In April of this year, the Park Prospect Condominiums/Russell Forester Building was named a historical resource by the Historical Resources Board. The building is situated at 800 Prospect Street, La Jolla Community, Council District 1. Located in downtown La Jolla and surrounded by commercial and single family and multi-family residential properties. The Board believes the building “embodies the distinctive characteristics through the retention of character defining features of Modern/International style and retains a good level of architectural integrity from its ca. 1963 period of significance.” The Park Prospect Condos display lean horizontal lines with concrete masonry and stucco exterior walls and floor-to-ceiling gray anodized aluminum windows and exterior doors.
Reports show that the building was the first condominium in La Jolla and served as an example of a new type of housing that became popular in the 1960’s in California. It established the concept of owner-occupied multi-family housing. The building includes 30 units with five stories and a basement with a parking garage, storage, and laundry facilities. There have been very few modifications to the building since it was built, but it was reinforced with concrete footings and basement walls. Units overlook the La Jolla Cove with gorgeous ocean views. The architect, Russell Forester (1920-2002), was at the height of his architectural career when he began the design of the Park Place Condominiums. He is considered to have introduced the International Style to consumers with his innovative designs of the original Jack in the Box drive-thru on El Cajon Blvd.
By naming the Park Prospect Condominiums/Russell Forester Building a historical resource, it now qualifies for the Mills Act of 1972. This act offers monetary incentives via reduction in property tax to foster the preservation, maintenance and restoration of designated historic properties. It allows property subject to a historical property contract to be valued based on rental income that could be expected from that property rather than using comparable sales to establish assessed value. Generally, the contract lasts for ten years and results in a much lower assessment. The contract is transferable between owners because it remains with the property.
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