Storefront Report: Echo Park minimall slowly returns to life

The walls of the Echo Park mini mall are still blackened from smoke and two shops remain boarded up. But this morning, James Park opened his family’s new coin laundry in corner shopping center at Echo Park Avenue and Montana Street that was heavily damaged by a fire last September. Park, who was preparing to open the Mega Laundrymat last summer when the early morning fire struck, said the blaze set him back at least two months. Some have said that demand for coin operated laundries has dropped as neighborhoods have gentrified and new homes and remodeled apartments include a washer and dryer. But, shortly after opening at 7 AM today, the machines were already spinning at Mega Laundry.

Park’s daughter, Leena, said Mega Laundry features about 75 new washers and dryers (as well as two video games and flat-screen TVs with the help of a bilingual – English and Spanish – attendant. If the laundry’s rust-colored walls and stainless steel machines look familiar, it’s because the same contractor was used to build a nearby laundry on Sunset Boulevard, said James Park, who was busy putting together laundry carts this morning (the two laundries are separately owned).

Two other mini mall tenants, a water store and Echo Park Donuts, are back in business. But there is no word as to when or if the dry cleaners and a Chinese restaurant will open.

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