Beach Reporter Bites Hand

Posted by Dave Fratello on Thursday, June 7th, 2007 at 10:26pm.

A big reason the Beach Reporter is free is also a big reason it's so heavy: Real estate ads.

So builders all over MB will be choking on their lattes, er, scotch, when they open up their copies this week and see, right on page 2, columnist Paul Silva's piece. In "The Stains of Speculation," Silva bemoans the continuing redevelopment of Manhattan Beach by profit-seeking speculators.

Now, MBC is neutral on the subject, but here's Silva's take:
[I]f you build an ugly, ostentatious house just for profit, you deserve to go broke doing it....

It's hard to think of another form of profit-seeking that leaves us with as many public stains as real estate speculation... an ugly house can last 40 years or longer....
Silva's complaint isn't just about garishness, but size. Building out to every allowable square foot means no yards, and changes the flavor of a neighborhood.
The builders will tell you that maximum square footage is what sells these days, but it's a circular argument because few developers have the courage to place a bet on open space.
Builders are yella!?!

What prompted Silva's outburst? The writer lives near a large new house in MB that's been sitting on the market for months. He's not-so-secretly happy that the builder has had trouble finding a buyer – maybe it will be a lesson to others.

Or not.

Silva worries that there isn't much that can be done. "[W]e are at the mercy of the taste and discretion of spec builders," he sighs. Unless, that is, the buyers in the $3-$5m range turn their backs on these new homes, and insist that less is more:
If these wealthy newcomers demand more yard space and less grandiosity, and a few developers lose their shirts on some mini Taj Mahals, we're all better off.
Wow, that's twice Silva is openly hoping for builders to lose money. It's for a purpose, of course: a desire for a better-scaled community. But what do you think the business department at BR said when they saw the piece?

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