One close student of the downtown condo market, asking not to be identified because of pending litigation, says, “The market is slow for good buildings, but certainly not disastrous.” A “good” building is defined as well built, with adequate parking, in a good location — “meaning not too many surrounding aggravations,” including homeless encampments, freeway or train noise, or the Gaslamp’s all-night partying.
But it’s a disastrous market for bad buildings, says this source. “Bad” means poor construction or poor location. Says this person, “Smart Corner is also a bad location because the [City College] trolley stop causes noise to be trapped between the two buildings and there are undesirables who hang around there at all hours.”
“We’ve tested the trolley noise, and it’s absolutely negligible,” says Harmer, who admits the neighborhood isn’t the greatest. “We have a full security system. There have been zero reports of violence. Things that have turned people off are a burned-out building in the area and some other issues. This is an emerging area; it’s not the marina district, but we don’t charge marina prices. There is an enormous commitment to revitalize the area.”
Rooks says the access to public transportation enhances the commission’s ability to serve clients. “We serve a lot of elderly people, persons with disabilities,” she says. She and Harmer are still committed to smart growth. And Smart Corner. Time will tell if that’s smart.