Tenants of the Del Mor Apartments, a four-story brick building that is home to several popular Echo Park shops, are awaiting to hear what if any changes will take place as a Sherman Oaks real estate investment company prepares to buy the 1920s property.
M West Holdings is in the process of purchasing the building, which contains 44 apartments above 10 storefronts, from Positive Investments of Arcadia, said Matthew Ellis, senior vice president at M West. He declined to provide further details about the deal and whether it includes an adjacent parking lot and building that houses a pet supply store. That would give M West ownership of a block-long stretch of property that fronts Echo Park Avenue between Grafton and Delta avenues.
The Del Mor has served as symbol of the demographic and economic changes that have been underway in Echo Park. The building that once served as a backdrop for scenes from Mi Vida Loca, the 1990s film about Echo Park gang life, now is the place to buy organic produce, lattes, vintage clothing and facials.
Ellis said his company would provide more information about what it has planned for the Del Mor once a sale has been completed. M West, which owns properties in Los Angeles and New York, has purchased other large, old apartment buildings like the Del Mor, including the Guardian Arms, a 1928 Hollywood Boulevard property the company is in the process of restoring. “Our intent is to take it back to it’s former glory,” Ellis said of the Guardian Arms.
At the Del Mor, one of the questions that tenants are asking is what M West will do about rents. While the apartments are covered by the city’s rent control laws, those protections don’t apply to commercial tenants, many of whom operate without leases, said one business owner who wanted to remain anonymous. “Unfortunately more then half the [commercial] tenants are on month to month, so they have huge concerns, as they should.”
Real estate broker Ken Shapiro, whose Silverwood Properties firm has been a tenant at the Del Mor since 2006, said his Echo Park Avenue location has been ideal for his business. But he has no lease and is not certain what the new landlord has in mind. Shapiro, who met with Ellis, did not express any concerns about a change in ownership but also said “I hope they won’t take advantage of me.”