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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Miami investors scoop up Echo Park bungalow property for development

A Miami-based real estate investment firm with projects in Boyle Heights and Silver Lake now plans to build 18 homes on the Morton Village property in Echo Park. Fifteen Group said it has purchased the nearly one-acre property at 1641 Morton Avenue and plans to start construction next spring on 18 homes under the city’s small lot ordinance. The property, which currently includes four, nearly century-old bungalows, was listed at an asking price of $1.6 million, according to sales material. In addition, the sales material said plans call for the renovation of the existing four bungalows.

The investment firm issued a brief statement about the property purchase:

Fifteen Group has acquired the Morton Village development site on Morton Avenue in Echo Park, and will be moving forward with the 18-unit residential project already approved for the site. Fifteen Group is looking forward to working with the community as the project advances. Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2012.

15 Group is the same company that recently acquired the former Coffee Table property in Silver Lake, where landowners are entitled to build about 60 units of housing. The firm is also seeking to redevelop the sprawling Wyvernwood apartment complex in Boyle Heights, a project that has met with stiff opposition from tenants and preservation groups.



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  1. Isn’t this the same property that was owned by a Ucla professor who evicted all his section-8 tenants because he wanted to increase his rents?

  2. Blech. Ease up on the condos, people. It is possible to gentrify without ruining the character of a neighborhood.

  3. Even worse than the condos are THIS project: the small lot subdivision. These incredibly narrow things are just 3- or 4-story tall trailers! They should not be allowed to be mixed with more standard housing, like single family houses or even normal size condos.

    As trailers are relegated to their own zone in trailer parks, these horribly undersized things should be relegated to their own zone in their own “parks.”

    As they proliferate, they only ruin a neighborhood. And they will proliferate, as why would any developer out to make money want to build fewer units on the property than he can — which is why nearly all the development you hear of going in now are these small-lot subdivisions! If something isn’t done to stop this fast, it will be too late for the neighborhood! Where is Garcetti when you need him?! Oh, yea, he moved out of the neighborhood.

    These things are way too small and do NOT attract longtime residents who care about the neighborhood. They are so narrow and yet tall as to be ugly as sin, not to mention cramped as hell. They serve only to overcrowd and overpack. They are a serious downgrading of lifestyle and neighborhood. They do not belong mixed into a more standard sized neighborhood.

  4. Ok, 18 units on Morton and who knows how many right around the corner on Echo Park. Say hello to nothing but construction noise and complete lack of parking especially when the projects are complete. I suggest that everybody living in the area paying rent reduce their monthly payment by 50% for the trouble. Just simply pay half and send a clear message to all that you have decided to issue yourself a bailout, with penalties attached. The area is way overpriced.

  5. @Alex: You literally cut & paste the same stuff each time an article appears regarding small lot subdivision projects.

    It’s true that the zoning really constrains what you can do with the structures. That said, they are not that small (often 1,800 sq. ft., or about 1,000 sq. ft. larger than typical Echo Park 2/1 bungalows). And there is DEFINITELY a market for them, if they’re priced right.

    The fact is that land in Echo Park is very expensive. If you’re a home-owner, and all you care about is yourself, that’s great. But if you want to see the city add single family housing (to keep the price reasonable) in a sustainable way, then you have to be open to strategies that create houses on small lots. There’s no other way!

  6. 60 UNITS at the Coffee Table?! How can we stop that?!!!!

  7. Has anyone else noticed the trend toward out-of-area, out-of-state developers coming into our area? It’s always a bad sign when the local developers aren’t buying. Expect more failed development when the out-of staters realize the market was not as strong as they got duped into thinking.

  8. @Diane E: I was just about to ask about the out-of-towners. Special tax breaks?

  9. Small lot zoning is for maximizing profit, not for blessing the market with affordable single family homes. A small group blocked the small lot condo attempts at Avalon and EP. The city agreed that it did not fit the character of the neighborhood. Be active if you wish, there is a precedent in favor of blocking the small lot plan.

  10. Fifteen Group is a disaster waiting to happen. A connected millionaire (Fink) who is willing to destroy neighborhoods for profit. Yuck!

  11. The Small Lot Subdivision ordinance allows condo-type units that are technically single-family homes and thus don’t come with the high construction insurance costs that condos do, so they are cheaper to build and thus theoretically cheaper to sell.

    If people don’t want to buy and live in these types of developments, there’s no way anyone’s profits will be maximized. If they are priced too high for their small size and condo-like nature, people won’t buy. However, the fact of the matter is that, as Moses said, there IS a market for them, in Echo Park and elsewhere.

    Think of all our charming, historic bungalow courts that people love to live in (once they are fixed up, at least). Those could never be built under current zoning — EXCEPT under a small lot subdivision. What Alex campaigns against ought to be poor, context-insensitive design (of which there are many examples among Echo Park’s single family homes), not the ordinance itself. Echo Park already is, and long has been, a dense urban neighborhood.

