Eastside building boom

construction collage

Construction crews have busy in nearly every section of the Eastside, building new townhomes in Echo Park and Silver Lake, apartments in Glassell Park, medical facilities in Boyle Heights and traditional single-family homes in El Sereno. But how much is being built and where? The Eastsider dipped into the city’s Open Data website and reviewed the Department of Building & Safety permits issued during 2015 for new buildings across the Eastside (unincorporated East L.A. is not included). The vast majority of those new building permits were for housing: 844 apartments, condos, duplexes, single-family homes and townhomes, based on preliminary figures. That’s up more than 90% from the previous year.

While the city may issue building permits, some of the structures will not get built and will not break ground for a while. But, in general, builders don’t go to the trouble and expense of getting the permits if they are not preparing to start construction soon. Also, keep in mind that the construction that took place last year may have been covered by a permit issued in a previous year, so it may not be reflected in the 2015 results.

Here’s are some of the things we found based on last year’s permits:

  • The Top Three: The three biggest and costliest projects were in Boyle Heights, where permits were issued to build a $33 million, 187-unit apartment building and daycare center as well as an $18.76 million outpatient cancer treatment center at the USC Health Science Campus. In addition, a permit was issued by for an 80-unit, $12.4 million affordable housing project at First and Boyle streets.
  • Apartment Life: More than 500 apartment units were to be built under the permits across the Eastside.
  • Small-Lot Land: In Silver Lake and Echo Park, permits were pulled for more than 125 townhomes in small-lot and condominium projects.
  • Traditional: Builders in El Sereno favored single-family homes; permits were issued for more than a dozen single-family homes that were not part of a larger project
  • The Tallest: A seven-story cancer outpatient center in Boyle Heights.
  • Big Money: The total value of the new building permits issued in 2015 was more than $192 million.
  • It Adds Up: Since 2013, nearly 1,800 units of new housing were permitted.


  1. Building Boom.
    Soon to be followed by Traffic and Douchebag Boom.
    More buildings = more cars on streets -that aren’t gonna get any bigger.
    You like Santa Monica Westside Traffic? You’ll love the new Eastside!

    But wait, there’s more!
    More buildings = more yuppie hipster douchbags with exponential
    entitlement attitudes and angry poker faces. (and as Donald Trump would say,
    “and also, a few nice people.”)

    Thanks City Council & Greedy Real Estate Fungi !

    • What’s the alternative? Everything has to stay exactly the same as you want it, no new construction allowed and nobody allowed to move in? We are in a housing crisis and this is the second biggest city in the country. If you can’t handle more people living near you, you need to move to the suburbs. This is a city and cities grow.

    • Coincidentally, we’re building smarter than we have in almost 100 years where people have again become the focus instead of cars. For a few years, new construction will mean “new cars” but consider that we’re also building denser / mixed use which reduces the need for cars altogether. Instead of being forced to drive downtown for dining or work, we can instead walk or bike nearby.

      Traffic will continue to plague this city until we stop designing this city exclusively for cars. That’s already happening but life-long angelenos and car dependent residents are contesting and delaying the appropriate sort of growth this city desperately needs.

      • Talk to anybody under 40, we don’t care about cars and we want to walk and take public transit. Backwards thinking 20th century people did their best to turn what could have been a thriving metropolis in 2015 into a glorified suburb. We need to take drastic measures to bring LA in to the 21st century (and ironically, back to the very early 20th century before this obsession with cars) and that means making driving and parking expensive and undesirable so that people will demand public transit and walkable neighborhoods.

