Condo project gives big-city feel to artsy Sand City.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
The Design Center Monterey Peninsula is a mini-high-rise in a mini-bohemia. The four-story, multi-use building is hard to miss plopped among Mark’s Barn Auto Body, Carmel Glass Co. and every other structure within Sand City’s 347-acre metropolis. In fact, it is the tallest building in town.
Sotheby’s realtor Bobbie Ehrenpreis, who had just showed the building for the first time minutes before my arrival, says the Design Center is modeled after metropolitan-style condos that have become common in the artsy areas of cities, like San Francisco’s Mission and SOMA (south of Market Street) districts – it’s part art, part function, part community.
Sand City is a perfect home for the Design Center – they both promote the organic philosophy of mixing art with everyday function, the belief of a “zero-commute, live-work” community.
The peanut-colored building, designed by architect and master builder Al Saroyan, will provide four functions upon its predicted completion this spring: a yet-to-be determined eatery, high-end home design display showrooms, condominiums and a few low-income rental units peppered throughout the third floor.
Upon initial glance, the exterior looks sterile and easily could be mistaken for a hospital or a rehab facility. On closer inspection several elements of creative allure pay homage to the growing artisan community of Sand City – bright banana-colored columns, metallic-green awnings dangling above balconies, and renowned artist Gregory Hawthorne’s 20-foot COR-TEN steel sculpture “Genoa” greets residents and guests in the front courtyard. A half-circle of private, single-car covered garages, included with each condo, look like quaint Hollywood bungalows.
Ehrenpreis explains that the building is defined by its two matching towers. Imagine a hammock tied up between two trees. The two towers are the trees and the building’s middle region is the hammock. The front entrance dramatically leads into the first of the two identical towers – each has a garden atrium with cathedral-glass skylights and a glass elevator comparable to Willy Wonka’s.
The open-air towers ensure the garden atrium is visible from every floor and wonderfully lit by natural light.
The first two unfinished stories of the Design Center will feature glass-encased showrooms used by various home-design businesses to display samples of their work.
The finished third and fourth floors are all residential living spaces. There are four possible condo layouts including one bedroom/1.5 bathrooms, two bedrooms/two bathrooms units. All told 21 units are for sale, 14 of which still are available. All feature black bamboo floors, maple cabinetry, granite bathrooms and kitchens, washer/dryer and stainless-steel KitchenAid appliances. All the condos have the option of being purchased completely furnished by Lenox Hill Fine Furnishings.
Each unit has at least one balcony with a view of the ocean or Jacks Peak. The ocean views include an unobstructed view of the freeway but that only adds to the authenticity of “metropolitan living.”
The standouts are the two loft units. With 20-foot ceilings and one massive floor-to-ceiling, multi-paneled window, ocean views are plentiful. A black wrought-iron spiral staircase leads up to the second-bedroom loft, a second full bathroom and a walk-in closet.
The condo layouts are aesthetically crisp and echo hints of the New York City loft style: minimalist and lots of sharp angles.
Price: $625,000-$825,000. 600 Ortiz Ave., Sand City. Contact Bobbie and David Ehrenpreis, Sotheby’s International Realty, 624-1861.