ECHO PARK — After the small, peach-colored duplex at 1936 Preston Avenue went up for sale last summer for $599,000, a buyer eventually emerged who paid $170,000 over the asking price. But the new owners had no intention of moving into the 1920s property. Instead, 4site Holdings, a Silver Lake-based developer, wants to demolish that duplex and building five townhomes on the same lot. Building the project, however, means that the tenants Jose and Ana Sanchez will have to to find another place to live after calling Preston Street home for more than 30 years, reports L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez.
4site, which plans to sell the new homes for $800,000, has offered relocation costs but the Sanchez family is challenging the offer. Lopez writes:
It’s not just their home that they’re losing, Rocio Sanchez said. Like a lot of other longtime residents, many of them Latino, they’re effectively being squeezed out of Echo Park, where apartments smaller than the home they live in are going for twice what they pay, and corner bodegas give way to $5 coffee shops.
Todd Wexman, chief principal of 4site, which is building a 49-unit apartment building on Temple Street, told The Times that the property is legally a single-family dwelling, which means he’s not required to pay relocation fees to the tenants.
His firm is seeking city permission to carve up the approximately 7,500-square-foot lot into five separate parcels under the small-lot development ordinance. In December, a permit was pulled to demolish the duplex but has not yet been granted, according to the Building & Safety Department website.
The Sanchez family, which has retained an attorney, says the most affordable, comparable home they could find was in Boyle Heights, where the landlord was asking $1,500-a-month – substantially higher than the $942-a-month they now pay on Preston.