noise...

High density developments put enormous strains on our resources and would require enormous amounts of planning which is very expensive. It's funny how people on this forum think it's all as simple as just plopping down a bunch of skyscrapers like you would in a video game.

I realize you can't just build whenever and wherever you'd like, but I guess I'm still left wondering why the initial investment and infrastructure upgrades were never made.

Those issues you addressed were either overcome or judged as acceptable trade offs in other cities around the world. What about LAs culture, laws/politics, or geography caused the opposite?


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Last edited by msquaredb; April 22nd, 2014 at 10:47 PM.
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 11:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msquaredb View Post
I realize you can't just build whenever and wherever you'd like, but I guess I'm still left wondering why the initial investment and infrastructure upgrades were never made.

Those issues you addressed were either overcome or judged as acceptable trade offs in other cities around the world. What about LAs culture, laws/politics, or geography caused the opposite?


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Maybe because there isn't any need for highrises in most of So Cal. There is a long stretch of desirable urban / semi-urbran coastline stretching from north of LA all the way down to San Diego, interrupted only by Camp Pendleton. There is no mad rush of people wanting to live on just one point in the coastline, when they have the option to spread out.
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Old April 22nd, 2014, 11:04 PM   #5
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Maybe because there isn't any need for highrises in most of So Cal. There is a long stretch of desirable urban / semi-urbran coastline stretching from north of LA all the way down to San Diego, interrupted only by Camp Pendleton. There is no mad rush of people wanting to live on just one point in the coastline, when they have the option to spread out.

Interesting. My experience in the area is pretty limited, so I wasn't aware that the beaches were so continuous down to San Diego.


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Old April 23rd, 2014, 12:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tanzirian View Post
Maybe because there isn't any need for highrises in most of So Cal. There is a long stretch of desirable urban / semi-urbran coastline stretching from north of LA all the way down to San Diego, interrupted only by Camp Pendleton. There is no mad rush of people wanting to live on just one point in the coastline, when they have the option to spread out.
How do you explain South Florida then? Mile after mile of flat coastline, and mile after mile of oceanfront high rise. There's gotta be more to it...
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Old April 23rd, 2014, 01:48 AM   #7
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How do you explain South Florida then? Mile after mile of flat coastline, and mile after mile of oceanfront high rise. There's gotta be more to it...
Well partially because wealthy NIMBYs already have so much control over the coast that any proposals to change the zoning of any area would be immediately quashed by a battalion of lawyers, leading any zoning proposals into an endless litigation that is too expensive to bother with.

You can place most of the blame on the decision to have DTLA be located so far inland. Ideally, LA should have emulated Chicago (or heck, even San Diego) with its downtown near the coast, leading to an urbanized coastline. Instead, LA urbanized near the LA River, allowing millions of private landowners to build private homes along the coast. Now that private homeowners have seized most of the land along the coast, you can't really take away that land. So we're pretty much stuck with the way land has been distributed.
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Old April 23rd, 2014, 08:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatsbyGatz View Post
...it's all as simple as just plopping down a
bunch of skyscrapers like you would in a video game.
Funny, that's just how Vancouver does it

Los Angeles exploded with single family residential
construction everywhere after WWII and space
disappeared everywhere.

So, you have communities that don't want high
rises towering over their backyards, bathing their
lawns and pools in shadow.

Santa Monica didn't always have this Nimbyism,
but when it took hold the people there embraced
the small community feel and carless walkability.

Los Angeles is residential, and not so public, so
the properties are "private" and people are more
sensitive to their property.

Also, seismic concerns, combined with Nimbyism,
have thwarted construction in areas recently and
we're going to have to work this out.

The Mayor has just enacted some sort of program
where individual structures will now be rated for
seismic safety, assigned grades and maybe torn down?

It's in flux right now, this city, as to construction regulations.
The economy is not right but the land is perceived to be
worth the extreme price you have to pay now.
That's why most people are just renting.

I wouldn't mind if it were like the west coast of Australia.
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Old April 23rd, 2014, 10:02 AM   #9
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I dont feel theres a lack of highrises near the coast... There's certainly lots of beautiful hotels and condos in Santa Monica and along the beach to make up for highrises. Were getting to the point where we have no direction to build but UP so maybe in 5 years we'll see a few more towers near the coast.
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Old April 23rd, 2014, 10:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unmentioned View Post
How do you explain South Florida then? Mile after mile of flat coastline, and mile after mile of oceanfront high rise. There's gotta be more to it...
Lived there before moving to So Cal, and I wouldn't say the whole 100 mile stretch of the tri county coast is like that. However, it should be noted that the urban area that stretches from Miami in the south to West Palm Beach in the north is shaped like a thin rectangle hugging the coast, unlike LA which is far more spread out. If you are a well-to-do person in South Florida, you almost certainly live on or near the coast. That's true to some extent in LA, but not quite to the same extent. It should also be noted that the cost of owning an oceanfront apartment is, on average, far cheaper in Florida than California. These factors may create a greater demand for highrises along the coast in Florida, relative to So Cal.
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Old April 23rd, 2014, 06:15 PM   #11
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A few random thoughts.

