What to do if you are attracted the hip urban vibe of Silver Lake but can’t do without the convenience and safety of a suburban subdivision? Nearly 100 Silver Lake homeowners have found the answer behind the gates and guardhouse of Hathaway Hill Estates, Silver Lake’s gated community. Carved out of the former hilltop Garbutt-Hathaway estate during the 1980s, the community of chunky stucco homes and cul de sacs has been compared to “a little piece of Mission Viejo” and derided as bad urban planning. In a 1983 story, L.A. Times urban design critic Sam Hall Kaplan savaged Hathaway Hill Estates as “an abuse of almost every planning principal” and a development that “looks as if it has been lifted intact from an expensive Orange County subdivision and transplanted in error or jest on a prominent hill bordering the Echo Park and Silver Lake communities.”
Still, those big Hathaway Hill Estate homes – some with as many as five bedrooms and attached two-car garages- have their fans and command top prices. Last week, a four-bedroom, 3,000-square-foot home on Apex Avenue with two fireplaces and a pool on went on the market at $1.15 million. It won’t be confused with the sleek, mid-century homes Silver Lake is known for but it has other selling points, according to the listing:
Prestige, view, privacy and security in the heart of the city. Your family will love this home that’s tasteful and elegant in a gated community with 24 hours live security guard in Hathaway Hills Estates.
During the 1960s, developers had initially planned to build more than 2,500 apartments in 15-story towers on the 36 hilly acres. But after facing nearly 20 years of neighborhood opposition, a new team of developers scaled back the proposal, agreeing to build only 95 homes and were required to restore the Garbutt mansion, now the home to American Apparel founder Dov Charney.