Monday, January 4, 2010

Menlo Property: Public Hearing January 6

Photo: Clarence Inman Collection, circa 1987. Riverside Drive prior to construction of the River Glen Apts. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

When you live next to a freeway or two, you take your green space wherever you can get it. Looking at the above photo of Riverside Drive between Fletcher & Glendale Blvd, the former Red Car right-of-way would have made a useful greenway and barrier between homes and the heavily trafficked 5 Freeway.

Bob Inman, who grew up on Waverly, remembers using the property as a jogging path prior to construction starting in 1987. Red Car Trolley tracks were removed by 1959.

The first developer abandoned the project in 1991, before completing the River Glen Apts, leaving the Silver Lake and Atwater communities with a giant eyesore and an incomplete retaining wall for more than a decade.
Photo: Maryann Kuk, April 25, 2000. The Menlo Property Great Wall of Plastic persisted for many years despite Board of Building & Safety Commissioners ordering Menlo to do the slope stabilization. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Sam Menlo bought the property out of foreclosure in 1992. He perfected the art of neglect of the property, only beginning work on the slope stabilization under threat of criminal prosecution by the City Attorney, three years after the Board of Building & Safety Commissioners ordered him to do so.
Photo: Diane Edwardson, November 1, 2007. After slope stabilization was complete in 2003, the motor homeless took residence along Riverside Drive. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

Photo: Diane Edwardson, June 5, 2009. The trees and bushes finally started filling in on the Menlo Property, 6 years after landscaping. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

The Menlo Property goes to a public hearing Wed Jan 6, 2009. An argument can be made that Menlo's past does not ensure that 120 units will ever be built on the property. It sounds like the Menlo Property will continue the Legacy of Failed Development in our neighborhood.