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They Gained a View and Lost a Commute : Downtown: Getting to work is easy from the high-rise apartments and condos in Bunker Hill and South Park. But some complain about a lack of grocery stores and activities after dark.

December 05, 1993|IRIS YOKOI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Metropolitan tenants have also formed a co-ed softball team and often arrange to meet in groups at the oasis-like complex pool at lunch on workdays, said tenant Joel Lenamon, a 38-year-old banker who walks six blocks to work.

While the rental units tend to draw single and younger professionals, the condominium complexes have a wider array of residents, typically don't organize regular group activities and offer a less "swinging" lifestyle, as Carol Mishell put it. Mishell said the eclectic mix of neighbors in the 200-unit, 10-year-old Skyline complex includes USC students as well as homeowners of all different ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

As in the suburbs, efforts are made to encourage residents to get involved in the neighborhood and community. For instance, a Residents Against Graffiti group, which gathers to paint out graffiti on Downtown streets, has been formed for residents of Skyline and the neighboring Metropolitan, said John Kelly, Skyline association manager.

Although the Skyline complex also provides such amenities as racquetball courts, a large pool, barbecue grills and a recreation lounge that can be reserved for group parties, Carol Mishell said she seldom uses them.

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Instead, she prefers to walk her two dogs in the neighborhood, shop at nearby malls such as Broadway Plaza and Seventh Marketplace, and meet her two daughters, who work at City Hall, at a Downtown eatery for lunch. She said she spends most of her days in the comfort of her home, reading on the balcony or taking care of family paperwork.

"I actually enjoy the limited space; it's very manageable and like a cocoon," she said. "When I was a kid, in the 1940s, I would take the streetcar from Pasadena to Downtown L.A. to visit my father's office. We lived 24 years or so in Palos Verdes Estates, but now I've realized I'm an urban girl at heart."

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