Saturday, February 21, 2009

Standard Pacific's Foundry Open House

We went and took a model tour of The Foundry at 10 AM today and I thought I'd share my impressions.

First of all, between these units and whatever is planned at 360 South Bay, the Foundry stands an infinitely better chance of succeeding. Standard Pacific's Foundry is targeted to a demographic in a way very similar to the way West Millenium's Parkview Court was targeted - to older (maybe wealthy) retired Asians who would view the close proximity to the local Korean Presbyterian church, Wilson Park, and the Farmers Market as hugely desirable amenities. In addition, open house is coming at the best time of the year, on the eve of spring buying season. I don't like condo marketing brochures that use the word "cool" and unfortunately, The Foundry's marketing brochure contains it, but in spite of that, there is a demographic in place that may enable the project to succeed in spite of itself. 360 at South Bay, on the other hand, has been trying to pass itself off as Manhattan Beach property or El Segundo property (along with ridiculously steep prices) when in fact it is in Hawthorne - this is a disaster brewing unless the builder greatly overhauls its plans.

Anyway, back to the 10 AM Foundry open house. There was a modest group of people right there at opening time, mainly of Asian background, ready to take the tour. I observed a mix of some young adult singles, some young couples with small children, some older people.

My significant other said that when you walk around outside the units in the hallways it "feels like a hotel." We checked the lighting fixtures and were relieved to see that at least there were compact florescent bulbs in them. (Someday maybe I'll tell you the story about how we had to persuade our condo association to use them in order to cut our electric bill - this was back in the early 90's.)

There are eight plans: A, A with mezzanine, B, B with mezzanine, C, C with mezzanine, D, and D with mezzanine. The mezzanine units have high ceilings and a tight spiral staircase leading up to a loft. The realtor thought there were 7 A-mezzanine, 1 C-mezzanine, and 2 D-mezzanine units (I don't recall B-mezzanine). The C and D-based plans have office space. In some of the units (I think it was model C), the office can be closed off with sliding glass shoji-screen style doors. I don't recall if the offices in model D could be closed off that way. Model D units come with 2 decks, the remaining have one deck.

The mezzanine units generally have more light, but the lofts above didn't particularly impress me. The extra light was probably due to the higher ceilings and extra window space. Generally I tend to be rather suspicious of high ceilings due to the potential for wasting energy on heating up space I don't really use.

Overall, these are efficiency units, which are not necessarily bad if you are an older retired lady, gent, or maybe an older retired couple living alone. I've lived in a few apartments not much smaller than that of plan A. There isn't a lot of space in the living room for, say, working out, and the place doesn't come with a gym room (though there is a lap pool). I do like how in the master bathrooms the toilets are separated off from the rest of the bathroom behind a closed door. All homes have 2 bedrooms and 2 baths and come with Whirlpool appliances. And some of the units do get views of the courtyard or the Farmers Market area or even Palos Verdes - something besides the roof on top of Parkview Court.

The other day I griped about $200 a month HOA fees as being steep. Well, expect to pay $317 to $363 a month to do the gardening around this place, maintain the elevators, change the occasional lightbulb, sweep the hallways (there's LOTS of hallway space here, virtually all of it not in front of your unit!), and maybe clean the pool.

The realtor giving us the tour did mention tax credits but also mentioned that there are some caveats to the credit - that you have to live in the place a certain amount of time, etc, to avoid having to pay back the credit. And Standard Pacific has gone out of its way to discourage speculation - a buyer must sign contracts agreeing to live in the unit at least two years initially. They are encouraging the building of a community, she said.

What blew my mind is that she also mentioned how Village on Oak, a juxtaposed Standard Pacific project, is planning to build the Laurel division in 2010 and 2011. Yes, Standard Pacific is still planning to build more units!

The Foundry signage outside says "From the high $400,000's" but the pricing information given to me, hot off the press, was as follows.

Feature      A      A       B       B       C       C        D       D 
w/mezz w/mezz w/mezz w/mezz
Sqft 1096 1243 1290 1462 1469+ 1619 1517 1681
Price $379K $432K $412.5K $472.6K $445.1K $490.9K $465.1K $542.3K

So they shaved a tiny bit off the low-end asking price.

I sensed substantial interest from my fellow tourists. One lady sounded disappointed that nobody would be allowed to move in until after May 1.

Overall, I left feeling slightly underwhelmed. Though I doubt there will be bidding wars, the units will probably sell over time. (We noticed when we left an hour later that the crowd of tourists had thinned out substantially after that initial 10 AM rush. When we toured Village on Oak Acacia and Bayberry a few years back, there was a more consistent trickle.) The major problem is price. You know how I feel about price levels here in So Cal so I won't go there. Then there is the steep HOA fee for stuff that doesn't affect you. Then there is the density. There are 86 attached homes. When I am renting a relatively cheap apartment I can accept living like an ant in an anthill, but I wouldn't want to be on the dock for something in the neighborhood of half a megabuck for that privilege, even though we go to that Farmers Market across the street every Saturday morning. But not everyone feels that way. To each his own.


Post a Comment

<< Home