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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A new vision for Alvarado & Sunset

If you are looking for a peaceful and tranquil place to live, then the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Alvarado Street in Echo Park is probably not the place for you. Developer Clyde Wood readily concedes that anyone seeking suburban peace and quiet should probably head for Calabasas and not the 20-unit apartment complex he is building steps away from the intersection. Still, who is going to pay $1,400 a month to live in a studio apartment near what one blogger described as "an intersection of drugs, homelessness, and 24-hour despair"?
Wood, one of the partners in Rock Ridge Investment Group, said that tenants interested in the yet-to-be-named project at 1030 Alvarado are not going to be afraid of urban living. The two-building complex, which is scheduled to open in the Spring of next year, is the first along Alvarado in Echo Park to take advantage of zoning laws that allow for bigger and more dense development that combine a mix of housing and commercial uses along busy streets. In this case, the Rock Ridge project includes ground floor stores under 20 apartments that can also be used as office or other types of commercial space.

"We wanted a more dense, more urban project," said Wood. "We think it's more appropriate for the site."

Wood assumes that many of the larger, two-story units - some measuring as much 2,000-square-feet - in the front building along Alvarado will be partly used as office space. The smaller studio apartments located in the back building away from traffic noise will be more conducive for residential living, he said.

Apartment rents have not been determined (the project website is still under construction). But Wood said monthly rents for the smaller, studio apartments - which measure about 500 square feet - should range from $1,200 to $1,400.

If the tenants need a break from the harsh surroundings, they can head for a rooftop deck with fire pit, barbecue and outdoor seating. It will be a safe place to view the intersection of despair - from a distance.

Top image from Rock Ridge Investment Group


  1. I commend the developer for trying to improve a bleak location. It will be interesting to watch the progress this spring.

    Don't you think the rendering should show the car wash next door? The noise level that comes from the blower to dry off the cars is louder than the Metro buses and angry drivers honking at people trying to make illegal lefts onto Sunset combined.

  2. I live just a few blocks from this one and I've been watching it go up. While I'm not generally a fan of big, new developments, this one seems a cut above the average monolith in terms of engineering and design and the construction crew has been doing a clean job putting it together. I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

  3. I live a few blocks away, and I'm excited about what's happening at this intersection. The car wash is under new management and recently got a facelift -- albeit minor. There's a great pizza joint, an all-hours burrito stand, and a super hip coffee shop within a block. And where there's an American Apparel nearby, you know gentrification is on the march. Let's go Echo Park! Onward and upward!

  4. I love this city intersection. It feels like a city and it has cool shops and restaurants already. I am sure people would love to live near a park, cafe and the best live music spot in the city. I think it will be great.

  5. $1200 to $1400 in rent to live in a studio next to that dumpy carwash? This is not 2007, people. I pay $1500 for a two-bedroom apartment half a mile away, with hardwood floors, a dining room, front porch, and breakfast nook, on a quiet street with plenty of parking. Someone's about to lose some money on their investment.

  6. intersection of despair? i walk through it every day and have never noticed it as such.

  7. whoever is calling this an intersection of despair is an idiot. There are so many great spots right here! And more to come i'm sure....city sip & elf are among my faves in the whole city, not to mention good shopping, great people in the hood. This isnt the suburbs people, its a CITY.

  8. I agree - $1400 for a studio in that area is a lot even with all those amenities. That said, I too commend the developer for trying something new in the area. Interested to see how it works out...

  9. I live just two blocks away from the 'intersection of despair', so let's cut the crap and admit that it's pretty skeevy. Yes, American Apparel is a plus (although the kiddie porn billboards take a few points off their score), and the nearby coffee shops are nice, but the intersection has the run down burrito stand/mini-mall, that ugly LA Popular store and graffiti all over the pizza joint. Then there's the ugliest, dirtiest car wash in L.A. Throw in 10 decibel noise from the aforementioned car wash, the bus and general traffic noise, and the hordes of homeless ... and it just feels like there's no hope for that intersection.

    I will SO be the first to admit I was wrong if it gentrifies - happily.