16 East Quarterdeck #101: Contemporary Beachside Living

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Marshy wetlands, abundant vegetation, and a nearly interminable supply of exotic birds are not things you typically associate with Southern California, yet that is exactly the environment where this fantastic 2 bed/2 bath 1,051 sq. ft. condo at 16 Quarterdeck Street in Marina del Rey is located.

Courtesy en.academic.ru

Courtesy en.academic.ru

Though the Marina boasts the largest manmade harbor in the United States and is home to over 6,500 boats, many who live in Los Angeles rarely get out to this side of town. For those who are fortunate enough to live here, that is a blessing. Venture into the Marina on a sunny day, and you’ll see how this breezy, calm oasis is the perfect respite from the chaos of the rest of the city.

Like most parts of Los Angeles, Marina del Rey was once home to the Tongva Indians. They enjoyed the boon of wildlife and water until the Spaniards, bringing smallpox and measles, nearly wiped them out before converting them to Christianity.

Los Angeles Herald, 1887

Los Angeles Herald, 1887

In 1887, when the port was proposed, the area was known as the town of Rancho Ballona, or Port Ballona.

Los Angeles Herald, May 31, 1887

Los Angeles Herald, May 31, 1887

In 1887, real estate developer M.L. Wicks decided to turn the estuary of Lake Ballona into a commercial harbor, and formed the Ballona Harbor and Improvement Company. He wanted this to be the main harbor (or, as he called it, “The Future Harbor”) for Los Angeles, advertising the “never-failing spring of pure sulphur water.” Oh, have times changed.

M.L Wickes Addition to Port Ballona, Sepetmber 1887, courstesy of Huntington Library

M.L Wickes Addition to Port Ballona, Sepetmber 1887, courstesy of Huntington Library

Unfortunately, M.L. Wicks lost the bid for the harbor and his Ballona development company went bankrupt. The “Port of LA” was established in San Pedro, where it still exists today. Regardless, the area continued to cater to those wanting to enjoy panoramic views, canals, and of course, the ocean. The area is also beloved by our winged friends, as the Ballona is a stop on the Pacific flyway. Canada geese, herons, red-tailed hawks, and a variety of thrushes are just a few of the birds that call the Ballona their home. As a result, for decades, there have been constant battles over the redevelopment initiatives that threaten to rid the Ballona of its wildlife.

Hughes H-4 Hercules, also known as the Spruce Goose, courtesy History Channel

Hughes H-4 Hercules, also known as the Spruce Goose, courtesy History.com

Speaking of winged marvels, Marina Del Rey was also the nexus of innovation thanks to none other than LA aviation legend Howard Hughes. Hughes owned land in present-day Marina Del Rey, where he built his H-4 Hercules,“Spruce Goose,” aircraft—one of the largest aircrafts ever built, and made entirely of birch!

Hughes’ technological prowess seems to have seeped into the aura of the area. Nicknamed Silicon Beach (along with Venice/Santa Monica) the Playa Vista area is now home to Google, Facebook, YouTube Space LA, the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, and much more. In fact, Google purchased the old Hughes hangars where the Spruce Goose was built.

Playe Del Rey, circe 1906 courtest of Loyola Marymount University, Dept. of Archives and Special Collections

Playa del Rey, circa 1906 courtesy of Loyola Marymount University, Dept. of Archives and Special Collections

Playa del Rey and Playa Vista are just south of Marina del Rey, near the mouth of Ballona Creek. After failure to get Port Ballona designated as LA’s main port, it was named Playa del Rey.

Boardwalk in front of Pavilion restaurant in Playa del Rey, circa 1908, courtesy of USC Digital Libraries, California Historical Society Collection

Boardwalk in front of Pavilion restaurant in Playa del Rey, circa 1908, courtesy of USC Digital Libraries, California Historical Society Collection

The Los Angeles Pacific Railroad stopped through Playa del Rey for its “Balloon Route” trolley tours, at a place called Pavilion—a restaurant where one could enjoy a nice fish dinner before getting back on the trolley and heading home to Culver City, downtown, or as far as Hollywood.

In the 1970s, Marina del Rey’s first high-rise apartment, the Marina City Club, was constructed. Howard Hughes, along with an assortment of LA’s most eligible bachelors and socialites frequented the club. Hughes was an investor in the property.

According to a Los Angeles Times article, residents of the Marina City Club could

have their cars washed, order food delivered from the third-floor restaurant, get a haircut or massage, take a steam bath, buy food and liquor, see a movie, find a game of tennis, stag poker or Scrabble, go swimming or dancing, nurse a cocktail or orchestrate an affair.

The Van Nuys News, April 22, 1973

The Van Nuys News, April 22, 1973

The club has also been home to celebs such as Bo Derek, Billie Jean King, Warren Beatty and notorious murderer brothers Joseph and Eric Menendez, who apparently used to play tennis there.

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The condos at 16 Quarterdeck were built shortly after the Marina City Club, in 1972. Like those at the Marina, the apartments in this 9-unit building provide a spacious, open floor plan with ample views.

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Contemporary style furnishings in the living areas and hardwood floors keep the space elegant yet minimalist.

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A sleek kitchen is conveniently located adjacent to the living room. Granite countertops combine with rich wooden furnishings to provide a contemporary look in sync with the rest of the home.

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The spacious, sunny bedrooms are simple yet comfortable. The master bedroom provides a lovely view of the ocean, and elegant, luxurious bathrooms add extra flair.

16 Quarterdeck is the perfect balance of sea-inspired solitude and Venice-adjacent nightlife. Travel just two miles north, and you’ll be at the lovely Venice Canals, remnants of Abbot Kinney’s vision of what a Europeanized California city could look like. Go a bit further north and you’ll find some of Venice’s best restaurants, or hop over to Fisherman’s Village for a bite that’s closer. Grab some binoculars and head east to the Ballona wetlands for some heron watching, then amble down Ocean Front Walk or the Esplanade and make your way to the beach.

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And for those days when all of that sounds way too taxing, open up your bedroom doors and relish in the fact that you’ve got one of the most coveted views in the world…

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