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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Echo Park housing development to make room for commercial space and parking

Early rendering of Sunset And Everett Apartments /Aragon Properties

By Tony Cella

The Canadian developer seeking to build a large housing development on the site of an Echo Park hardware store has tweaked the design of the Sunset Boulevard project to include more commercial space and parking in response to feedback from residents.

Aragon Properties had initially proposed building 201 units of housing on a 2.5-acre site on Sunset Boulevard near Everett Street. After meeting with criticism from some residents over failing to include ground floor commercial space,  the company expanded the size of its project by adding more than 8,000-square feet of commercial space, 58 parking spaces and several housing units that can double as work spaces, said company’s  the director of planning and development, David Roppel.

The director said the additional parking and commercial space were added in response to community requests for a mixed use space, which would “animate” and “bring more uses” to Sunset Boulevard.

The company, which is in the processes of purchasing the property, had previously said the hilly site made it difficult to add commercial space.

Tony Cella is a freelance reporter who has covered crime and grime in Los Angeles, New York City and the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. Click here to contact Cella with questions, comments or concerns.

21 comments

  1. Great news, should really help the rejuvenation of lower Echo Park.

  2. Good news. That stretch could use a little life.

    Which reminds me – anyone know what’s going on with the Sunset Flats development that was planned for Sunset & Rosemont? I want to say it got approved by the city a couple of years ago… then nothing. Curious…

  3. The congestion, the congestion, good God won’t someone think of the congestion! That’s an obscene amount of people and cars to add to that area, considering the hundreds of units being built at Sunset and White Knoll. You can’t move an inch through there at rush hour or on Dodger game days, this is going to send things into the 7 circle of traffic hell.

    • Yeah… congestion if you’re driving. I walk and bike through there without any problems during dodger games. Maybe try either of those?

      • Silver Lake resident

        It’s really easy to point fingers and shame people for driving without knowing their reasons for driving in the first place, isn’t it?

        I work near LAX, so I drive down Sunset to get onto the 110 freeway. But I suppose you’d want me to walk all the way to my office (because there’s no public transit that goes there, since it’s an industrial area).

        • totally understandable. Unfortunate that you have to live so far away from work though. I just think it’s sad that the first thing out of every LA residents mouth is usually bitching and moaning related to cars. In most cities, people consider all of the alternatives.

  4. I also support development of this blighted area, but of course improving the traffic and public transportation infrastructure I am sure will not figure into it one tiny bit. I am discouraged. Yes this area needs improvement, no this area does not need its transportation needs ignored. If you want to see how well adding commercial space has worked, drive down the street and check out the first floor ghost town at the Orsini apartments at Figueroa and Cesar Chavez. The developers get some sort of tax break for adding first floor commercial space, but have absolutely no interest in actually developing it. Can’t you just wait till the Barlow Hospital development monstrosity in Elysian Park gets it permits rammed through?

    • Those retail spaces are empty because the owner of the property has long been against putting any retail in them. He’s kept rent per square foot obscenely high so that he doesn’t have to deal with tenants.

  5. Redevelopment == good
    Overdevelopment == bad

    • Silver Lake resident

      Yup. I’m still against this. Too many people crammed into such little space.

      Cut the amount of people expected to move into these overpriced monstrosities by half, and it will definitely lessen the impact of traffic and over population on this tiny strip of Sunset. Why do we need 201 units (that’ll probably hold an average of 2 people) with only 58 spaces to park? What’s wrong with 58 apartments?

      • There will be a total of 279 spaces. They added an additional 58. I’m so sorry a plan to add housing, retail and life to an ugly strip of sunset will add an extra 2 minutes to your commute as you speed past. Life must be so hard for you.

        • Two minutes extra from a single development is not the issue.. It’s all the “two minutes” from dozens of developments going in locally.
          If we had dense transit like Tokyo that could support a car-less lifestyle for most people, there wouldn’t be as much backlash. However, the reality is that most (if not all) of these new residents will own and use cars… Making traffic, congestion, pollution, parking just that much worse.

          • The reality is the landscape of LA is changing. I moved to echo park in part because it trimmed my work commute from 45-60 down to 15 minutes. The days of living 20 miles from our jobs are over. People talk about hipsters, but i thnk the biggest gentrifier of EP are people who want to be closer to work. I agree the city needs more transit options. But thts the city’s responsibility to develop. Echo pak needs a metro stop. Id take it downtown, to hollywood, etc. i think we will get one too. In about 30-40 years. Sigh.

      • When you want to borrow a million dollars from someone, you ask for two million. When they say “are you crazy?” you say “OK, I will give you a break, I’ll take a million.”

  6. Wow! It’s like the developer read the comment section of this blog the after the first mention of this development!

  7. Nice. A developer listening to community feedback. One thing that should be included is to make sure the retail doesn’t turn out like the Orsini down the street. Orsini is such a missed opportunity, they could have transformed that entire area and enlivened it with shops and restaurants but their fortress architecture created all these dead zones.. The developer should ensure they create viable marketetable retail and restaurant space and not just empty spots at street level the way Orsini did. I so hate their approach to development let’s not repeat it here.. with this and the renovation of the tower next door hopefully this will finally turnaround this rundown stretch of Sunset..

  8. @ Really : had to post down here.. ran out of reply space :)

    I’d tweak your statement and say it’s the city’s responsibility to plan and provide a pathway to *responsible* development. Increasing population density in an auto choked area without first improving transit infrastructure to accommodate the growth is *irresponsible* imho.

    Second, I agree it would be great if everyone lived near their work. You’re talking to a guy who lives four miles from work and bikes most days. However, the reality here is that people, on average, change jobs every five years. You may not be able to find your next job near your house. Moving every five years is not a good option for many… esp if you own a home, have children, etc. So, we must be prepared for people not living near their work, and not overdevelop (with respect to our transit infrastructure) such that it eff’s it up for everyone.

    • I agree with both your points. I work in entertainment so I know about changing jobsites. EP is fantastic because of it’s central location.

      I just feel that that you can always nitpick the flaws with any new development. Whenever you build more residences they will add people and some cars. thats just a given. It’s not a reason to not build especially in a city that has a housing shortage and is already a sprawl and too spread out. Density is what is needed to turn LA into a series of real walkable / bikable communities. There will be a lot of growing pains with transportation infrastructure, for sure. But denying everything won’t solve the problem, it will only make things worse. This is a reasonably sized complex that will brighten up a ugly stretch of a major boulevard. It’s an ugly blighted spot that sits between two vibrant communities. It’s exactly the place we should be building. I’m sorry if it makes a few people’s commutes worse, but they’re the ones choosing to drive past dodger stadium. That negative for commuters does not outweigh the positives for the area in adding housing and needed commercial space for small business.

      People on here have mentioned a sunset blvd streetcar, and that is something I’d love to see explored.

  9. why do they always have to make these new developments so ugly….

  10. I’m for responsible development and this is not. It’s too many units, out of scale for the area. It blocks the view of the dwellings behind. Not as bad as Orsini, but not appealing either. Yes retail but usable and not empty space. Not just convenience/franchise stores either. Should not get tax break unless they bring in retail that people want. This may be a run down area but it’s charming. Don’t let greedy developers have their way. We’ll have to live with this for a long time. Just because they’re in a hurry there’s no reason to rush. Take your time and check out all the details.

  11. These are the kind of apartments that look dated before they’re even finished. Yuck.

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