6500 Sepulveda Bl., a 160-unit rental apartment complex, built and managed by IMT Residential, is nearing completion.

Located about a block north of Victory Bl. it’s right next to the 99 Ranch Market.

This one-acre lot once held the notorious Voyager Motel (1965-2016), a working laboratory of prostitution. It also, incongruously, was where we went to vote.

The Voyager, abandoned and empty, was destroyed in a massive fire on February 13, 2016. Inexplicably, it caught fire just as it became hugely desirable for a large development. “Fire Party”, a post in this blog, captured the gleeful moment it burned.

New construction of the IMT building began in 2017 and computer renderings were stamped out soon after.

There are some joyous and glorious illustrations of the new apartment building, at dusk, illuminated against the violet sky. Eight black blocks are set against a white background with a butterfly angled top. Palm trees are planted to provide shade for mosquitos.

Sepulveda has just been hosed down and glistens. And some eleven people are out strolling along the boulevard, including a woman, across the street, holding a purse stylishly embossed with the word “Paris.” Other pedestrians are walking, jogging, or pushing a baby carriage. A person unfamiliar with this location might think they are viewing an exclusive section of Stockholm, Sweden.

I walked past the near completed apartment yesterday afternoon, and shot some photos of the hot, bright, Sunday afternoon, daylight reality of the surroundings.

In person, you pass numerous homeless men and women who reside all around, setting up sofas and tables to make rooms which can be dismantled and carted around in minutes. The environment is beyond redemption: billboards, overhead power lines, muffler shops, car washes, trash, debris, illegal dumping, speeding cars, massage parlors, Carls Jr., El Pollo Loco, and that ever present sewage smell from the water treatment plant in Balboa Park. 

A few hundred feet to the west is Midvale Estates, with spacious ranch houses, designer kitchens, hot tubs, lush swimming pools, gated properties, guest houses, circular driveways, landscaped herb gardens, and media rooms. This is their village, their Larchmont, their Mayberry. How and why the finest and grossest co-exist, is perhaps a topic for psychiatrists who study the psychology of cognitive dissonance.

Back on Sepulveda, across from 6500 , there are more discarded beer bottles on the median than people on the street. An upturned coffee table with four legs in the air looks like it is ready for a good time. This dried up dump runs alongside many apartments, where owners, managers and residents either don’t care or don’t act to clean up the blight.

All is not gloom.

One cannot deny that the food offerings are many and varied and include an Asian market, several Vietnamese restaurants. And on many nights, taco stands, like streetwalkers, materialize along the street.

Costco, Wendy’s, Sam Woo, Perfect Donuts, Subway, Lido Pizza, and Fatburger are within minutes of waddling distance, or accessible by scooter, Uber or bike. Just across Sepulveda, a chiropractor, a nail salon, laser hair removal, tax preparation, foot massage, hair salon, boba drinks, medical clinic and Fred Loya Insurance ensure that every critical need of life, death, or snack will be answered. And perhaps the best car wash ever, Bellagio, offers free vacuuming for all post-hydrated vehicles.

Estimated rents on the new apartments will start at perhaps $2,500 for the smallest apartment and quickly go up to $3,000 or even $4,000 a month. (I base these numbers on another IMT building in Van Nuys at 14500 Sherman Circle.)

If you are 23 and moving here from Kansas and want to get into production, and you find a PA job that pays $650 a week, your entire monthly gross income, before taxes, could pay for a tiny 1-bedroom apartment.

But things could improve. You might be 40, divorced, with two children, 7 and 11, and work as a nurse at Valley Pres., and earn $75,000 a year. And then you could afford a 1 bedroom apartment for you and your two kids.

Writer/photographer

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