Makeover in the works for Echo Park apartment building after $4.7 million sale

sunset apartment building in echo park

ECHO PARK —  One of the larger apartment buildings on Sunset Boulevard has been purchased for $4.7 million, with the new owner planning to renovate the 1920s-era structure.

The Real Deal Reports that Engine Real Estate, a brokerage and investment firm, plans renovations that will “make the property more attractive to commercial businesses and residential tenants,” according to company president David Walker.

The building, which is located at 1461 Sunset between the Short Stop bar and a United Oil gas station, includes 20 apartments and four ground-floor retail spaces. The demand for apartment properties remains strong, with this sale being completed in only 41 days and above the asking price of $4.6 million, said Nicole Apostolos of Keller Williams Commercial, which represented the seller and buyer.  There was a “whirlwind of activity,” she said

The sale could prompt another round of retail turnover on Sunset Boulevard since the building’s four retail tenants are on month-to-month leases at relatively low rents, Walker said.

Engine has recently purchased and renovated several older buildings in Echo Park and Highland Park.

In Echo Park, the company’s holdings include the 29-unit The Heights apartment building, which sold for more than $6.8 million last September.  The firm is also spearheading a renovation of the former Frank’s Camera building on Figueroa Street in Highland Park.

Screenshot 2015-12-10 at 3.10.51 PM

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  1. If you like traffic noise and loud ass rookie drinkers, these are the apartments for you!

  2. Corny tortillas

    Hopefully their renovation will reinstate those formerly beautiful arched (but currently bricked-in) windows…

    • Those may have been closed up for structural reasons.

      • Yes, my thought as well, but with the right engineering and enough steel and concrete (not cheap, I imagine) they could probably be opened up again. It would make a huge improvement to the building’s appearance.

  3. IheartEchoPark

    they seemed to have done a decent job renovating the apartments on Echo Park Ave, so perhaps this bodes well. It is great to see older and historic structures being cleaned up and brought back to life..

    • This company wasn’t actually involved in the rennovation of the apartments on Echo Park Avenue. They bought it very recently after those repairs were complete. I’ve read with some of their other properties they take empty units and split them to create an increased number of small units at crazy profits. Soooo… take that as you will, and decide whether that’s what we really need in the neighborhood.

    • they did nothing substantial at the echo park ave building. you can’t change some colors and throw a fresh coat onto a building then raise the rent by almost 50%. that’s not how it works. the sunset building is actually well maintained. I looked at a place there in the winter. only reason I passed was because the apt overlooked the gas station. otherwise the building doesn’t need a different color paint and increase in rent.

  4. Wait, article says: located between the Short Stop bar and a United Oil gas station. But UO gas station is on a corner. Not computing.

    • the article is correct. this building is between the united oil (to the west) and the short stop (to the east). check the map they linked to.

  5. And no mention of 20 units worth of households to be evicted from their lower-rent homes? Here again we have people in lower rent apartments being run out in favor of flipping the units to high prices.

    And those businesses, which, yes, certainly will either be flat out evicted or will be priced out of business. These smaller shops have spent years, and many of them decades, building and growing a clientele. When you run these shops out, as is being done to all of them in this area, you utterly ruin these people, they have now aged and cannot simply open in a new location somewhere else and start from zero again — it takes many years to build a new clientele. They are ruined permanently, and this action will leave them facing old age as destitute.

    And so many people here simply applaud this, cheer for more, are happy to see all these people ruined.

    • It’s very sad. Everything I’ve found in the news about this company and their purchases in Echo Park and Highland Park point to them taking over older buildings with the aim of profit profit profit. Now, I understand that you get into property management with the aim of increasing profits, but to buy up old buildings that are just fine to raise rents and displace people? That doesn’t seem ideal. Their website makes mention of them being in the business of”identifying, acquiring, renovating, activating, and operating creative office, retail and residential properties which are underutilized and trade at a discount to their intrinsic value. ”

      To me, this sounds like “buying buildings we can flip and raise rents on because: profit”.

      I also read an article on a Hollywood building they bought where their plans were to almost DOUBLE the number of units (with no new construction – so smaller spaces for all!) and, as it pointed out, raise rents.

      Take over abandoned buildings, build new ones, but please, for the love of god, stop taking perfectly working, functional, aesthetically charming, and otherwise nice buildings and turning them into a trendy, smaller version of themselves to fatten your wallets.

