A Surprising Development on MBB

Posted by Dave Fratello on Wednesday, January 28th, 2009 at 6:23pm.

We have been watching a new development sprout over the past year on Manhattan Beach Blvd. (MBB) at John St.

All along, we have assumed this was to be a commercial building.

You know what they say happens when we assume...

In fact, at the corner of MBB and John Street, 3 new townhomes have now been put on the market. Not only are all 3 quite near MBB, the most expensive literally fronts the busy thoroughfare.

The new THs all sport John St. addresses, which sort of masks the location for just a moment. The particulars (click address for more via Redfin; there aren't any interior pics at this writing):
  • 1106 John is the smallest of the 3, at 2br/2ba, 1550 sq. ft. Starts at $1.299m. Don't forget the HOA dues of $497.
  • 1108 John is slightly larger, at 2br/2ba, 1800 sq. ft. It begins at $1.450m, with HOA dues of $544.
  • 1110 John is the granddaddy of the group, 3br/2ba, 2475 sq. ft., with a start price of $1.792m, and HOA dues of $640.
That's $4.5m worth of modern living right on MBB.

All of the listing writeups are a bit different, and different agents are repping each unit. But all the listings gush:
  • "At last, this magnificently designed property in the Manhattan Beach Hill Section, is ready for you.
  • "A 'Must See Property' in Manhattan's Hill Section, close to everything wonderful Manhattan Beach has to offer."
  • "A very unique property. You gotta' see this one!"
Besides the obvious high-style modern design, the THs offer some "green" features, most notably a "Live Green Roof."

OK, we'll say it. These new condos seem like a breathtakingly bad bet. What was that phrase we remember hearing about real estate values... oh, yeah: Location, location, location.

With a crashing economy, the slowest real estate sales pace ever in Manhattan Beach and growing inventory (i.e., options), is someone really going to pay $1.8m to live on a busy street studded with commercial buildings?

Maybe if this were Manhattan, NY.

Via PropertyShark.com we see construction loans of about $3.5m (the property was 836/838 MBB) on this project. (There's that busy bank again betting on MB.)

We are going to try offering our best wishes here, as there are very big challenges facing the folks selling these new units. And even though these THs are technically beyond the scope of MBC's normal coverage (SFRs west of Sepulveda), we'll watch the progress here and update you periodically.
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