Sunday, October 23, 2016

Storefront Report: Echo Park’s former El Batey market now renting at $6,000 a month

El Batey market pictured before it closed in early June.

ECHO PARK — How much can you rent a storefront for on Echo Park Avenue? At least one landlord is seeking $4 a square-foot – or $5,960 a month – for the former home of El Batey No. 2, the neighborhood market that  closed after 48 years in business in the face of a steep rent increase.

Located in a four-story brick building that is now called The Grafton Lofts, the 1,490-square-foot storefront and the four-story building is located “just minutes from grocery stores, luxury boutiques and premier restaurants,” according to a listing on LoopNet. Echo Park, meanwhile, is described as “an area where sophistication and creative inhabitants collide.”

In a press release issued after the store closed, an official for the landlord, MW Holdings said, that “we regret the loss of this historic local business, especially this great market.” Evelia Diaz, the 74-year-old shopkeeper who tended the store for nearly five decades, said the building owners did not want her to stay.  “We have not been treated with the respect we …deserve after being here all these years,” Diaz  told KPCC.  “I never wanted to leave. I wanted to die here.”

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  1. It’s all about greed. so sad.

  2. So sad. I know there wasn’t always a lot on the shelves in the last year or so, but I always loved chatting with her when I went in to pick up a few things 🙁

  3. I thought this would probably happen once the building changed hands; it’s sad to lose such a neighborhood fixture. $6,000 a month for a store front at that corner is crazy; are they hoping that the Gap wants to move in to Echo Park? There is very little parking, minimal foot traffic and only local Echo Park residents driving by on their way in or out of the neighborhood. I really don’t see how any business could survive very long when they have to pay that kind of rent.

    • I have no doubt, that something successful will be in that spot and fast. I’ve already heard rumors, and if right, people will be lining up, and rolling out the cash. Especially if there’s still a beer and wine permit for that spot.

      • The beer and wine permit left with Evalia. but now that her spot is gone, someone can apply for a new permit. I’ve heard those same ‘rumors’ too and i don’t think people will be lining up. The type of business that can go there is limited due to non-compete clauses in change’s lease. Also, there is NO parking in the area so the kind of business you are thinking of wouldn’t actually be that interested. M west want’s a focus on ’boutiques’ and ‘high end’ clothing. I think a wine store is possible, but I don’t see everyone ‘lining up’.

        • Sorry, that should read ‘The type of business that can go there is limited due to non-compete clauses in Chango’s lease.’ specifically, no one else that sells the type of prepared food they sell. Which means sandwiches 🙁

      • looks like the license expired way back. http://www.abc.ca.gov/datport/LQSData.asp?ID=19238971

        $4/sf/mo isn’t crazy, it’s where the market is. crazy would be not charging market rate.

        • $4 is in fact crazy. In the story about El Batey closing, there were examples of other stores for lease at much lower rates than $4/ sq ft. in Echo Park and Silver Lake

  4. Seems the landlord ensured that a lifelong locally embraced tenant resented them & any future tenants should distrust them— clearly they aren’t looking to establish a healthy business relationship with the community.
    Money has to be made, for certain, but there are much better ways of going about it that don’t include disrespecting locals.

    • A little perspective please. This was a convenience store, not a charity. There’s a lease that specifies a notification period. The landlord honored the lease terms.

      The store mainly sold alcohol, soda, cigs, candy, and lotto. Exactly how was that good for the community?

      • If you had ever been in that store you would understand. Or you could read the many articles and news items about evalia and her kindness.

      • Dave,

        Almost 50 years in this community – apparently there was a great deal of good.

  5. It’s is their right to charge whatever they want and it’s the right of the neighborhood to hate them.

    Having had a space for 6 years in the area I can tell you $4 sf is high for that spot. You still get space for less per sf on Sunset so not sure why anyone would be lining up for the high end of the market with lower foot traffic. It would be very difficult for any business to cover that cost. Would be store owners with a little money and a dream are the most susceptible prey and and landlords are perfectly willing to rent to and endless stream of naive business owners.

    The landlord can charge whatever they want and the community can NEVER go there. I will never shop there no matter what it is. Not solely because they want more for the rent and not solely because they kicked out a fantastic community member (albeit one who did not adapt.) but a combination of things that add up to a complete disregard for the community.

    • Mike, why punish a small business owner who in your words may be “naive”? The new tenant will have had no hand in what by all accounts was a legal handling of a lease on M West’s property. Why direct all of this anger at a new member of the community? Seems short sighted. Was Evelia valued and loved? Yes. Is she still? I assume. From what I remember she might still live in the neighborhood. It’s over, don’t hate on the new business.

      • Youre right I won’t punish them JUST because they are naive. But i will punish them for participating in a revolving cycle of failure designed by the landlord to make himself rich at the expense with no regard for the community. I do however think local shop owners and the community should warn potential renters of the reality of what they are getting into.

        • Again, why no do something proactive instead of reactive? Work with city government to prevent this sort of thing from happening. Help Evelia set up in another location. Go visit her. It seems this really is about HER and not the shop, right?

