Two homes on the Peninsula. At right is a white three-story home with balcony; at left is a three-story home of a darker color.
Two newly built homes at Ocean Boulevard and Balboa Place are near twins at the same price and same layout. Photo courtesy Andy Dane Carter.

Two houses sit next to one another on an off-water corner of Ocean Boulevard and Balboa near the western end of the Peninsula. Pick one.

It’s a difficult decision. There’s little difference between the two. Both are 4-bed, 4.5-bath, 3,105 square feet, and they’re even identically priced at a not-insignificant cost of $3,788,888.

The one on Ocean is three stories with glimpses of Alamitos Bay to the north and of the Pacific Ocean to the south—not full-on views, but fairly sufficient; you would not be lying or even exaggerating to say that there are water views from either place, especially from their third-floor deck and patio, but the views don’t smack you in the face like the IMAX panorama you get from the houses along the sand.

A photo of the balcony of a beach house with two wooden deck chairs with blue and white cushions, In the near distance are three tall palm trees and beyond those is the Pacific Ocean and a large tanker.
From the balcony off the primary bedroom you get a view of the Pacific Ocean. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

And if you’re in the market for a brand-new home, these two are right off the lot, currently the only new builds in the city, according to listing agent Andy Dane Carter. That makes the houses turnkey-plus; you can even haggle with the stager to keep all or some of the furnishings. “Buy it furnished for a second home or a summer place and all you’ve gotta do is show up with a suitcase and a toothbrush,” says Carter.

To visit one of the homes, both built on the site of a former and long-vacant triplex, is pretty much to visit both. They’ve got great pedigree, designed by Long Beach luxury architect Steven Sennikoff and built by Esoteric Homes in Newport Beach.

They’ve got everything a high-dollar home on the Peninsula could want, except for jaw-dropping views. For a waterfront home on the peninsula, you can expect to pay an additional $1 million for a full-on view, especially on the Pacific side, so it’s difficult to say whether these homes are overpriced or if they’d go for upward of $5 million on the water. That’s a decision the buyer has to make. As one Realtor who deals in waterfront properties tells me, a house is worth whatever someone will pay for it.

While the homes’ floor plans are essentially identical, the overall vibe in design varies a bit, with the Balboa Place house having a bit more of a casual, beachy feel with lighter colors and fixtures, while the Ocean house has a more modern and formal appearance.

Few couples who look at the houses can agree which one they like more, says Carter. “There’s always one who likes the Balboa house and the other likes the Ocean house.”

Both homes start out with kitchens stocked with high-end appliances, including Bertazzoni refrigerators and six-burner stoves with double ovens and Sharp drawer microwaves. The open design has the kitchen wide open to an informal dining area.

A nicely appointed kitchen with dark-brown cabinets, hardwood floors and a marble-topped island.
The kitchen in the home on Ocean Boulevard. Photo by Thomas R. Cordova.

The second floor has three bedrooms, all ensuite with walk-in closets. The primary has a larger walk-in closet and floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open to a balcony.

There’s also a niche among the bedrooms and baths that is staged as a children’s play room in the Balboa house and as an office in the Ocean one.

The third floor is for entertainment with a family/theater room with a wet bar and a wide fold-out access to the patio deck with further partial views of the bay and the ocean over the rooftops and through Balboa Place.

Both homes have elevators, a selling point, says Carter, for people of all ages, especially the higher ones. “People can live here into their 100s, not having to climb the stairs.” It’s also an easier way for people of any age to transport food and party stuff from the ground floor to the top deck without squandering the calories to climb three floors of stairs.

The downside of spending $3.9 million for one of these houses is, again, the fact that they’re off water, but not far off. They’re located at a narrow point of the Peninsula where the beach feel is at its height and the sometimes overused phrase “steps to the beach” is real at this location, where it’s a breeze accessing either the ocean or the bay.

Tim Grobaty is a columnist and the Opinions Editor for the Long Beach Post. You can reach him at 562-714-2116, email [email protected], @grobaty on Twitter and Grobaty on Facebook.