Not long ago I wrote about my great lament at what it cost to operate a car these days. I broke all the numbers down and, even for my fully paid for car, I shell out about $4,000 a year for gas, tags, maintenance and insurance. That got me to thinking about how nice it would be if we didn't need a car to get around.
There has been talk for a couple of decades about home builders building "pedestrian friendly" communities in which cars would not be necessary...to shop, to visit a grocery, or for a laundry run. Needless to say we'd all be better off, and the air would be a lot cleaner without our commutes to work or to the nearest grocery store or strip mall.
That got me to remembering of reading about a planned condo development down near the waterfront in San Diego about 12 years ago. It was to be a 24 story development with retail space occupying the entire 1st floor. As I remember the first retail tenants were to be a Sprouts Farmer's Market, a wine bar and a restaurant. That concept really intrigued me because of the convenience and ambience of being so close to the waterfront where my wife and I often drove to, to walk the waterfront on summer evenings.
And, with Petco park being just up the street, surrounded by pleasant little bistros and sports bars, the location would have proven to be ideal; food and baseball...two of my favorite hobbies. And, darn it, we could have swung the price on one of those condos had our timing been perfect. We ended up selling our home in north San Diego for more than twice what we paid for it. And, had we waited just one more year before buying another home, we could have scored a huge bargain as those condos fell into the $200,000 dollar range after the 2005 housing crash.
So, here I am, sitting in record breaking heat in Phoenix, and pondering what could have been. Just for giggles I just googled the price of those condos today. A one bedroom, one bath, and 700 square feet of condo runs you at least $400,000 dollars. The monthly condo fee is $425 per month. Had we bought in 2006 a 2 bedroom, 2 bath could have been had for less than $200k and I'd be sitting on a $200,000 dollar profit and catching every Padre home game, swimming in the lap pool, working out in the gym and relaxing in the spa. And if I wanted to pursue a couch potato lifestyle I could just take the elevator down to the wine bar, fuel up on a nice glass of wine and pick up some grub in Spouts, then elevate up to my pad.
Hell, the annual savings in the costs of auto ownership would pay the monthly condo via and I'd be basking in 75 degree summer evenings with the scent of the sea in my nostrils and a cool breeze on my face.
Probably for the best that it didn't work out. I'd probably be fighting with the condo board to have an In N Out Burger downstairs.