Podiums Are the New Dingbats

Apologies for light posting lately; hopefully things will be back to normal soon. I’m working on some longer items, but in the meantime, just a quick post to build on a few things I’ve written about before.

Last weekend, I checked out some new apartments that were opened a few months ago at the corner of Palms and Motor. They’re renting for about $2.50-$3.00/SF, with the cheapest 1BR checking in at $1,775. That’s not exactly cheap, but it isn’t terrible for new construction, especially considering that the building must have had higher construction costs due to building a couple levels of parking. With new true podiums nearby on Motor and Palms coming online soon, we’ll see how they’re priced. I’m paying much less, but I’m in a considerably older building.

Dingbats were the prototypical affordable housing in built-up areas of LA. They feature efficient parking design, with parking tucked underneath on a lower level, and the wood-frame apartments above. However, the open nature of the lower level means it has less shear strength, so if a big earthquake hits my apartment might be going for a short but spicy ride that ends on top of those cars. To avoid this design flaw, you need to beef up the performance of the lower level, which usually means podium style construction: reinforced concrete columns and deck for the lower level, wood-frame construction above.

Once you’ve triggered the expense of  concrete construction on the lower level, you might as well go as tall as you can with the wood-frame above, to  distribute the costs of the high-cost portion over more units. That’s generally about five or six stories, provided the zoning allow you to do so and you can meet the parking requirements with only one level. In other words, podiums are the new dingbats – the best way to max out a site with low-cost housing.

Of course, if you can avoid the need for the podium through something like reduced parking requirements, you can keep housing costs even lower.

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One thought on “Podiums Are the New Dingbats

  1. Pingback: A Farewell to Palms | Let's Go LA

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