ECHO PARK — It does not look like it but some preliminary construction work has begun on the hillside site of 18 townhomes designed by noted L.A. architect Barbara Bestor, according to a spokeswoman for the project known as Blackbirds. An official ground breaking is scheduled for later this month but no word yet on when the small-lot development will be completed or what the price range will be.
Several bungalows were demolished last year on five lots off of Baxter Street and Vestal Avenue after the developer, Local Construct, won approval to build the homes over the opposition of neighboring residents. The property was purchased in 2012 for $1.725 million.
Bestor, who has designed several homes in the area, came up with design of pitched-roof homes in four different configurations. “The pitched roof lines are designed to mimic the surrounding neighborhood, and to create what architect Barbara Bestor has dubbed ‘stealth density,”‘ according to project marketing material.
Now, about that Woonerf. The homes will be clustered around a landscaped common area that will serve as open space but also provide parking and vehicle access in a layout inspired by the Dutch concept called Woonerf or “living street.” Blackbirds “takes the Dutch concept of the woonerf (or a living street where pedestrians and cyclists have priority over motorists) and re-focuses it through a Los Angeles-specific lens,” according to information provided the project spokeswoman.