      • Are we building smarter? How smart do you think we are building?
        What percentage of the multifamily residential projects currently under planning or construction have purple pipe plumbed into and out of each unit?
        Its been almost a year since Gov. Brown declared his long-term drought initiative which includes a mandate for adopting grey water infrastructure
        Purple pipe allows for the use of non-potable water and for the diversion of greywater for reclamation and reuse. All new development permitting in Los Angeles should include a purple pipe requirement.
        How many of these new increased density projects include a dedicated cut-in to the property from the road to facilitate vehicle pick-up and drop-off of passengers?
        Residents who don’t own a personal vehicle will rely on Uber as well as the electric powered robot taxis of the near future to provide a portion of their commuter mobility.
        Building smarter doesn’t force passenger pick-up/drop-off to happen from a vehicle double-parked and blocking the flow of street traffic.

    • Also, it’s funny that you use Santa Monica as an example as their residents are notoriously anti-development.

    • I was recently at a neighborhood council meeting in which this very misguided attitude Chauncey echoes in his comment was on full display. It’s heart-breaking to see what our fair city could be… but the short-sighted views of some tirelessly challenge and degrade what could make our city wonderful . NIMBY attitudes only hold back progress and evolution. I understand that growing a city is never without its pains, but it is a future we must all embrace whole-heartedly. The less we are car-centric, the faster we will evolve as a metropolis and flourish.

      Fact is:
      Increase of smart/mindful housing = Density
      Density = Higher demand for public transit and commercial/community hubs
      Higher public transit/Community hubs = Decrease in demand/use of cars

      Here’s hoping to a smarter, bigger, and more beautiful Los Angeles~

      • To all of the Smart Growth/Density Disciples – I truly wish you were right,
        but you’re just drinking the real estate development koolaid. This building
        boom will mean near constant automobile gridlock on all main & surface streets.
        Smart Growth is a cancer that will destroy the liveability of the eastside.

        Here’s an academic peer reviewed article, from someone who has studied the issue and has the facts:

        If traffic is the problem, then smart growth is entirely the wrong solution. The notion that higher densities lead people to drive less appeals to planners who suffer from the design fallacy, yet there is no merit to this belief. In 1999, a U.S. Department of Transportation researcher reviewed numerous studies on the relationship between density and driving. He found that those who claimed that density reduced driving were “spurious” because they failed to account for differences in such factors as income and household size. When such factors are considered, changes in driving are significant only at very high densities. For example, one study found that increasing suburban densities (1,000 to 2,000 people per square mile) to 25,000 or more people per square mile would reduce driving by only 11 to 25 percent. Another found that increasing densities from 3,600 people per square mile (the average for U.S. urban areas in 1990) to 5,400 people per square mile would reduce driving by less than 3 percent.


        • That’s a funny assertion, that one academic article precedes 100 of years of planning in almost every major metropolises around the globe that would completely condradict the design fallacy of suburbia. I’ve had the great pleasure of living and studying cities and urbanity in many of the worlds metropolises, with the exception of Istanbul (a city of 14 million, 7 metro lines and the same area as LA) I’ve never once experienced gridlock like here in Los Angeles. It’s no coincidence that cities that prioritize humans are far more enchanting, welcoming and operate more efficiently than cities that prioritize vehicles.

        • I doubt this is a peer-reviewed article. It is rather thinly researched and argues a point but presents no new data. In fact, it reads like a position paper from a Cato Institute scholar. Which is what its author is (or was).

    • Couldn’t agree more!!
      Thank our (developer in disguise) lame mayor for lifting zoning regulations and opening the flood gates on crap construction. LA doesn’t have smart growth. Just greedy growth!
      The housing crises is a sham. There’s no crisis, the housing market has been hijacked by investors who would pave over there grandmothers grave for profits.
      And by the way, calling UBER for a ride to vegan yoga is not the same as walking!!

  2. LA’s current infrastructure and city services can NOT support the building boom!!! Fix it and build responsibly by improving communities not ruining them!

  3. On my street the map shows a new garage and the rebuild of a house – not new housing.

  4. LA City population has grown by roughly 34,000 a year since 2010… 844 new units is a drop in the bucket.

  5. Is it possible to determine addresses and dates for future demolitions from the Open Data website?
    I would like to make before and after photos of the current structures and their replacements.

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