Echo Park residents organizing against new apartment building

echo park and avalon

ECHO PARK – About five years ago Echo Park residents were successful in helping block the construction of a four-story, townhouse development at the corner of Echo Park Avenue and Avalon Street. But now, it looks like a 35-foot-high apartment building is in the works for the same site, prompting some residents to oppose this project as well.

Building permits have been pulled to construct the seven-unit building on the site of a former gas station, according to the Building & Safety Department. The live-work units by Summerland Development Group LLC would be constructed on top of underground parking. “Interiors have a raw industrial finishes and fixtures, fitting for the hipster neighborhood of Echo Park and perfect for a live/work use,” says the website of the project manager.

But another website established by neighbors says the project is not fitting for hipsters or non-hipsters, saying the building is out of scale with the surrounding homes and apartments and does not provide off-street parking for visitors. While permits say the building will rise two stories above a garage, residents note that the units include a third, mezzanine level that boosts the structure’s height to 35 feet.

“As supporters of affordable housing, we understand the increased need for new spaces of living,” says the Avalon Echo Park website. “However, we really question the rate at which development is happening in our small neighborhood in Echo Park.”

Kevin Gray, who is involved with the group, said he wants residents to be aware of the project and contact Councilman Mitch O’Farrell to voice their concerns.

The previous proposal to build eight townhouses was abandoned after then Councilman Eric Garcetti said he preferred a smaller, less dense project on the site.


  1. Okay, I’m usually the last person to NIMBY more residential units in a popular neighborhood but that does seem a little much.

    Everyone should street view before posting.

  2. bathing at baxter

    Isn’t 35 ft less than four stories? It’s an empty lot on the avenue. Are apartments unreasonable? I’m close and it doesn’t frighten me.

  3. The terms “hipsters” and “affordable housing” are almost mutually exclusive.

  4. Its already way congested around here, dangerous turning from Avalon, ansolutely NO parking , and a big ugly greedy eyesore. On top of these horrid Blackbirds and a new apartment planned for Preston, this is way too much. Damn these developers to Hell.

  5. Isn’t the lot zoned IVL like most of Echo Park? That means someone can build “by right” up to 45 feet high. That means that a property owner can walk up to the counter at Building & Safety and get a permit. They don’t need the permission of any neighbor.

    Get involved in the Community Plan process next time around if you think 45′ is too tall. It’s about due for its 10ish year update.

    • bathing at baxter

      I they’re permitted to build to 45′ why are they limiting it to 35′? They could build another parking level. Highest and best use is being ignored it seems.

      • the lot is considered “hillside”, thus, limited to 36 ft…….they missed that detail first time round, hence the delay and “re-Plan check”


        • Wrong. Transitional height rule. Know what you’re talking about before posting. That goes for most people here. Like it or not, they’re following the rules.

    • The commercial zoning is outdated and needs to be revised. O’Farrells office just adjusted the height limits of buildings on Sunset and the Q Revision for Elysian limits the maximum build out of lots. Zoning is not infallible and needs to be constantly reconsidered in light of other factors including neighborhood context and impact on community. Within the same block is another development happening on Preston for a five unit subdivision.

  6. I want a pony!

  7. I live close to this lot and am part of the residents that are opposed to this project. It’s true we don’t have actual recourse to stop the project because the commercial zoning of the lot means anyone can buy the property and build out the absolute max without a need for a public hearing. However, we think there should be nuance to the increase in density and actual planning involved when you allow developers to build a big-box apartment in a single family neighborhood. Jeremy Paige does not care about this neighborhood – his company towed an THREE cars parked legally on our street because a semi needed to leave the lot. That’s how much he cares about the community.

  8. This development is not only out of scale, but also out of sync with the rest of the neighborhood. With all the bad things people are saying about Blackbird, at least they didn’t take the entire lot and build a massive warehouse on it. Summerland Development instead is clearly only thinking about the money here: their proposed plan deliberately neglects open spaces, aiming only to maximize square footage.