1. You can't blame the NIMBY's (although this seems to be a gut reaction for some people). If you ask people in the Valley if the coast should be high rises, you will get an overwhelming "no". It's what's called civic pride and a determination to keep quality of life over "Miamization" (sell-out to the developers). If you're from Cuba or suburban NJ, Miami is considered cool; not so much for people with wider visions.

2. If LA had built high rise, it would presumably have been around LB, where there is a real harbor (although later artificially expanded). There wouldn't be an LA at all, but LB would be a world-class city.

3. High rise on the beach is the sign of an economy that has nothing going for it other than tourism (Miami, SD, Honolulu have few industries not connected to tourism and recreation). The developers wield disproportionate power and can push through the projects. By comparison look at SF, where the idea of high rises at the ocean isn't even discussed and an initiative to block high rise along the Bay is going to pass by about 80 percent in June.

4. Building along the water, where the beaches are not usable (usually because of constant cold air or water) seems to be a whole different dynamic. There is much less outrage at proposals to build there because the coast is much less usable for recreation(and conversely, being indoors is preferable to being outdoors).
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Old April 23rd, 2014, 08:05 PM   #12
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I love Miami, in spite (or perhaps because) of the fact that it's an absurd place which likely won't exist in a hundred years. That said, in the end I'm 100% ambivalent toward the idea of coastal high-rise in Southern California.

(I'm wondering if the irregular geological and topographical makeup of our coastline - bluffs and marshes and everything in between - has something to do with the relatively low-intensity beachfront uses here too).
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Old April 23rd, 2014, 08:31 PM   #13
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Also: This would make a great topic for KCET's Nathan Masters!
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Old April 24th, 2014, 01:26 AM   #14
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Certain district and city ordinances limit the height of buildings.

For example, back in 2007 (or sometime) Santa Monica put a cap on how tall their buildings can be (for the whole city). When there's reasonable transportation (rail) that can connect them to the rest of the region, they plan to come back to the height ordinance issue.

Long Beach is more progressive in building height, but it does have some supportive(ish) rail to help out.

The beaches are busy with people, but not nearly as busy as the region's inner city centers (Downtown, Century City, Burbank, etc...). Most of our skyscraper focus is here where it counts (for us).

The beach, for the most part, is our backyard. Most development has been for our own amusement (pleasure piers, parks, and such). Really another interesting local history.
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Old April 24th, 2014, 04:36 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surek View Post
I dont feel theres a lack of highrises near the coast...
There certainly is compared to this. There are 11 buildings over 500 feet tall from Miami Beach to Hallandale Beach with three over 600 feet tall under construction in Sunny Isles Beach and more planned.

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Old April 24th, 2014, 04:39 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surek View Post
I dont feel theres a lack of highrises near the coast... There's certainly lots of beautiful hotels and condos in Santa Monica and along the beach to make up for highrises. Were getting to the point where we have no direction to build but UP so maybe in 5 years we'll see a few more towers near the coast.

If there isn't a lack then what is there to make up for? Anyway, Long Beach seems like the only significant cluster and even it is small.



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Old April 24th, 2014, 06:50 AM   #17
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Like I said, give it 5 or 10 years and theres going to be plenty more highrises.
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Old April 24th, 2014, 09:05 AM   #18
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Quote:
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Like I said, give it 5 or 10 years and theres going to be plenty more highrises.
Is this based on what's on the drawing board now? Where are the plans for this?
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Old April 24th, 2014, 10:34 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surek View Post
Like I said, give it 5 or 10 years
and theres going to be plenty more highrises.
In the area, absolutely NOTHING has to happen!

Los Angeles is still growing in population,
why .. I'm not sure, but it has to do with perception.
Perception of success in an area with identification.

That identification is a personality still banking on
the eighties vision of Baywatch and Hollywood.

And when Pest says that people in the Valley don't
care about vertical living in coastal Santa Monica,
because they don't consider Miami cool, that can be
"pride" I guess, but it's still the Nimby attitude.

The people in the city don't care for heavy construction
near their homes, and the way people feel now is not
going to go away anytime soon, unless there are some
examples where vertical living works to their advantage.

And driveway parking Los Angeles just hasn't
hit that point yet in its recent interest, although
it used to be vertical earlier on.

Coastal Los Angeles doesn't have that sexy, exotic
identity and probably never will, unless the chicks
start going around topless .. and that ain't happening.

Because Nimbies don't want that in their "backyard".
You can't even get new construction in Venice!
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Old April 24th, 2014, 08:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Is this based on what's on the drawing board now? Where are the plans for this?
Go look for them. Investors and developers aren't blind, they know the potential the LA coast is.
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