Monah Li is in the process of selling her Silver Lake home, where shes lived for four years. She is moving to a 2,000-square-foot loft in downtown L.A.
"I dont know how I got myself into buying a house. I dont want to fix anything or work in my garden. I am not up for the responsibility anymore . . . I just thought living in a house was the right thing to do. You grow up and you buy a house. I have a daughter, and I didnt think you could bring up a kid in downtown. Thirteen years ago in downtown it was very grim and scary. Now it is really changing. Since it has a swimming pool, it is all right with her. There are barbecue areas, and interesting people living here.
"I always lived in lofts downtown or in big communes in Vienna. I dont like living in a house by myself. I like the community. It is a certain way of living, in a loft. Its a lifestyle choice. I will be working and living there. Other people will be doing that. Those are the people I want to live near."
Western Carlton Way/Metro Hollywood
Vladimir Mkrtchyan, 33, lives at Western Carlton Way/Metro Hollywood apartments and townhouses on the corner of Western Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. Mkrtchyan, a handyman, has lived in the 122-unit apartment/townhouse complex with his wife and two sons for four years. He got his two-bedroom apartment through a lottery in 2001, in which only low-income residents could apply. He pays $650 a month. Mkrtchyan said the building is very multicultural: 25 percent Armenian, 25 percent Spanish. The remaining tenants are African-American and Korean. Amenities include 24-hour security, washer and dryer in every unit, indoor parking, fitness room, play area, and barbecue pits.
"If you dont make a lot of money, this is a good place to live. It is just difficult to get in. No one moves out. The rent is cheap, and the building is nice, clean and quiet. No one leaves here unless they die."
Palazzo at Park La Brea, 6220 W. Third St.
Corrie Caster, a talent scout, has been living at the Palazzo for one year. She lives there with her photographer husband and two kids, ages 5 and 3. Her family was in transition from selling its home to looking for a new one. She lives in a two-bedroom and pays $3,000 a month. Palazzo offers a boutique-style gym, full spa with Jacuzzi, steam room, massage services, manicures and pedicures. There is also an outdoor heated pool, which is open all year around, a 24-hour business center with free Internet and computer access, and a snack area and coffee bar.
"It is like living in the Four Seasons Hotel. The grounds look like Hawaii. There are flowers everywhere. It is across the street from a park and the Grove. It is going to be hard to leave. You see a lot of young Hollywood."
Palazzo at Park La Brea East, located at 348 S. Hauser Blvd.
Davis-Heptker, designer and manufacturer of a home-furnishing line called Indigo, moved to L.A. from Ohio last September with her children, ages 17 and 11. They live in a two-bedroom plus loft.
"We moved in here because of the community. They have a Saturday brunch. The children watch TV in the spa area. My daughter works out with a trainer. She can use the spa for free. We tried for several weeks to look for a house. I went as far south as Palos Verdes, and through Beverly Hills and Brentwood. We were looking to rent initially. Now we are looking to buy. We would like to put our money towards an asset. The houses are so expensive out here. We keep raising the bar at how much we can spend, and we still cant find anything. It is expensive rent, but you get so much for it. And its amazing how many places we can walk to.
"As a busy working parent, time is very important. I think, for someone who is brand-new, it is really nice having everything set up for you. It is a trade-off of time. I am not in the car commuting all the time, shuffling them back and forth. I am not out there mowing a lot of grass. I can spend great quality time now with my family. I am a happy camper. We dont have a yard and probably less space, but it doesnt feel like that. We really have a big yard and a giant swimming pool. And we dont have to maintain it."
Palazzo at Park La Brea East
Heath Finn has been living at the Palazzo for seven months. He grew up in St. Louis and now works for U.S. Bank as a commercial lender. Finn, 37, pays $2,300 a month for a one-bedroom he shares with his wife. They both work from home and use the Palazzos business center. Their apartment is 800 square feet and includes a fireplace, granite counters, a deck large enough for a grill, and dual sinks. "The hallway and elevators smell good," he says. Oh, and theres a spa with hot tubs and a heated pool, free spinning, yoga and kickboxing classes, hip-hop dancing, Pilates, and personal trainers.