Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Blue House at Ramona Acres (Monterey Park, Cal.)

The view looking south from the Atlantic Place Shopping Center at Garvey Avenue & Atlantic Boulevard.
A closer look at the rear of the blue house.
In 1921 the house was constructed as part of a new phase of "Ramona Acres," by the Janss Investment Company.  Janss had been staked out in the area since 1914.  The earlier residents of Ramona Acres helped to found Monterey Park in 1916.  This latest hillside tract was promoted to overlook the Midwick Country Club (an exclusive venue until destroyed by fire in 1944.)

A frontal view of 809 W. Mabel Avenue.

Mature cactus fronting the blue house.
In 1921, the occupants of the new house at 809 W. Mabel could walk down to the main thoroughfare called Wilson Avenue, now known as Atlantic Boulevard.

Across from the blue house is an empty lot; seen in the background is Marie Callender's Restaurant.

Also across from the blue house are more contemporary structures, plus railing that leans to its gravity.
At 944 W. Mabel sits a mid-century modern apartment.
Also on the hillier south side of the street is a condominium complex.

The Garvey Villas

In 2007, Monterey Park's Redevelopment Agency endorsed the development of "Garvey Villas," a 102-apartment, 18,000 square feet retail project.  The Agency anticipated that the blue house, as well as the house next door, would become casualties of redevelopment.

At 813 W. Mabel Avenue, shuttered and abandoned as shown in 2011.

In mid-2008, the owner of the blue house, Leo Hayashi, agreed to sell to the developers.  Below is a rendering of the planned site:

Four years ago Monterey Park officials were optimistically looking ahead to beautifying this corner once used each Fall as a pumpkin patch.  Now, in 2011, as of the date of this posting, the site advertises a "land available" sign.

Atlantic Times Square

Last year however, the city completed a huge residential/retail project Atlantic Times Square at Emerson and Atlantic.

Towne Centre

Today, the municipal machinery is embarking on Towne Centre at Garvey Avenue and Garfield, about half a mile east.  It is described as a 71,366 square foot retail space mixed with 109 condos.

A Towne Centre rendering.  Image Source:  Magnus USA website

Cascades Market Place

Also on the front burner is the Cascades Market Place to be developed at the southern part of the city, by Paramount Boulevard and the Pomona Freeway.  The future site is described as a 500,000 square foot project.

Cascades Market Place, near the Pomona Freeway.  Image Source:  City of Monterey Park website
The city has been waiting since 1984 to introduce the 45-acre triangular strip to its full retail potential.  Though the land was reported to not have been used as a dumping ground since 1952, it was included in the serious contamination clean-up as required by federal Super Fund Site mandates of its owner, OII, Operating Industries Inc.

 In Spring, 2011, when these photos were taken, 809 W. Mabel and 813 W. Mabel are still here.  But the story continues.  Remember Leo Hayashi, the former owner of the blue house?

He has been in the media since the mid 1980s.  He and his wife, along with another business partner, were profiled in a Times article, as they operated in Orange County the historic La Vida Mineral Springs, built in 1924.  In late 1988, the spa was destroyed by fire, so once again bringing Hayashi into the news.

He made news again in 2006.  When he bought the mineral springs in the 1970s, he also acquired 300 acres in Carbon Canyon, near Brea and Chino Hills.  In 2006 he rode the housing bubble and attempted to develop his acreage with 400 homes.  But the city of Brea had a say in the matter, disallowing all but 15 homes to be built.  Hayashi's dispute ended this past May, when he sold the land to the Orange County Transportation Authority for $2.96 million, whereby the land will now remain an open-space preserve.

Hayashi, now about 80 years of age, was a central figure in 2006 during a widespread national movement to limit eminent domain actions on the part of government entities.

[Update July 3, 2014]  Al Lemus informed me that the Blue House is gone.  Here are the photos he took around May 25.  Looks like the house next door was demolished, too.  Thanks for the alert, Al!