The brochure you receive from the nice lady for visiting refers to the lifestyle here as being "soft urban, " which I suppose means that if you bought in you'd be living in an apartment block in the middle of a suburban community. And it is within walking distance of downtown Monrovia, which is several blocks of shops, restaurants, and a movie theatre that shows the kinds of stuff kids prefer.
Of course, there is a problem here. When they were put on the market nobody really wanted
to buy these things. And at $525,000 to $750,000 a pop, why would anyone want one? After all, for that kind of dough you could buy an entire house and get things like a lawn, trees, shrubbery, doghouse, private swimming pool, and properly distanced neighbors. All thrown in with the price of entry. Colorado Commons just wasn't very competitive if you look at it that way. You can only wonder why the people who financed this place couldn't figure that one out.
In time the folks who invested in this project, forced by the economic reality of what empty and unsold condominiums would do to their portfolios, concluded that with no cash coming in they would not be able to meet their payments to the banks that were daft enough to buy into this mess. So they gave up on trying to sell these places and put them up for rent, officially making them apartments.
Unfortunately even that has not worked out very well for them. When I was there on Saturday nearly 50% of the available units had not yet been rented. That they're asking pretty much the same price as the average monthly mortgage payment might have a lot to do with it.
I think that when the history of our times is written, and in particular when the historians discuss our current economic travails, they will discuss things like Colorado Commons. Banks, cut loose from any controls whatsoever by an economically retarded administration, became willing to throw money into projects that, in more sober times,would have been considered economically unfeasible. And, of course, the hundreds of billions of dollars in our taxes that the Federal government has been forced to pump into the banks in order to help them survive these kinds of excesses, would not have to be flushed down holes like this poorly conceived jumble of concrete boxes, sunless walkways, tiny shops and dreary uniformity that so typifies these kinds of settlements.
One other thought. What if other communities around this country had shown the same kind of civic responsibility Sierra Madre did and had shut down the similar operations in their towns? And by stopping them prevented banks from making disastrous decisions like pumping money into bad projects such as Colorado Commons? Wouldn't this country be in much better fiscal shape than it is right now?
In the end, though, we were the anomaly. The one city out of many that knew this was an atrocious idea, and stood up to those trying to sneak it by. Compromised local government, poor planning, cynicism and apathy were the norm, and this country is now paying a terrible price because of it.