    • Small lot ordinance not looking so bad these days huh guys?

      • The Small Lot Ordinance is a technical term whose original intentions developers have figured out how to defeat. If you look at the pics of the project this same developer intended to build in 2011 through a Subdivision and compare it to the one he is trying to build now without a subdivision you will see little difference. Same density, same neglect for open spaces, same lack of care for a residential character. The only difference between the projects is one has collective parking with one consolidated entrance, the other one (2011) doesn’t. How can two different City Ordinances produce virtually the same project?

  9. People will never be happy unless they build a one single family authentic craftsman. Cmon developers should not be responsible for homeowners guest parking that’s ridiculous. This is an empty lot that they want to turn into a two story units. I’ve fought against several development but cmon. NIMBY in this area really have some nerve, how about a little compromise.

  10. LA needs housing. it is always the same people complaining about how the developers are destroying their neighborhood. “I can live here, but if you move here, you are destroying the neighborhood.” I hate NIMBYs.

    • Take a look at the pictures of the proposed project, Jim Jay. Does LA need housing that looks like is taken out of 80’s Miami Vice episodes? I will be happy to be called a nimby with projects this hideous. No one is opposing the land to be developed. Spend a few more bucks and hire a real architect (not a draftman that does exactly what the greedy developer wants) -It will be worth!

    • we focus too much on the supply side; how about we control the demand side?

  11. Do 7 unit apartment buildings normally provide off street parking for visitors?

  12. Echo Park Gringo.

    Its terrible that these new buildings and tenants will ruin the aesthetic of a neighborhood used to seeing broken down cars & vans parked in driveways, tarps pulled over the back gardens and dogs freely roaming the streets. How dare anyone change this way of life?

    • That’s right! No one ever thinks of the poor, homeless, yuppies that have such a hard time finding affordable places to live these days, man! Such a bummer these angry neighbors are so attached to their neighborhood and don’t embrace these cheap-looking, architecturally worthless condos!

    • AvalonEchoPark Residents

      The issue isn’t about “lifestyle” — as residents and a voting public, we are voicing our concern about the rapid FOR PROFIT development of our neighborhood, without consideration of its impact on the community or in conversation with residents. If you are monopolizing on the quality and care we have put into our district, then we as citizens have a right to make a call for action to limit these activities. Its also not about “broken down cars & vans parked in driveways, tarps pulled over the back gardens and dogs freely roaming the streets,” which are socioeconomic indicators of the demographics of this neighborhood.

  13. Just a few houses north of that site on the same side of the street, there’s a couple of apartment buildings, one of which appears to be about the height of this proposal. On the same street a couple of blocks south of this site there is the commercial brick complex that houses Yogla and Shire’s studios. Further down Echo is the Grafton building, and the other art deco apt complex..

    Echo Park Ave has a mix of commercial (restaurants, retail, services, working studios), educational (elementary school) & residential (single family, duplexes, four-plexes, townhomes & apartments) built anywhere from the 1920’s through today (in a variety of styles from Spanish to Craftsman to 60’s to industrial brick).

    If this was a 10 story tall glass wrapped apartment complex it would be completely out of character for the area, given that the proposed use of “industrial” materials, it’s height relative to other buildings mere yards away and that it is a work-live building it seems a perfectly reasonable addition with the mix that is there already.

    • The issue isn’t stylistic — as residents and a voting public, we are voicing our concern about the rapid FOR PROFIT development of our neighborhood, without consideration of its impact on the community or in conversation with residents. The property owner can build in any style they choose, but if you are monopolizing on the quality and care we have put into our district, then we as citizens have a right to make a call for action to limit these activities.

      • I hear you. Change is unsettling. But railing against “for profit” development and demanding “affordable” rents and open space at someone else’s by-right project will get you nowhere. Your cause, however heartfelt, will sound unreasonable to your elected representatives.

      • The whole “FOR PROFIT” rant is pointless. What developers don’t want to make money?

