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Friday, July 25, 2014

A tale of two Echo Park developments

Renderings of Sunset Flats (left) and Avalon Street houses (right).

There is real estate development news this week from two corners of Echo Park. First, residents living near Echo Park Avenue and Avalon Street may have noticed that a new business – Mi Alma – is setting up shop on the empty lot where a developer wanted to build eight skinny homes (pictured top right), each less than 20-feet wide.  The owner of Mi Alma (more on him in an upcoming story) said he has a short-term lease on the property, which includes a small building at the back of the lot, and plans to sell items for the home and garden. What happened to the planned houses?  “I have dropped plans to subdivide the land,” said property owner Jeremy Paige via email. “Mi Alma  is a great fit.”

Paige had no further details. But many of the neighbors who had opposed Paige’s plan to carve up the lot for eight homes were pleased with the news but were a bit wary about Paige’s long term plans. Residents and city officials have noted in that Paige can build a large apartment building on the site without any special approval. “If their lease is short term, we  hope the business is successful so it can stay long term,” said resident Kevin Gray.

Echo Park homeowner Marcia Schmitz said:

I love the new business that’s moved in to the Avalon corner lot; having a creative entrepreneurial business is a wonderful asset to the community. It would be a shame if the developer is only allowing a short lease for the purpose of regrouping to launch another inappropriately-scaled project for the neighborhood …  The property is now serving its intended function: to provide a small business amenity to the community. I hope it stays that way and is allowed to flourish.

Meanwhile, on the western edge of Echo Park, many of the neighbors living near the proposed 62-unit Sunset Flats project on Sunset Boulevard near Mohawk Street will be focused on Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting.  The property owners are appearing before the commission for the second time after some of the commissioners expressed concern about the size of the housing development during a meeting last month.  Commissioners postponed a vote on the project, which has faced opposition from many neighbors, to give the architect and developer more time to address concerns about the size, height and density.

The Planning Commission meeting is scheduled to begin at 8:30  a.m. on Thursday at City Hall. Click here to review and download an  agenda in PDF format.

3 comments

  1. I have lived in the eastside for a decade and I almost moved recently to the second property development location on Sunset and Mohawk.
    When we went looked at the weird old crazy cool house up the stairs across from K-9 store the guy said….”Oh it will be condos in a year or so but you can rent it for at least a year, no worries man!” I was like, “Why the f**K would I live in house you are planning on demolishing in a year or so? Do I look stupid?”
    They are morons who run this second development. There’s no parking for so many units and they will uproot many multigenerational families from the back units.
    Lame. The Eastside is supposed to be about having your own patch of green. This isn’t NYC, but these transplants love these new ugly developments. The very core of the architecture and culture of the East Side is being lost in ugly Brentwood style condos. If I wanted to live in a place that was covered in overdeveloped overpriced condos/lofts I’d move to Brooklyn NY.

  2. Echo Park could use a bit more density, but these buildings look out of place. Why reinvent the wheel, just build a lot-line 3-story brick building with ground-level retail (i.e. Jensens Rec Center, the Chango Building, et al.) and it should satisfy retro grouches AND the TOD crowd.

  3. Again, I want to clarify that Jeremy Paige did not “drop plans to subdivide” of his own will. He was disapproved by the city planning commission, hence the wariness of neighbors over his future plans. We are really rooting for Mi Alma to stick around.

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