A group of small bungalows on an Echo Park hillside above Sunset Boulevard were demolished this week after developer Planet Home Living won city approvals on three separate building sites. In addition to the Echo Park projects, the Orange County-based builder has also purchased a site in Eagle Rock, where it plans to built 15 homes as property prices spiral upward.
The Echo Park bungalows that were demolished were located on the northern end of Douglas Street on a lot where Planet Home plans to build seven houses under the city’s small-lot ordinance, which permits more intensive development of lots for single-family homes, which in this case will be built only several inches apart.
The demolition was not welcomed by some neighbors, including one who sent in the above photo of the demolition work in progress and faulted Councilman Eric Garcetti for failing “to help scotch this gigantic cinderblock, high-density project.”
Construction on the Douglas Street lot, however, won’t begin for many more months but the firm decided to demolish the existing, vacant and vandalized buildings, said Jennifer Chirco-Coker. “It’s a more secure site without the buildings there,” she said of the structures.
Meanwhile, the firm will focus its attention down the hill where grading will begin in a few weeks on a vacant lot at the corner of Douglas and Montana streets, where Planet Home plans to build 10 houses. There’s no firm date when construction will begin but the first units should be completed within nine months after construction starts, Chirco-Coker said. The firm plans to price the three-story homes in the $600,000 range.
Planet Home also recently received city approval to develop homes on an empty lot on Echo Park Avenue north of Scott Avenue. But any work on that project is about a year away, said Chirco-Coker
Planet Home and other builders have been busy in recent years searching for empty lots and urban development sites from Echo Park and Silver Lake to Eagle Rock and Glassell Park as they bet on the economy and real estate market to turn around. Those bets are appearing to pay off.
“We have definitely seen a push up [in prices] and it’s going to continue to push up,” said Planet Home co-owner Michael Marini.
Besides Echo Park, Marini said the firm continues to look for other nearby buildings sites. In fact, the firm is purchasing a property off Toland Way in Eagle Rock on the border with Glassell Park. Marini said the firm plans to build 15 homes at that site but did not have any further details.
* Correction: A previous version of the story said Planet Home was purchasing a property in Glassell Park. That’s wrong. The property is in Eagle Rock.