      • You’re profit argument is silly. Do you think the people who built your house or sold the land to the people who built the house or the realtor helped you find your house did so at cost? Would you be willing to sell your house today for the same price you paid for it or would you sell to the person willing to pay the highest amount (so that you would profit from it). EVERY HOUSE BUILT IN ECHO PARK WAS BUILT BY SOMEONE MAKING A PROFIT. Welcome to the economy.

      • Also @Neighbors, my post was less about the style of the proposed development and more about looking at the mix of building types that are on Echo Park Avenue already and that what is being proposed is in line with what is there. Echo Park Ave has such a wide range buildings and public features. I also forgot to include the Cathedral as well as Echo Park lake itself in my post. So a 7 unit 3 story live-work apt is not an anomaly on a street with a Cathedral, Lake, 4-story brick apartment complex, commercial buildings, single story single family homes, 2-story homes, 3-story townhomes, duplexes, a gas station, mid-century apartment buildings, restaurants,

  14. Looks nice!

    LA needs more housing — and Echo Park Avenue needs as much help / redevelopment as can be done.

    Or — do we all miss drive-by shootings and dilapidated homes / apts?

  15. Hi all –

    Before commenting on this project, please go to http://avalonechopark.tumblr.com to check out a rendering of what this development will look like in context of the neighborhood. It was an architect in the neighborhood that created this rendering, so it is more/less to scale. It’s one thing to look at the developer plans and hear about the project in the abstract, but it’s another to consider the impact of the construction in context to existing structures.

    Go take a look…

    • The pictures on that site leave out every other corner of the intersection and all other nearby structures, I suppose in order to make this development seem much scarier and larger than it actually is.

      • If you are interested in confirming that all of the adjacent corners also have single-story homes that would be dwarfed by the proposed project, just go to Google street view and plug in the address for the lot 1901 Echo Park Ave. 90026.

        We’re not trying to make the development seem “scarier and larger” than it is — the rendering at http://avalonechopark.tumblr.com is a fair representation, and the project would look just as out of place from all angles.

      • The picture shows the block of Avalon that is being developed, which comprises three houses (left) and the proposed 7 units. After that, the street begins. So I’m not sure to what extent it “leaves out every other corner of the intersection and all other nearby structures” unless you wanted a visualization of the streets? Regardless, the image of the apartment on the right is taken from the developers website, which literally shows NO surrounding context (http://www.urbanone.com/projects/multi-family/echo-park-apartment-project).

  16. Is anyone aware as to what exactly is being organized in opposition of this project? Is there a chance to participate?

  17. “As supporters of affordable housing, we understand the increased need for new spaces of living,” says the Avalon Echo Park website. “Just so long as it isn’t built anywhere near our neighborhood, mind you.”

  18. We support density, just… elsewhere, where people without the means to complain live…

  19. It’s not a shopping cart, gang banger or alcoholic pissing in the streets. Bring it on!

  20. holy shits. i am just finding out about this now, I live right there. That shit does not belong here, This shits not gonna stand.

  21. Yeah, I’ve seen the model. It’s fucking hideous. I’ve lived in this area for 10 years now and would just once like to see a building go up that didn’t look like it was used to conduct psychological experiments on rats.

  22. OMG! Those buildings are hideous. Where is my quality of live? I too have invested in Echo Park by buying a home years ago. No one I know can afford to live in Echo Park anymore, spare me the talk on supply demand yadayadayada.
    This neighborhood has a character to it. WHY the over development?

  23. I truely believe Ec h O Park has been over DEVELOPED! Why not take it further West Beverly Hills, Culver City, Belair since it’s so nice according to you. Those communities would kill you, so you come to a community where there’s a high consent ration of retired senior,disabled a community where it’s a known fact the Hispanic community is distrust in of Anglo for past transgressions like at Chavez Ravine. Yeah distroy the people who can least likely fight back. I’m disabled, own my home for the peace, where is my Quality of life? What makes your concerns , better than mine? Shame on you! I bought a lifestyle YOU ALL HAVE DISTROYED!

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