Construction coming soon on 18-home Echo Park project

Rendering of Blackbirds development./Bestor Archtiecture.

One of the empty homes on the Blackbird site.

A developer planning a housing project on an Echo Park hillside has applied for city permits to build 18 homes and demolish several existing buildings on the property.

The developer, Local Construct, applied for the permits this month after plans for its 18-home Blackbird project designed by architect Barbara Bestor were approved earlier this year by city planning authorities.  The project raised concern among many neighbors, who were seeking a small project to minimize the impact on traffic and street parking.

The Eastsider has contacted Local Construct for more details about construction activity but the Blackbird’s project website  said the demolition of several small and vacant homes is scheduled to begin this week and take 10 working days to complete. “We are underway,” said a company Facebook posting.

The 18 homes will be constructed on five lots near the  southeast corner of Baxter and Vestal Avenue  under the city’s the city’s small lot ordinance, which allows for more dense development on some building lots.

The property was purchased last fall from a family trust for $1.725 million. Some of the existing homes, including a few that are more than a century old,  have been fenced off and empty for years.


  1. I’m pretty sure only an old back house to a home that blew up in the 70s was empty, the rest were occupied.

    • there were at least 2 vacant, one being the back house you’re referring to and the other being the old red-tagged home 2nd from the end on preston The article says “some”… I guess technically accurate.

  2. Finally. That area has become a major problem for crime and gang activity since they made those homes vacant. Let’s get some yupsters up there asap.

  3. There goes the neighborhood.

    • That’s for sure. I love the spin they try to put on it. Just call it what it is. Stuffing as much as you can in a given space to make the most money. They have these all over Las Vegas. That says it all.

  4. I think a quick but significant correction is important here. This incorrectly article states that the small lot ordinance allows for more dense development. Actually, the ordinance only allows to build houses on lots that were already zoned for multi-family (condos or apartments) or commercial density.

  5. How can Blackbird dare call this dense development of multi-unit housing *sensitive*? Slumification is a far more accurate term, I think.

    • They are vacant, dilapidated homes now. In a year we’ll have renowned architect-designed homes in their places. Not sure how that is slumification. We’re not talking about high-rise density here, it’s only 18 homes. Also, the properties that are being demolished are not really salvageable, most have big time foundation and retaining wall issues. Almost all of them have no on-site parking, which was the one fact that swayed me in favor of this development, as the new development will indeed have on-site parking…

      i don’t work for nor am i affiliated in any way with this project. I’m just the neighborhood grumpy pants free-marketeer.

      • note to self: to properly gentrify, just purchase homes, evict residents. Wait for property to fall into disrepair and watch residents cheer your arrival while forggeting the whole mess was your fault in the first place.

  6. Some projects are an abomination to the community, such as those nasty condos adjacent to Chango. It boggles my mind that our neighborhood doesn’t have some kind of design review board to keep the ugly out. On the contrary, I see the Blackbird project as an opportunity for the neighborhood to evolve architecturally. Barbara Bestor is actually invested in making this area more beautiful. Clearly she will profit from her endeavor, but so should she. I’m personally grateful that somebody with an aesthetic sense will do something other than build cheap ass facades dotted by ultra low-budget windows. Yes, the Blackbird folks are developers, yes they will make money, but they have some taste and will probably do it better than many. If you don’t like how the neighborhood is changing you’re entitled to leave. There are plenty of wonderful places to live in Southern California. Nobody is going to keep prices from rising, we’re too close to the beach and downtown is only get fancier. I still find it silly and short-sighted that some folks bark no matter what. Consider first what else could take its place.

  7. True, but that statement is misleading. The underlying existing zoning would allow for same density of apartments or condos, which is true of any small lot project. The small lot ordinance only permits the construction of “fee-simple” homes, which otherwise require a min. of 5,000 sq ft lots. In other words, before the small lot ordinance developers would have built apartments or condos on these parcels.

  8. Not nearly as bad as the three story atrocities that are here or going up elsewhere. These are not high and the whole thing reminds me of the bungalow courts that are neighborhood fixtures. I’d prefer to see no more “small-lot” projects, but if any more are approved, they should be required to be at least as low to the ground as these are.

  9. THe biggest problem I foresee is that arci-tourists from all over the world will be crawling around,gawking at the place, taking pictures.

  10. Mitch O’Farrell had said during his campaign that he’d work to amend zoning regulations to fit “individual situations.” Although a very nice project, building 18 units to replace 5 on hilly narrow streets will directly affect traffic flow by creating more cars on the road. Existing zoning regs allow them to build that many. Hopefully there’ll be changes in zoning, but that would demand that residents who actually care do the grueling work of organizing to push change. How many really care? Or is it just too comfy to sit on one’s ass!? That’s the real question!

    • Preston is already feeling the weight of the newly rented out houses result no parking after 5:30 pm.. removal of handicapped parking.. maybe its time to sell..my echo park had changed

  11. while i am excited to have someone like barbara bestor designing housing in echo park, i have to say this drawing is misleading. where you see the people walking is actually a parking lot. nobody will be hanging out there. i know development is inevitable and i accept that. however don’t try to sell this as a pedestrian friendly development when you are basically doing the same thing the motel 6 does by putting the cars in the courtyard.

    this would be laughable in a place like amsterdam and shouldn’t be sold as any kind of smart pedestrian design.

    maybe they could do some street art stencils in the parking lot and get it in dwell but otherwise i don’t see much difference than the development next to chango ar the artis

  12. Let the Gentrification of this Neighborhood Begin. Its time to start kicking out the riff raft gangs and scum that plague this area and turn it into the nice Neighborhood it use to be many many decades ago.

    • No Sweetie, it’s not the “riff raft gangs and scum” to be kicked out. It’s the greedy scum developers that plague this area who have no concerns about traffic & safety – let alone community! BTW, the “nice neighborhood it use to be many many decades ago” enabled drivers to safely go through Landa to get to Allesandro, with no backups on any EP streets.

  13. if ur going to post mer at least leave a name.come out ur closet.. the real people won’t bite.

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