  12. i am all for this , and i live right up the street. the fact that they are going to fix up the four street fronting bungalows makes me think that the development will hopefully include homes that fit with that look. they could have knocked them down , which would have really been terrible for the neighborhood . some of the new homes are replacing ones that were torn down on that property just a few years ago . it’s been awful walking past that lot and seeing it become overgrown and full of trash. EP if full of areas with small, tightly packed homes. i’m sure the homes will include at least one parking space per unit , and we could always get people to petition for permit parking along morton and echo park blvd. as for the condos around the corner, i would have rather seen a park or garden . but ,after sitting as is for the last few years, i would rather just see that development finished. the fewer abandoned houses and unfinished construction sites the better.

  13. Years ago I saw the design and they will look this bad:
    http://g.co/maps/74hju

  14. Whenever I travel abroad to old-world cities, I’m always struck at how dense the housing is. I think here in Los Angeles, it’s just a question of time until our ‘massive suburb’ becomes a ‘real city’. It seems every small structure torn down is replaced by something many times more dense. I think it’s a reality because nobody is really talking about POPULATION CONTROL, and the world is just getting more and more populated… and more people want to live in cities. Rather than complain about housing density, why not put energy into promoting POPULATION REDUCTION, and get to the root of the problem, people?

  15. Its nice that the property will get taken care of, less run down abandoned properties is a good thing to me.

  16. I agree with Komori, if developers would just propose dense housing and mixed use that resembles and/or meshes well with the existing neighborhood, rather than fugly box condos and stucco fortresses, they’d face far less opposition from the neighbors… Density is just poorly executed in this city.

  17. I’m intrigued by Diane E’s comments. I’m assuming she’s the Red Car Blog lady, and I must say, when it comes to the history and wildlife of this area, she is the expert. But when it comes to development, she is very uninformed and loves to make comments about “failed development” but again, she is so, um, well she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Let’s talk about the ‘out of staters’ comments….DR Horton bought the Chicken Ranch/Smurf Village property. While Horton is based out of Texas, their staff in their regional office in Woodland Hills is working on this site, and they know the area VERY WELL as far as rents, comps, etc. Same goes for 15Group, yes, their main office is in Florida, but their local office is in the Hollywood area, and the folks in that office are the ones who underwrote and closed this deal. Now let’s talk about the 15 lot subdivision on Allesandro…those developers, Planet Home, are based Irvine which is 30-40 minutes away when there is no traffic. When Diane comments that there are no ‘local developers’ buying, well it’s not that cut and dried. First of all, most of the smaller boutique developers who are more architecturally/design-orientated are in fact doing projects…Green City has Edgecliff Townhomess in Silver Lake….Heyday has a new project in Silverlake…Ecocentric has a project in Silver Lake. The reason why the aforementioned local developers are not doing big deals that get a lot of press or acknowledgement is because those local, smaller developers do not the have the horsepower that it takes to do these larger deals…the land owners want the highest amount possible for their land, and publicly-traded companies like DR Horton are able to pay more for them, because their capital is much cheaper. And as far as what Diane likes to call ‘failed developments’ on her blog…land that hasn’t been developed yet, well those are all stalled for the same reason i haven’t replaced my tattered Burberry wallet that i bought four years ago…the economy took a dive. Those sites each have land owners that have very different personalities and each site has a different ‘story’ . It would make sense to says something is a ‘failed development’ if product is built and it does not sell well. However, land that has not been developed is not failed, it’s just a matter of the owner deciding they want to undertake the entitlement process, and/or sell to someone else, and if so, at a reasonable price that is down-to-earth. While I respect and understand that renters and homeowners in the area want to have some greenspace (I guess the 500 acre Elysian park area isn’t enough) it seems funny that they think all of Echo Park should be this bucolic nature preserve, when it’s 5 minutes from downtown LA and our population is exploding per the latest census. The Housing Demand is there…there are no empty projects…even the ugly ones like Quintero Townhomes are fully leased out at about 2 bucks a foot, and Sunset 5, while ill-conceived in it’s location on Sunset Blvd, is fully leased out as well.

  18. Haha more proof of our corrupt city council bowing to any dev. deal, no concept of city planning or a thought to our city’s welfare these guys are a joke!

  19. @ Insight .
    You are the one who is misinformed your a font of inept purulence why not read a few books I suggest city of quarts for one!

  20. I do enjoy reading comments written by pr people, they always stand out like a sore thumb. Plain and simple nobody in their right mind should support this property being overdevoped. Nobody. I hope these people with their “stack em and pack em” housing designs loose their shirt on all their poorly thought out toxic material made p.o.s developements.

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