Another 'Gateway' Geyser

By Dave Fratello | August 17th, 2009
There's been some talk here at MBC in recent weeks about spec builds in iffy locations that just are not going to work out for the builder/investors.

Mid-decade, buildable lots were being snapped up for redevelopment at such a rapid clip, the projects weren't always thought through. Only now, as the projects are completed and enter a tough market, is it obvious how overly optimistic the builders were a few years back.

Against that backdrop, the absolute monument to excessive enthusiasm in the local bubble-driven redevelopment frenzy has jumped back into the news.

4419 Highland, which MBC dubbed "The Gateway to Manhattan Beach" back in 2007, has experienced a second vehicle crash (injury-free) within 2 years that has again relieved the corner at 45th/Highland of its fireplug. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Remove the cap on a high-pressure water line, and you get nearly a three-story geyser. As we have seen. (Click to view the Oct. 2007 crash pics.)

This crash was early Friday morning (Aug. 14) as a large truck took out not just the hydrant, but also the traffic signal at the corner.

Three separate readers submitted photos this time, for which we're appreciative.

If you ever toured 4419 Highland when it was on the market, you may recall a "bedroom" on the lower level right at this very corner. It was big enough for board/bike storage or a very small "office," really.

Your blog author, who is given to staring out any window with a view rather than working, thought that room would make one horror of an office. This pic (taken from outside at the corner; click to enlarge) shows Highland in a rare traffic-free moment as it becomes Vista Del Mar. Now imagine "working" while watching the traffic come up the hill and the cars... always... look... like... they're... going... to... hit! No! They passed! But... watch out!

That white-knuckling existence would be a lot different after you know the corner has been hit. We don't even live there and it's giving us the heebie-jeebies.

Regular readers will recall some basic details about the spec home. We recapped some when it went rental in Sept. 2008 (see "Goodbye to An Old Friend"). Here's a refresher:
  • Aug. 2005: Builder buys the lot for $730k
  • Feb. 2007: Construction begins
  • June 2007: Listing begins at $1.695m, pre-completion
  • March 2008: Price slips to $1.299m
  • April 2008: Giant "For Lease" banner goes up
  • Sept. 2008: Home is rented out (last posted rate: $5,800/mo.)
Hey, renters went nearly a year without any fireplug-destroying crashes. Lucky guys.

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