Echo Park - Back in 2007, a blogger at Curbed once called the corner of Alvarado and Sunset "an intersection of drugs, homelessness, and 24-hour despair."
But starting not long after that, one residential project after another has been been going up or planned along the Alvarado Street corridor. It's a mix of pricey market-rate loft-style apartments, housing for low-income renters and townhouses for sale.
Nearly 300 units of housing is currently being built or planned for a stretch of Alvarado between Montrose Street on the north and Temple Street on the south.
Just within the last year, plans have emerged for an 81-unit affordable housing complex at Alvarado and Kent, a 60-unit mixed-use building at 606 N. Alvarado, and a 12-unit apartment building along that same block, at 616 N.Alvarado St.
“The fact that Alvarado Street is a busy thoroughfare is exactly what makes it appealing to developers ,” said real estate agent Tracy Do, who has recently been handling sales for the six-unit, small-lot Alvarado Lofts on 912 N. Alvarado. "They get far less resistance from the City and from neighborhood groups when they focus their work on major thoroughfares.” [Publisher Note: Do has advertised Alvarado Lofts on The Eastsider]
In 2009, construction began for the first complex along Alvarado to take advantage of zoning laws allowing for bigger, denser mixes of housing and commercial uses. Press coverage and comments by developers were almost apologetic at the time:
But units for the Echo 1030 Live/Work Lofts started renting out somewhat briskly after it opened in 2010. A few years after as the economy recovered from the recession, developers filed plans with the city for new residential projects.
Now, city incentives to create more affordable housing along major bus and rail lines has made Alvarado even more desirable for developers.
For all that, though, this area isn’t for everyone - and has many challenges, including homeless encampments near the 101 Freeway, litter and roaring traffic.
But Do notes there is clearly demand for housing in Echo Park, - and not enough apartments, condos and small-lot homes to satisfy it.
"Alvarado still has a ways to go,” Do said, “but there is great potential there and I think that, long-term, a better and more user-friendly Alvarado Street will be great for Echo Park."
Home on Alvarado
A look at all the new residential development that has been built, under construction or planned for Alvarado Street through Echo Park.
1) The current generation of new construction on Alvarado started with the 20-unit Echo 1030 Live/Work Lofts, which started renting out somewhat briskly after it opened in 2010.
2) Planned Three-story apartment building with 27 units with rooftop deck and underground parking at 916 N. Alvarado.
3) Newly constructed six-unit small-lot home development at 912 N. Alvarado.
4) A 4-story, 60-unit mixed-use building has been proposed on a series of lots that extend south to the southbound 101 offramp, according to a filing with the Planning Department.
5) Construction is underway for a 34-unit apartment building over a parking garage. Four of the units will be reserved for very low income tenants.
6) An 81-unit affordable housing complex with social services would replace two single-story commercial buildings at Alvarado and Kent streets, under plans filed with the city. SRO Housing Corporation says the studio apartments in the Alvarado Kent Apartments are to come fully furnished and would be reserved for homeless people with mental illnesses and chronically homeless veterans as well as other low income tenants. The complex -- which, from the renderings, looks about six stories -- would include a community kitchen, community room and other amenities.
7) A 12-unit apartment building that would rise on the site of a one-story house that was demolished at 616 N.Alvarado St., according to city records. The new six-story building will include six live-work residences, six apartments, two retail units and automated parking, according to pending building permits.
8) A 5-story mixed-use apartment building with 73 units, 530-square-feet of commercial space, 86 pkg stalls, & 82 bike racks. Six of the housing units would be set aside for very low income tenants.