The changing climate of Downtown Echo Park

2014 is a new year and a lot of changes along Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park. The most notable changes over the past couple of months - popular restaurants and retail businesses leaving, some of which have been around for decades. Restaurants like Barragan's, which opened in 1961 in that same spot, and, just down the road, 35-year old El Conquistador also just closed.

Some empty retail spots are finally getting some attention - a restaurant of some kind is going in to 1525 Sunset Boulevard near Laveta; it's been a few years since anything has happened there. And, despite the controversy surrounding its owners, Lassen's has started working on the former Save-a-Lot next to Walgreens on the corner of Sunset and Logan, which has been collecting dust for a couple of years now.

For those who welcome those changes, empty storefronts are never good for a neighborhood. But some neighbors aren't thrilled with the changes. Having been in Echo Park for over 30 years now, I can understand the sentimental connection for the history of the neighborhood - after all, it's home!

These are cyclical changes - sometimes painful, sometimes great. I remember going to El Studio 1 back in the day; when it closed down in the 1990s, the place just sat there for nearly 20 years. Before we knew it, it became a bustling craft beer restaurant by the name of Mohawk Bend. It's changed, but I'm glad it's no longer rotting away.

The foundation of the communities in and around Echo Park have and are still shifting; whether it be in real estate, in new restaurants, in the quality of life for our neighbors and our families. Despite the loss of many good things through these changes, as inventor Charles Kettering said, "You can't have a better tomorrow if you are thinking about yesterday all the time."


Northeast Los Angeles seeing a surge in trendy small-lot developments


An LA Times article published this week focuses on the surge of developers taking advantage of small lot ordinances by building trendy homes and condos in the hot areas of Northeast Los Angeles, particularly Silver Lake and Echo Park. These new builds are smaller, very rectangular, typically three levels, and are targeted toward the younger home buyers who want to live near cafes and other hot spots.

Quoting an LA architect, the article summarizes it well with: “It’s sort of the iPhone or Prius of homes.” It’s hip, it’s cool, it’s what is becoming available in these areas where options limited, from the more expensive traditional craftsman homes of Echo Park and Silver Lake areas to high rises of downtown.

There isn’t a lot of inventory in the area, but there is quite a bit of density already. Developers are building multiple units with small footprints and no yards (and in a lot of cases, no parking) on these small lots, fitting as little as seven units as in one case on Douglas Street in Echo Park, or 70 units slated for the Echo Park/Silver Lake border this year.

Some see these developments as a positive, providing more homes to accommodate the increase in population these neighborhoods are experiencing, and where there's little inventory to buy. Some are worried the lack of single family homes being built will forever change the hillsides and overall landscape of the neighborhood.

In the next year and a half, according to the article, there will be 250 small-lot homes in Northeast Los Angeles (a lot of those in Silver Lake and Echo Park) that may go for between $500,000 and $800,000 each.

When it comes to buying a home in Northeast Los Angeles, you need a great realtor to represent you. Call me today for more information on these new homes!