17352 W. Sunset Boulevard #203: Tranquil Oasis in Pacific Palisades

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Just a few miles up north from the Annenberg Community Beach House, which we covered not too long ago, is the gorgeous, sprawling 9-acre expanse where this one bedroom/one bathroom condo at 17352 W. Sunset Boulevard is located.

Courtesy of USC Digital Libraries, 1892

Courtesy of USC Digital Libraries, 1892

At one time, Pacific Palisades, where 17352 Sunset is situated, was home to the Port of Los Angeles Long Wharf, which was the longest wharf in the world at the time of construction in 1892. According to Nathan Masters of KCET, the Port of Los Angeles was built by Southern Pacific Railroad president Collis Huntington and Nevada senator John Jones and stretched 4,600 feet into the Pacific Ocean. The Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, however, suspected a monopoly was in the works, and fought vigorously to prevent the Southern Pacific Railroad from using the port solely as a means for increasing its own railroad business. In 1897 the Army Corps of Engineers eventually reconstructed the Port in San Pedro, where it still exists today.

Courtesy of VillaAurora.org

Courtesy of VillaAurora.org

Less than a mile north of the condos at 17352 Sunset is another historical landmark—the Villa Aurora. Built in 1928 by a contractor named Arthur Weber, the home later fell into disrepair because of Weber’s bankruptcy. In 1943, a German-Jewish refugee named Lion Feuchtwanger and his wife Marta purchased the Villa Aurora because it reminded them of Italy. Over the years, they slowly refurbished the property and Feuchtwanger, a writer, held salons where the likes of Fritz Lang, Bertolt Brecht, and Charlie Chaplin were known to visit. The area quickly became a haven for the German intellectual set.

Courtesy of Santa Monica Public Library Archives, circa 1918

Courtesy of Santa Monica Public Library Archives, circa 1918

Even this far up the coast, there’s no escaping the ever-present reach of Hollywood. In 1911, film magnate Thomas Ince created “Inceville,” a Western moviemaking studio at Sunset Boulevard and the Pacific Coast Highway.

Santa Ana Register, August 6, 1918

Santa Ana Register, August 6, 1918

Westerns like The Return of Draw Egan, War on the Plains, and Custer’s Last Fight were all filmed at the Inceville studios; he made over 150 movies throughout his time there. In the early 1920s, the studios suffered through several fires and Ince eventually sold the property to the actor William Hart, who renamed the studios “Hartville.” Very original.

Courtesy of Santa Monica Public Library Archives, circa 1955

Courtesy of Santa Monica Public Library Archives, circa 1955

After the 400+ acres saw its moviemaking heyday, the area eventually became a quarry and was purchased by a real estate magnate who leveled the surrounding area. Throughout the process, several natural springs were activated and created what is current-day Lake Santa Ynez—the only freshwater lake in Los Angeles. In 1949, a Texas oilman named Mr. Gross acquired the property, planning on renovating it into a large resort complex. But before he could do so, he had a dream in which he imagined that the place was home to a “Church for all religions.” When he looked up “Church for all religions” in the phone book (this was of course pre-Google), all he would find was something about a Self-Realization Fellowship in Hollywood. He contacted the Paramahansa Yogananda, who agreed to purchase the property. By 1950, the area was transformed into a spiritual, meditative sanctuary for people of any religion to come and worship.

Aerial view of Pacific Coast Highway and Bel Air Bay Club, January 31, 1931

Aerial view of Pacific Coast Highway and Bel Air Bay Club, January 31, 1931

As Inceville demonstrated, the Hollywood lifestyle wasn’t just the purview of Hollywood. The Palisades also enjoyed its share of glamour. In 1927, a developer named Alphonso Bell opened the Bel-Air Bay Club, an event space that catered to the wealthy set. For decades, the club was the social center of town, and various parties, weddings, and other assorted gatherings were held there amidst some of the most beautiful ocean views in the city.

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The Bel-Air Club still exists today, and is less than a mile east of the condos at 17352 Sunset. Once entering through the security-controlled foyer, go on up to #203 and enjoy a floor plan that utilizes the 697 sq. ft. of living area quite ingeniously. Wooden floors and large picture windows throughout create a feeling of fluidity and openness.

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The convenient kitchen is adjacent to the living room and continues the spacious, open floor plan. Ocean-inspired blue tile and wooden cabinets combine with updated stainless steel appliances for comfortable beachside living. Though the condos were built in 1963 by owner Wilson Park and architect D.W. Drazen, they’ve been updated for the modern tenant, while still retaining the original charm.

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The living room opens into a wide patio that offers perhaps the biggest draw to the condominiums—unparalleled views of the Santa Monica mountains and the Pacific Ocean.

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The single bedroom is large enough to be comfortable—and the immense picture windows don’t hurt either.

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At the Edgewater Towers Condos, the amenities abound. But perhaps the best amenity isn’t the one that they provide—it’s the beautiful oceanfront just steps away from home.

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The surrounding gardens offer a variety of gorgeous flora to enjoy while traversing the numerous walking trails and inevitably finding oneself…near the ocean, of course.

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For those moments when the ocean is a bit overwhelming, there’s a stunning pool and hot tub to take advantage of just a few steps away.

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If it’s possible to tire of staring at the sparkling blue ocean, there’s always tennis.

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Then, of course, it’s time to have some lunch after tennis on one of the many outdoor seating areas and go back to our favorite pastime of staring at the ocean…

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