By Robert M. Nordlund, PE, RS
Association Reserves, Inc.
My assignment was a site inspection for a large, older condominium association, built in the late 60s, perched on the top of a hill overlooking the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The brand new community manager was accompanying me on my walk-through, thinking this would be a good opportunity to test out her ring of keys and take her first tour of the association. The site inspection was proceeding smoothly, and as she opened the Recreation Room, I was immediately distracted by a wonderful wall of windows providing an impressive view of LAX. The view was a nice treat in the midst of inspecting a lot of decking, pool equipment, and wood trim. But then my instincts kicked in, and I was struck by the dated appearance of the entire room: the color of the kitchen tile, the fire-pit in the middle of a conversation area, the window treatments, etc. We had been told the carpet had been replaced recently, but the room clearly felt old and dated.
That’s when the manager said something remarkable. She said she had been looking forward to this assignment, because she had always been told by her father and mother (a retired airline pilot and flight attendant respectively) that they met “at a party in a condominium overlooking LAX”. All of a sudden we both stopped, and the quiet of a dull, empty rec room in the middle of the day was replaced by the sound of party music and cocktail chatter, visions of “hip” singles mingling and chatting fireside, the men in their bell-bottomed leisure suits, sideburns, and open shirts, the women in their polyester pantsuits or miniskirts, while the lights of LAX twinkled below. We could both very easily imagine a young pilot spotting an attractive stewardess across the room and beginning a conversation! For the young manager, this room was clearly the place where it all had started for her.