          • those are all perfectly good ideas. Unfortunately that doesn’t address the main source of the problem. There is a normalized Idea that everyone should try and get as much money for everything as possible without regard to how its affects the group as a whole. That idea actually creates poverty and encourages businesses that are out of sync with their communities (beyond what people will spend.) Business owners as well as landlords who participate in this cycle also have some responsibility imo. Reacting to a prior act is proactive if it affects future habits.

          • the poster named “mike” is telling it like it is. long-time residents of that corridor have seen it time and again since it began to be seen as er, hip, and greed set in with the landlords for those little storefronts. wide-eyed neewbie business owners–small designers, boutique foods, etc.—go in to those spaces, but they don’t stay long because the positioning is makes it unworkable to make the kind of dough you need to pay jacked-up rents. what those spaces are positioned for is sleepy, low-key, desultory traffic….at cheap rents. and that’s not gonna change. people won’t pull over there to buy because there’s no parking, and there’s just not enough people walking through to pay the jacked-up freight.

  6. Obviously they are getting that kind of rent, the store next door just rented…. it was available for several weeks, however.

  7. El batay would have had to sell loads of flamin red hot Cheetos to survive that rent

  8. Busta if you look closely that license that you say expired way back if for 1559 which is where chango is

  9. Olomo that space was empty for months and it rented for much cheaper that 4 dollars sq

  10. Previousechoparkstoreowner

    So sad at what echo park ave is now… I got forced
    out – landlord tripled my rent in 2 years… We had a
    great neighborhood vibe going… The street is so much emptier – the garden store is even gone…
    All my old clients tell me how much they miss my store on the street – breaks my heart! It was lovely while it lasted!

  11. So sad…we were forced out 10 years ago when the invasion was just beginning. My heart breaks each time I come to Echo Park and all the familiar family and small businesses that made Echo Park attractive to begin with have moved.

    • Invasion, huh? Please expound on that thought.

      • “Ace”, get over yourself. NObody cares that you’re not brown or whatever other deficiency you’re so damn insecure about.

        • Wrong again Proper Dic*head. I was wondering what type of invasion she was referring. Was it the British invasion? Invasion of the body snatchers? My question was simple. You inserted a racial bias there.

          In a lot of your posts you exclaim how your points are not about race. Yet, here is a perfect example of how your own bias rules your mind. Just like the closeted gay man being very homophobic. Check yourself man.

  12. M West is a horrendous landlord. They have been cited by the city’s attorney’s office for TENANT HARASSMENT and the city is now monitoring them closely for the next 12 months. Read the article here:

    Here is a short list of what they have done there:

    —Imposed unfair new house rules and unilaterally changed lease terms, including charging $250 for replacement keys, limiting hours of access to laundry facilities, and prohibiting storage of items on decks and patios
    — Intentionally made it more difficult to pay rent by discontinuing the practice of allowing tenants to pay rent onsite
    — Failed to oversee construction at the property, leading to parking, security and other problems for tenants
    —The list goes on and on…read the article (read the article)

    I think everyone in the community should boycott every business that considers moving onto the block. No retailer could sustain that kind of rent on this kind of block anyway so boycotting them from day 1 would help them to cut their losses sooner. At the same time, a boycott would teach M West that they need to tone the greed down just a bit.

    Its good to know that the city’s attorney’s office is keeping a close watch on them. But still, i know the axe is going to come down soon on all the long term tenants here at the Del Mor.

  13. I am just curious about why they renamed the building “Grafton Lofts”… Isn’t it a garden-variety 1920 apartment building with singles and 1BDR units? They would have to gut it to make any open spaces which would qualify as “loft.”

    Unless of course they just pulled up the carpet and painted the floors grey (Like the Rampart Arms)… and called it ‘Lofts.”

    I too was priced out many years ago, by a vindictive, unstable, trust-fund landlady who wanted to evict simply so she could sell the 2 houses on the property empty, rather than rented out. And she refused to pay the Bon-Voyage fee
    (that’s what I call the re-location fee) until her attorneys told her she had to.
    In the end, she got her realtor to convince the new buyer that the re-location fee for us was only $500!
    Those were awful days, up on Avon Street….

  14. It’s America, and if you run a business and don’t evolve with the times and the area you do your business in you’re gonna run over by the greed train at some point. We can argue the rights and wrongs of this for eternity, but what makes me sick is the way this amazing woman was shoved out without any chance to try to make it work. Thats what is so fucking bogus. Evelia should have done more because it is America and this is how it works here and I say this with peace and love, but those fucking owners need to eat piss sandwiches forever and ever amen. Im throwing eggs and dropping stink bombs 7tth grade style on those fucks if i get the chance, just saying.

  15. El Batey, and Evilia have been a cornerstone of Echo Park for almost 50 years.
    Predatory capitalism, with a touch of pretentious sophistication, is spreading like a virus in the neighborhoods.
    Those speaking in favor of this siezure suffer from the malady of, as they say, knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.

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