For such a boring complex, the construction process behind the Da Vinci apartments has been pretty thrilling. First there was a skybridge. Then there wasn't. Then there was again. Then someone torched half of the entire development. Earlier this week, we heard that construction is once again underway (you'll be able to move in in about ten months). Los Angeles magazine reached out to Palmer to ask him about the ongoing saga, and if you thought the fortress-loving, streetscape-killing developer couldn't get any more unlikable, you were dead wrong.
· Palmer is definitely not phased by the public response to the arson at Da Vinci, which was, from some critics, a mixture of sober joy and relief. "Of course I was disappointed that a few critics voiced pleasure at this loss. Sadly there will always be a few of those."
· Palmer says he has no idea who would want to torch his building, "other than there is unfortunately senseless evil in the world." But he's not going to get caught up in speculation. "My personal response is to continue building our successful brand, and I am delighted that our newest building on Temple, which was not damaged by the fire, is now open and leasing up very quickly."
· In response to the numerous detractors who come down on Palmer's complexes, he says that while some of them have legitimate concerns, most are just not worldly enough to get it. "The few critics are usually those poverty advocates that feel justifiably upset at the gentrification of downtown, which we symbolize. Others are less sophisticated and don't appreciate the award-winning classical architectural designs and timeless beauty we bring to downtown's heretofore urban decay and blight."
· To those who would scoff at Palmer's use of the words "timeless beauty" to define what some have previously called "Death Star monstrosities," "tacky," and, in the case of Da Vinci, "an unabashed insult to Leonardo," Palmer notes, "The proof is in our success. We continue to maintain the highest occupancy and rents in the area as we remain the leader and largest provider of downtown luxury resort communities."
·Regarding his commitment to the community, Palmer adds, "This experience has only bolstered my resolve to help solve the dearth of apartments in downtown Los Angeles. Last year, I received the "Hero Award" from the Central City Association (CCA), and I remain proud to be a civic patron."
So next time you have something negative to say about one of Palmer's masterpieces, hold your tongue – he's a hero, and you're just unsophisticated.—Ian Grant