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Rumblings & Bumblings Responses: Just Trimming The Grass

Hola! And welcome to this week's exciting conclusion to Rumblings & Bumblings. Thank you for the responses and the memories. It's a time of our lives we'll never forget. If you'd like to participate next week, send your questions to la@curbed.com.

1) Hollywood: At the corner of Selma and Ivar, a tipster states: "Pretty exciting project. Combined gay and lesbian senior housing and DOT parking garage. McCormack Baron Salazar and Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing are the developers." Another tipster adds: "... a $20.7-million project that will feature 104 units of senior housing, in addition to a 460-space parking garage. Construction is planned to coincide so both projects will be completed at about the same time."

2) Downtown: Blogdowntown answers the question regarding the Alexandria Hotel via a post back in November 2005. Since November, when the CRA issued a report supporting the project, "the City Council voted mid-December to approve the issuance of the $55mil in bonds." The developer/owners of the Alexandria will retain the "affordable" aspect of the building while doing some much needed renovations.

3) Santa Monica: Sorry to say, no one answered the question about the project that looks like a Walgreen's. Cross your fingers, maybe it's a mini Trader Joe's.

4) West LA: Lots of answers about the Westside Pavillion renovations. "Regarding the West Annex of Westside Pavilion, the entire thing is being gutted to accomodate new, state of the art movie theatres. The current broken down theatre near the mall's food court will close and the new theatre will be rechristened "The Landmark." Signs all over the mall proudly boast that it will feature 12 screens, stadium seating, a cafe, and several new shops. They say it will be completed sometime in 2007."

5) Westwood: Sorry questioner, no Trader Joe's for you or your neighborhood. In regards to the project at Beverly Glen and Santa Monica, a tipster answers: "[Volkswagen] owns the site and plans to build a dealership there. They bought the site in 2003. Perhaps, they are considering selling now with increases in land value. Trader Joe's is always rumored to be going into one site or the other."

6) Atwater Village: "Concerning La Strada in Los Feliz, I heard from someone in the know that it will be completely renovated as an upscale latin bistro. As to when it will reopen, they say by Summer, but don't hold your breath. Tell tale symptoms of delayomitis are already appearing with the contractors, architects, LA City Planning, LA City Building and Safety departments and owners griping about changes."

7) Downtown: The orange suited park builders at Vista Hermosa (pictured above) have been explained - we think. A reader says: "...there is no more 'Belmont Learning Center'. The school itself is now called "Vista Hermosa," and there will be a "park" where there were formally buildings, originally planned to be part of the school complex. In order to get the dumb thing finished at all, they had to knock down part of it, in order to use some of it."

The parts that they couldn't build on (due to oil seepage, toxic gasses and an earthquake fault running underneath!) are going to be the "park." The orange-jumpsuit guys must represent the initial stages of FINALLY finishing the dumb thing after like, 10 years, 200 million bucks (or thereabouts) and enough front-page "scandal" stories in the Daily News to paper over Staples Center." Another reader, sends in a quote from a Downtown News article about action on the hill. "Despite what looked like grading, as a bulldozer went up and down a hill, school officials said it was routine yard work. "All we are doing is trimming the grass," said school district spokeswoman Shannon Johnson.

8) Mid-City: The CIM Group makes a leap to Mid-City to build a Home Depot. A reader emails in the following: "The giant construction project at the Venice/San Vicente junction is, in fact, a retail center anchored by a Home Depot." The reader links the press release here. Another reader provides additional info, "The Midtown Plaza is being built at the Venice/Pico/San Vicente convergence. There will be a 105,000-square-foot Home Depot store as an anchor tenant, at least one sit-down family restaurant in addition to other restaurant, retail and commercial tenants, and a second anchor tenant atop the Home Depot store consisting of one or more stores expected to generate gross sales receipts equivalent to 150,000-square-foot Target store." Another tipster provides an interesting (to us, at least) history of the project, which we share here.

"The project began when the old owners of Builders Discount decided to sell the property in 2000. I worked directly with the previous owner, an Israel based investment group named Kital/Pico on government and community relations to get the original entitlements. At the time it was suppossed to be a Home Depot and Costco. After much rangling with the neighbors on Rimpau Blvd. and then Councilman Nate Holden, the project was approved by CRA/Planning Commission/City Council. Shortly thereafter the owners ran into severe financial problems and put the site, now fully entitled, up for sale. CIM Group purchased it, did some minor redesign in coordination with then Councilman Martin Ludlow and the Rimpau people and began construction. That's the story. It should be a major boost to a somewhat neglected site in the neighborhood and reinforce the "Miracle/Park Mile" south image of the neighborhood. After the "civil unrest" the only development in the area was Midtown Plaza across the street with Ralphs. None-the-less, the neighborhood on the south side of Venice, across from the Wilshire Police Station continued to be plagued by drugs and violence. The neighbors in Victoria Circle and Lafayette Park (the gated communities) have been trying for years to divest themselves of the "Crenshaw adjacent" and Mid-City label."

9) Highland Park: Hermon About that unfinished eyesore at the corner of Monterey Road and Via Marisol in Hermon, a reader answers: "The "Monterey Townhomes" are not in Highland Park, but Hermon (seriously, we'd never heard of Hermon before. sorry. -ed.). Rumor has it that the developer has run out of money and that the 'In Escrow' signs are a desperate ruse to get people interested. I'm not sure if they're advertising anywhere, but they've definitely been empty, near completion, for awhile. I'm hoping they either rent out soon or perhaps even convert the street level units to retail. Further up the street we have the "Monterey Collection," which is, basically, a 20-unit, "luxury" condo unit that has managed to piss everybody off in a 3 block radius with it's wandering garbage, drawn out time table, street-blocking construction vehicles and overbearing, ogreish stature."