Marina Del Rey’s award-winning Latitude 33 features three styles of living in one location that bring the beach home.
By Dani Smith
What was once a 40- year-old office building in Marina Del Rey, Calif., is now the beach community, Latitude 33 that features singlelevel flats, townhomes and penthouses. Breathing new life into an abandoned site, this project is setting the standard for modern beach design with three distinctive yet complimentary lifestyle home collections.
Just a few blocks from the beach, Latitude 33 brings coastal living to residents with three styles of living including Sky, Beach and Boardwalk collection of homes. The sky collection, a ninestory, multifamily complex, features units that range from 2,280 to 3,140 square feet as well as 12 penthouses that showcase views of the Pacific Ocean. The Beach collection offers threelevel beach bungalows with private gardens and effortless beach access and range in square footage from 1,835 to 1,995 square feet. The Boardwalk collection presents an eclectic mix of townhomes, reverse townhomes and single-level units. The community also features a block-long, main level for retail use to support residents’ lifestyle needs.
Prior to becoming the infill, mixed-use community that it is today, the project underwent a few changes in ownership and development that proved to be a problem. It was originally built in 1972, abandoned and then was picked up by Lennar as Pier Pointe. However, the market turned and the project went into bankruptcy, laying stagnant for over a year thereby becoming a symbol of a failing economy. “The biggest challenge we faced, was taking a prominent project within a close knit community that had been sitting unoccupied for approximately a year, in the midst of the economic downturn, and bring new life to it and create a new modern beach residential community,” said Amber Turner, director of sales and marketing, SunBrook Partners. In an area known to discourage development, SunBrook Partners had to work incredibly hard with the community and make the right connections to materialize this project. “Venice is a community weary of developers coming into its community and homogenizing it. SunBrook was determined to meet the high design standards of the community and opted to partner with KAA Design Group – a prominent local firm that specializes in modern luxury – to ensure that aesthetic standards of the architectural and design community were met,” Turner explained. She added, “We also had to approach the project from a renovation stand point versus new construction when looking at ways to improve upon the design of the exterior and common areas. By having to modify the existing elements into a new fresh look as opposed to starting from the beginning, it adds design constraints and costs.”
Working with KAA Design Group, SunBrook Partners gave the site a whole new look. From architectural renovations to the street level and entry portals; new landscape for the street and pedestrian level entries; retail storefronts, courtyards and access points; interior design for the building lobbies, coneirge areas, common areas and model units, this redevelopment experienced a complete transformation. Designers said that the goal was to keep the feel of the beach with a modern urban spin — a look that is sleek yet relaxed, eclectic yet modern. “This project was particularly exciting in that SunBrook Partners allowed us to bring out full range of design services to the table. We were tasked to completely revision the property into a luxury residential community,” said Grant Kirkpatrick, principal, KAA Design. “This also assured us that the units at Latitude 33 were not going to lower surrounding property values. By staying committed to design and not undercutting the units for a quick sale – it showed commitment to the neighborhood,” said Turner.
Focusing on the details of Latitude 33, the project combines modern chic with sophisticated beach living. Described as a vibrant, coastal community, the design aimed to reflect that feeling from its conception. “Set against a neutral background, splashes of color energize spaces and add a touch of whimsy. Minimalist, organic materials and forms can be found throughout. Each collection – Sky, Boardwalk and Beach – reference a distinct aspect of this property’s coastal context with an authentic architectural voice, seamlessly blending high design with an eclectic flair,” explained Grant Kirkpatrick, principal, KAA design.
“Fresh and vibrant modern aesthetics, combined with organic patterns and bold colors, connect Latitude 33 with the neighborhood’s sense of space and freedom. The architecture’s unique design and the transformation of the boutique-style retail create an undeniable presence along the street,” Turner added. “A glass wall seamlessly wraps the tower’s edge, by day defined by clear panes, intermixed with organic screens, and at night by a glowing translucent band illuminating the building’s base. It’s a dramatic look, day or night.”
Creating this dramatic look was another one of the design challenges, according to architects KAA. “One of the design challenges was to bring a more pedestrian-friendly sense of scale to the buildings, said Kirkpatrick. “The block-long main level of the Sky Collection is the perfect location for high-end, boutique-style storefront retailers. The glass curtain wall is defined by a rhythm of clear panes intermixed with organically inspired metal screens and vine-covered panels. The addition of a grounding color band and appropriately scaled lighting, landscape, canopies, and signage transformed the pedestrian experience and unify the Boardwalk and Sky Collection buildings.”
“We really considered the environment and did our best to add to the area and not diminish it in any way. It resulted in a reversal of opinion and quickly became a desirable address and has been one of the fastest selling communities in Los Angeles.” With this mind set, Latitude 33 was destined to be an aesthetic feat for the community.
Dani Smith is an editor of Builder and Developer magazine. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.