    • Corny tortillas

      First off, the residential tenants are protected by the rent control ordinance which means they leave only if they choose to. This means they can negotiate a substantial sometimes life changing amount to vacate (I know a tenant who negotiated over $100K to give up his unit. But there is no “forcing them out”.

      People need to understand that businesses are not exempt from extinction if they do not evolve with the times and changes happening around them.

      • I’ve been in buildings where the owners have made it a point to make things are uncomforable and frustrating as possible to attempt to force us out and garner the much higher rents they were charging for new rentals. There are also a number of ways landlords can force you into situations where you become a difficult client and they can attempt to build a case for eviction. Is it hard for them? Yes. But possible. And if you don’t know the law, or don’t know what is and is not allowed by them and speak up, you could very easily become victim.

        I also wonder about these astronomical rents being charged to businesses. It seems like there’s a fine fine line between evolving and being price gouged and forced out because you’re being asked an unreasonable rent amount. I don’t know that it’s always about keeping up with the times. If the times means you have to sell $100 handbags to make rent, then you create neighborhoods that are not enjoyable except by only the most elite. And you remove the community from these businesses. I think of El Conquistador (now Condor… or something) on Sunset in Silverlake. INCREDIBLY popular restaurant. Often I would be told the wait was 2+ hours. Around for 30 some odd years. New owner, and all of the sudden this restaurant couldn’t make rent. Even as packed as it was. And now? Now what’s being sold at the new establishment is twice as expensive. So, not only did you lose a local business, but you just made it so that a more elite section of your neighborhood can afford to frequent it.

        I found another article on this purchase here: http://therealdeal.com/la/2016/05/13/engine-buys-mixed-use-building-in-echo-park-for-4-7m/

        Comments from the owner of the company hint at them needing to do something about the older buildings in the neighborhood, and about how the month to month tenants aren’t paying enough. If that doesn’t illuminate their character, I don’t know what does.

      • Corny tortilla, its wise to know what you are talking about before you talk. No, residential tenants have zero protection against eviction for this. This is one of the “good cause” evictions — to take the rental unit off the rental market “permanently” (which means one year, because it is a maximum of misdemeanor prosecution), or because of renovations extensive enough to meet the criteria for eviction, which this is. Tenants have zero leverage to negotiate anything at all.

        So, ALL those tenants will be evicted post haste.

        As for your comment about the businesses, they are not foundering, they are not failing to attract customers, and they also are long established and profitable. “Evolving” with the times has nothing to do with rents being jacked up overnight by, as in many cases around here, from maybe $2,000 a month for a small space to $10,000. Gee, we’re even losing such necessities as the laundromats around here, and I don’t think the affluent hipsters here have evolved past doing their laundry. Frankly, your comment is simply blind and heartless.

    • And yet, you’re always the first one on this blog to oppose construction of new mixed-use, to address the growing demand for conventional urban housing/retail in Central LA. Go figure!

      • Yeah we could build attractive relatively affordable mixed use like this on the boulevards all day long – with the exact same number of parking spaces as this one – zero… It’s really a car parking crisis – and until the suburban parking minimums are reduced new housing is guaranteed to be unaffordable.

        • exactly, whether it’s traffic or parking requirements, our inability to separate from car oriented development is the root of the problem.

      • I have never once opposed mixed use. I have only opposed drastic overdevelopment for the location. Nonetheless, new construction will not prevent these people and people like them from being run out.

        • You must have a short memory. Just a couple weeks ago you opposed a mixed-use project on Echo Park Ave. that was literally the same height and massing as it’s neighbor (built before you or I wore even born, no doubt.)


          • I wish you would stop misquoting me and claiming I’ve said things I haven’t,as you have done too many times. As I said above, and in the link you provide, I never opposed mixed use. I opposed the overdevelopment. The fact that the overdevelopment includes mixed use is irrelevant, it wasn’t the point, you need to actually learn to read. If you’re going to respond at least have some idea what you are talking about and don’t make false accusations.

  6. breaking news: company wants to make profit. seriously? did you think they where philanthropists? did you think the seller of the building has been a not for profit? do you think the small business owner doesn’t want to make a profit? that’s how commerce works– you sell something for more than it cost you to make, otherwise you die.

  7. THIS is why it is so important that Hillary Clinton comes to her senses and steps down immediately so that Bernie Sanders can take the lead. Outside developers are coming into our neighborhoods, investing in buildings, disrupting the lives of locals, and it is the outside DEVELOPERS who are making the profit not the locals who might even be longterm renters who are being dislocated.

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