Nearing completion, now, is a one-story mini-mall on the north end of the LA Fitness parking lot near Sepulveda and Erwin.
Pleasantly innocuous, in a beige/brown way, the mall (with circa 1999 cornice) is being landscaped, pretty extensively, all around, with various trees and shrubs to decorate the sea of asphalt.
Zoned commercial, this is also next door to a Wendy’s, also recently naturalized, with new water saving plants and a modernistic, horizontally striped renovation. Customers who feast on industrial meat, sugary soda, and frozen French Fries, all trucked in from Iowa, will do so surrounded by native California succulents.
This is all bordering the Metro Orange Line Parking Lot, 50% of which is occupied as a storage center for not-yet-sold new Keyes Automobiles. This scientifically zoned area is irrationally sited along an efficient, pleasant bus line that runs on schedule and connects Van Nuys to Hollywood and Downtown Los Angeles.
Left over in the new mini-mall layout is a rectangular island of land that, in my imagination, I envision as a small apartment building or even a white, wooden Colonial house, a residential arrangement that provides living space for people who can walk next door to the gym, stop for milk at CVS, ride their bikes on the bike path, and most importantly, are there to populate, energize and humanize a sea of parking spaces.
I picked “Colonial” to lovingly pander to the nearby residents of privileged, filmed upon Orion Ave. hoping they might not object to an 18th Century House with a garden in front, housing a nice coffee place or a fort-monthly locale for filming Target and Walmart commercials.
Why not build something on this open spot like these below:
But, for now, the neat, empty rectangle of land is unoccupied with forms either natural or man-made.
This waste of land, and the time-wasting, perpetual, irritating and circular question, “Where will they park?” dominates the beginning and end of any discussion of new apartments, housing or commercial building in Los Angeles.
If there is no room for 1,000 New Hummers in that New 200 Unit Apartment…then I say, to hell with it, let people sleep on the street in tents!
What exists, when it’s built, is a battleground of short-tempered drivers circling parking lots, looking for parking, even when there are 2,000 or 3,000 spaces provided for their temporary storage!
So the opportunity for a new, innovative, and imaginative kind of development, one that integrates the commercial and the residential, is again squandered.
What have we got to lose?
We are already losing.