Echo Park developer preps for new housing; expands to Eagle Rock*

Douglas Street bungalows demolished to make way for new homes./Photo by Echo Park resident

Douglas Street homes/Planet Home Living

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.

Grading to begin soon on homes at Montana and Douglas/Planet Home Living.

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.


  1. Ugh, that’s ghastly. It’s tragic that those bungalows were let to fall into the shape they were in. But it’s equally tragic that they’re being replaced with that monstrosity.

  2. Silver Lake resident

    Holy crap, these are ugly. Whatever happened to building one house with a yard? Why does everything have to be packed into such tiny lots?

  3. Density people…its what the future is going to be like, no more single family homes. Look at China

    Thank your newly elected Mayor for this and Barlow Scheme

  4. What’s the site’s zoning?

  5. Smal lot sub-division. This is actually less buildings than that provision allows. The city surrendered their ability to control such developments a long time ago. I’ll leave you to guess who was behind getting this provision passed.
    In this case, 1 + 1 does equal 2

  6. Planet Home Living loves tearing down hillsides…..look at the crap at the Semi-Tropic Spiritualists Tract.

  7. I also need to point out that Planet Home Living has a history of NOT outreaching to neighbors.

    • Troy, I live a few doors south of that “crap at the (former) Semi-Tropical Spiritualists Tract”. In a “sponsored post” in these pages last week, Planet Home and Van Daele claimed to have neighborhood input in their development. A blatant lie. The other canard in their paid ad/posting asserted that “hundreds” of realtors and potential home-buyers had swarmed to the new home site since it was first open for business. Really? They must be arriving during the dead of night because I go by the site twice daily and have never seen more than a slim handful (five, tops) of vehicles in the parking lot. And almost all of the bright yellow signs pointing the way to “new hillside homes” on telephone poles on the southbound side of Riverside Drive have been vandalized and/or torn down, a hint of how welcome they are in our neighborhood. Who in their right mind would want to spend the minimum $699,000 to buy a cracker box in a decidedly working-class Echo Park neighborhood?

      • I hear you, Rodger. Now here’s the kicker: Planet Home Living/Van Daele Homes are not completed with the project. They are still 7 or 8 homes shy of 15. Can you imagine what it will look like? They boast about having backyards – hell, I’d like to know where. I was driving north on Glendale Boulevard yesterday morning and all I saw were those same damn yellow signs you mentioned. And did you get a load of that laughable yellow contraption floating in the air trying to entice a sucker (er, I mean prospective buyer?) Who wouldn’t want to spend a small fortune and live sooooo close to a busy freeway? This is an absolute joke. Now here’s a tidbit: Prior to Emerald Landscape Services (Anaheim, Ca.) cutting trees down on February 1st, 2012 (not January 31st, 2012), there was absolutely no prior posting of a tree removal permit. Emerald Landscape refused to show a permit to concerned residents/neighbors. LAPD was called and the landscape company was forced to “cough up” the permit. Board of Public Works temporarily halted the massacre and a few days later here comes Emerald Landscape Services cutting trees again. LAPD was called a second time and someone had to pay a fine.

  8. i moved to echo park 8 years ago, primarily to get away from this type of ugly housing. why do developers love to destroy historical neighborhoods? i’m usually not one to complain about progress, but why do they have to build such tacky looking homes? a classic craftsman or spanish style home can be built on the same lots, with the same square footage (yes, you’d still have to build up) and it wouldn’t look like crap. this style of home will be out of style in the next few years, and then we are left having to look at the mistake for the next 40 years. ugh!

  9. I had a feeling what these hideous things were going to look like before I clicked through… and yep, sure enough! Sp predictable and cookie-cutter.

    I can’t stand these small lot subdivisions in the first place (and wish they would go away) but I agree w/ Enrique, if they are going to build them why can’t they try to recreate a style more in sync with the historic homes in the neighborhoods they invade?

  10. Are the developers going to just keep moving East until they hit Brooklyn and we are all joined together in a united nation of expensive boutiques and silver box condos?

  11. The Douglas and Montana ones might be reasonable – they’re just a block from Sunset Blvd, so the people won’t have to drive for every trip out of the house. But the one up on Echo Park Ave, and the previous one up by the freeway interchange, are really in locations that can’t support density. We need density, but it only makes sense in the right places.

  12. How can anyone from Orange county, know what is good for Echo Park. Crap Move city of LA>……..

    • This should raise your blood pressure, Joe G. CD 13 advised Planet Home Living it would be in their best interest to meet with concerned residents/neighbors/friends of the Semi-Tropic Spiritualists Tract. A September 2011 date was selected and an impressive gathering met at Taix Restaurant. I chose to sit in the back of the room in case I had to make a hasty exit (there were some pissed off people.) Planet Home Living’s Steve Marini (mentioned in this article) and David French were present. Now, I would liken David French to Ichabod Crane in structure. Many of us would agree Ichabod is a likeable character, I personally can not say the same of Mr. French. After brief introductions were made, David French of Planet Home Living took command of the presentation and stated, “We’re here to educate you.”

  13. yup, looks real cool, just like Orange county.

  14. Roar, lt looks like a Tyrannosaurus Rex is about to rip the top of the roof with its teeth

  15. Pretty soon LA will be like NY everywhere you go it will be packed with people. people on top of people soon there will be no where else to go build but up like a high rise building

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