Jamee and Rich Kahn lived for 16 years in Lake Arrowhead, California, in the mountains northeast of Los Angeles. After Rich sold his business, the couple decided on a major change.

By William G. Scheller
March 06, 2006
Fran Gealer

Jamee and Rich Kahn
Azzurra, Marina Del Rey, California

They wanted to stay in SouthernCalifornia, where their grown sons live, so they explored the coastfrom Santa Barbara to San Diego, plus points just inland. Theyfound what they were looking for in Marina Del Rey, near SantaMonica, at a waterside condominium complex calledAzzurra.

"We came as renters," says Rich. "Renting didn't seem like quiteas traumatic a change. We knew it would be easy to leave if wewanted to."

But the Kahns didn't want to leave. When Azzurra began sellingunits, they purchased their 18th-floor, 1,750-square-foot apartmentfor sheer convenience: They walk to shops, theaters, andrestaurants, and take advantage of the Santa Monica area's wealthof cultural amenities without braving L.A.'s freeway traffic.

Add to that the luxury of keeping a boat at a marina just ahalf-mile from home. "We look out the window, and if the oceanlooks good, we walk over and head out," says Rich. Santa CatalinaIsland lies a 90-minute cruise away, and the Kahns occasionallytake the water route to visit friends up and down the coast. Forlonger trips, Los Angeles International Airport is only eightminutes to the south. "If guests are flying in," Rich says, "wejust tell them to call when they arrive."

Azzurra's amenities helped make the choice to buy an easy one.The pool, recently expanded health club, rooftop barbecue grills,fireplaces, and spa tubs account for part of the complex's allure."It's more like a hotel than a condo," says Rich, commenting on theattentions of the Azzurra staff. "It's pretty rare to have to waitfor anything, even the elevators. If a package arrives when we'retraveling, they even send us an e-mail to let us know. And ourgrandkids are always welcome."

Marina Del Rey also constitutes a big part of the attraction. Asthe town's name implies, it's built around an extensive marina. Arecent spate of condominium building has transformed once-dingyindustrial areas, but according to the Kahns, future developmentwill be low-rise.

Jamee Kahn says that though she and Rich found Azzurra "more byaccident than design," their original rental option gave them aperspective that she recommends to potential condo buyers. "Duringthe year we rented, we learned a lot about the area," she recalls."We could make comparisons with other places we looked at, rightdown to differences in traffic time that only a few blocks'distance might make." Rich adds another bit of advice: "Aswonderful as a place like this is, you have to think in terms ofthe area, not just the building. I can't see the sense of finding areally nice home and not caring where it's at." For the Kahns,"where it's at" is definitely the 18th floor at Azzurra. "We don'tmiss having a 3,000-square-foot house," says Rich. "We're havingfun."