New Owner for Chapala One

L.A. Developer Michael Rosenfeld Purchases Embattled Property

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
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Los Angeles developer Michael Rosenfeld has purchased Chapala One, the ill-fated high-end, mixed-use condo development at Chapala and Gutierrez streets that’s spawned so much political and economic conflict that the space has remained vacant since construction was completed four years ago. Rosenfeld appears to have a penchant for troubled, vacant properties, having last year acquired the mixed-use-plus-hotel project on lower State Street known as La Entrada de Santa Barbara a few years after the property’s original developer, Bill Levy, was forced to declare bankruptcy.

Chapala One building
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman (file)

Chapala One building

Scaffolding now surrounds Chapala One as construction crews attack work defects that would have plagued the building’s tenants had anyone been allowed to occupy the politically controversial but architecturally acclaimed structure. The size and mass of Chapala One sparked a building height battle four years ago as well as a knock-down, drag-out court battle in which contractor Mark Melchiori successfully sued developer Don Hughes for $5.8 million in unpaid bills. Melchiori has since been the focus of numerous lawsuits for failure to pay his bills. This dispute created such a cloud over the building’s title, which combined with the onset of the recession, left Chapala One vacant.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

"anyone been allowed to occupy was anyone allowed to occupy"? What's the Double for?

dou4now (anonymous profile)
November 20, 2012 at 5:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)


John_Adams (anonymous profile)
November 20, 2012 at 8:11 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Work defects" on a Melchiori job? Color me surprised.

MSSB (anonymous profile)
November 20, 2012 at 9:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"architecturally acclaimed"?????? roflol.

at_large (anonymous profile)
November 20, 2012 at 11:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Who is the architect of this monstrosity?

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
November 20, 2012 at 9:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"...architecturally derided" would be more accurate.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
November 21, 2012 at 9:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Chapala One has always been unfairly maligned. It;'s actually one of the few faux Spanish designs in town that is imaginative instead of boring and ubiquitous. It looks like a cool place to live. This phobia about living above shops ect is beyond petty and laughable.
I doubt there's anybody here who's commented negatively that can draw their way off of a napkin much less design a building. In the future all the naysayers are going to look real dumb.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2012 at 2:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Santa Barbara's main problem has been the suffocation of creativity to make everything blend in.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 22, 2012 at 2:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I went over to look at Chapala One -- it's pretty darned massive but it's almost at the end of Chapala St. & very close to the freeway, so maybe some of that heft will insulate the future dwellers from so much freeway noise?
Ken has a point that of the far too numerous Spanish revival buildings in this town -- did Pearl Chase really want every single building to look like Mission revival with red tile roofs, arches, and smooth stucco sides?? -- few look exciting. I know for you architectural experts (I'm not) there is a difference between faux Spanish (Ken), Spanish revival, and Mission revival styles. But here in our town it feels and looks "cookie cutter" to some degree. Unity is good, more design diversity is good, too, no? There is a kind of compression of creativity in the intense effort to make everything blend in architecturally. We can honor Pearl Chase but realize that was the 1920s and 1930s...
Chapala One is not ideal, but I salute the concept of having mixed-use structures right in town. We need to go this way. But the positioning of Chapala One places it in a very rough environment: financially speaking, will well-heeled oldsters be willing to pay the kind of $ needed to get one of these large luxury condos with the crusties standing around right outside your gated/secure ground-level parking spaces??
Undoubtedly, Melchiori messed up and they will be in litigation forever. It just isn't that ugly, so what is the real criticism, I'd like to learn what it is. Sezme etc. you just hate how it looks??

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 23, 2012 at 5:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

My only concern about Chapala One is: will it be underwater in a few years?
Despite what some in the local real estate industry wish to believe, the ocean is rising and it would have at the very least been a customer courtesy if they hadn't stopped the blue line from going in. Next time you're looking for a place to buy or rent, ask your agent about "the blue line". An honest agent will tell you all about it; one only out for themselves won't.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 24, 2012 at 11:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@DrDan - I think a lot of people think like you in that we need to go the way of mixed use buildings in SB. The trouble is, the actual practice of building them hasn't really borne out the need or appeal for them in the mainstream public. And so most either sit empty or seriously lacking tenants (either literally, like Chapala One or over time, which means that there is a very high rate of turnover in which there are huge gaps in tenancy.)

This has been true across the board in terms of mixed use properties that have been in Carp, SB and Goleta and of varied price ranges.

Native1 (anonymous profile)
December 10, 2012 at 3:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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