After the Mayor and his brain the Mayor Pro Tem get their way and Sierra Madre is served up to the Ed Roskis and San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnerships of this world like so much thinly sliced ham, how exactly will they market our birthright? After all, everything has to be properly packaged and sold. Especially when you're asking for a lot of money to buy in. And there really is a bunch of the kind of quaint and historic here that makes for an exciting and high quality real estate prospectus.
And now, thanks to those fine folks who are trying so very hard to sell some of the many fabulous (though aging market-wise) Stonegate at Sierra Madre lots, we now have a pretty good idea of exactly how our town will be marketed to that most desirable of area real estate consumers, the upwardly mobile and highly compensated employees of large Los Angeles County corporate interests. Or at least the ones that are left. The kinds of folks who can plunk down a couple million big ones for some pleasant hillside scenery and lots of highly accessorized square footage.
But you do know, it isn't enough to just get yourself ensconced in a fine McMansion with stunning views of Arcadia. Today's person of discernment and taste would also want to set that bad boy down in an area with some colorful points of local interest. A town where fascinating people carry on with their lives in unique shops and fine dining establishments, with a little carefully preserved boutique history to ponder as you whisk down Baldwin and head off for a day at the mall or the golf course.
Here is how those pushing the million dollar lots up at Stonegate at Sierra Madre describe our little portion of the world:
Pass through the gates of history to the lifestyle of today at Stonegate at Sierra Madre.
Become a part of a small town with big personality, where life is as sweet as the flowers that star in the annual Wisteria (sic) Festival, and neighbors get together for community concerts, ice cream socials and wine tastings.
Live at the feet of the stately San Gabriel Mountains, in a valley where the climate is generally warm and sunny year-round, even when the surrounding mountain peaks sparkle with snow. Explore nearby nature in the Angeles National Forest, Mt. Wilson Trail Park, and other regional recreation areas. Up for more adventure? From your home in Stonegate at Sierra Madre, you can visit lakes, rivers, mountain resorts, wilderness areas, the desert, or miles of seashore, all within a 30 minute to one hour drive.
Enjoy every convenience of contemporary living in the City of Sierra Madre, with close proximity to the Westfield Santa Anita Shopping Mall, Santa Anita Golf Course and sporting events at the Rose Bowl. With numerous mass transit stations throughout the valley and access to I-210 (sic), it's an easy commute to the employment centers of Los Angeles or Riverside counties.
And did you know that the scalped hillside that was once one of the most scenic wilderness areas within the borders of Sierra Madre is literally a-brimming with history? And that the McMansion you build there will make you as one with that storied Sierra Madre past? Giving your lifestyle statement the kind of authenticity you might otherwise lack when living in something having all the character and architectural grace of a La Quinta Inn?
When you pass by the arroyo pillars that frame the entry to Stonegate at Sierra Madre, you are connecting with 150 years of rich history. These restored pillars are treasured remainders of three prominent historical structures which have occupied the Stonegate site.
In 1860, the property was homesteaded by George Macomber. The cabin that he built here in 1882 still stands, and is Sierra Madre's oldest remaining structure.
Nathaniel Carter, the founder of the City of Sierra Madre, purchased the property in 1881, and began construction of his family home, a large Victorian mansion. In 1882 he set the stone pillars at the entrance to his property, and added a barn and several outbuildings, exotic gardens, watering ponds, and a citrus orchard, where he developed the Carter orange. The Carter Barn and the pillars remain on the property today.
In 1939, the Willis family acquired the property, demolished the by-then dilapidated Carter home, and built a "modern" structure in 1941, complete with garage and swimming pool. Considered an architectural treasure, it was featured in Architectural Forum magazine and served as the family's residence for almost 60 years.
Today, you have the opportunity to make your own history, on a site that the City of Sierra Madre's founder deemed so desirable, that he built his own home right there. Today, you can pass between the historic entry pillars of Stonegate of Sierra Madre, and let the past lead you home.
Never mind that those bearing the name Willis have been regularly brutalized by some of the developers that have made such a wretched mess of the Carter hillside, because that is not the history you'd really want to know about as a Stonegate of Sierra Madre resident. Nor should you be concerned that your cozy wickiup nestled amongst those quaint relics of the past is inside of one of the state recognized most dangerous fire zones in this part of California. Or that you'll be sitting smack dab on top of a highly active earthquake fault line.
And, if you really are fascinated with its history, that you could wake up late one night suddenly aware that you are living in an area considered to be an ancient sacred burial ground by many of the area's indigenous peoples. Rumor has it things do get spiritual up there.
I mean, if you're really interested in history, you've got to want to take in more than just the kinds of gaucherie being offered by the folks pushing these lots.
Anyway, when choice parts of Sierra Madre are rezoned for large scale development, this is the kind of bollocks that will be served up and put into slick pamphlets to help sell off the real estate holdings of banks and developers that will - at least theoretically - have benefited by the duplicitous agenda of our current City Council.
Of course, somebody will actually have to buy all this stuff. And the way things are going in this country, that special breed of person might be very hard to find.
This from Planetizen.com:
The Commercial Real Estate Crisis Is Coming
Nearly half of the commercial real estate in the U.S. is underwater, according to Elizabeth Warren, Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel. She is concerned that a coming crisis could sink the current recovery.
What they're talking about here is the second leg of the development depression, which was caused largely by the subprime lending insanity of the early 2000s. The first half was the home real estate crisis, which mostly affected private residences. The steep decline in housing prices that have sent so many homeowners here into a state of shock was apparently only half of the ride. The other half is commercial properties. The office buildings, shopping centers, and condominium projects that sit empty from New York to Pasadena. And that portion of the crisis is only just beginning to make its presence known, with the full effects expected in the next year or two.
Alison Stewart: So are we going to see small cities with skyscrapers that are empty?
Elizabeth Warren: Well-
Alison Stewart: Store fronts that are empty?
Elizabeth Warren: Quite frankly, we are going to see some of that. See-through buildings, where the building has already been built, but there are no tenants in it, so you can see from one set of windows all the way over to the other. There will be some of that. there will also be some other adjustments that will be made. In some cases the mortgage will repossess the property and is able to sell it to someone else and get it off their books.
Sounds like more government bailouts to me.
And what is the value lost by having 50% of American commercial properties "underwater," as it were? Apparently it is in the trillions of dollars.
Good luck with that Stonegate at Sierra Madre thing. You're going to need it.