Another obstacle to in-fill development

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Want to give you some insight into why, exactly, its so hard for LA to add more housing.

Here’s a perfect example:

We own a big, R3 lot in an improving area, bordered by two alleys.

This ought to be a super easy lot to develop and, indeed, we are in the process of obtaining permits for a new building.

The pr0blem we have is a utility pole whose guy wire (basically, a cable holding the pole up) blocks access to our lot in a way that complicates the parking layout.

There are two solutions:

  1. Re-design the parking and the building to avoid the wire, resulting in a worse design and higher construction costs (because we need to use parking lifts); or
  2. Move the pole

Now, moving a pole ought to be pretty simple. It’s basically a few guys and a truck working for a few days. We’ve heard estimates that this ought to cost in the range of $30-50k. Really expensive, but not fatal to the deal.

The problem? Timing.

Because DWP is a state-owned monopoly with ZERO incentive to do much of anything, there is literally no way to know, with any certainty, whether moving the pole is feasible, how much it would cost, and how long it would take.

In case you haven’t figured it out from reading my blog, the one thing I absolutely can’t stand, it’s uncertainty… because I can’t sell “I don’t know” or “maybe” to my investors.

Bottom line: We may end up just the existing structures on the lot. It’s way less hassle… but the city loses a bunch of units it could have had.

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