The LAT wrote last week about the scene that is developing around the lofts in the Industrial District, specifically focusing on the Barker Block, the Toy Factory Lofts and the Biscuit Company Lofts. For those unfamiliar with the area, it really is deep downtown, slightly southeast of Little Tokyo and adjacent to the Arts District. Unlike the area around the Disney Concert Hall or even Staples, it can feel awfully barren down here to the outsider…especially at night when the businesses close. But as the article points out, it’s becoming a brave outpost for all kinds of retail:
Sunset Plaza restaurant Caffe Primo is opening Primo Cucina, a gourmet restaurant and market that promises homemade pastas, gelato and a wood-burning oven for pizza. Organic coffee and tea company Urth Caffe is building a headquarters across from the Barker Block. The operation’s coffee roasting will move from Northern California; baking, tea-blending and administrative offices will relocate from other parts of downtown.
The move, admits Urth Caffe co-founder Shallom Berkman, is “risky.” But, he said, “We really wanted to be part of the rejuvenation process. . . . We love being part of grounded communities. And we jumped at the chance to develop a community from scratch.
The web portion of the article also included a nice photo collage.
There is a lot to love about the stylishness of these downtown lofts, and the feeling of really being in at the groundfloor of what may (or may not) be a great new community. But it really does take a certain kind of person to commit to living in what is still a remote area, despite the influx of retail. This isn’t the kind of neighborhood where you can pop out for milk at the Whole Foods. You might not be able to find even an open liquor store. But for you intrepid types, here are a few listings—this loft is one of 13 listings I found at the Toy Factory Lofts. It’s a short sale for $399,000. Higher up the food chain, this 2 bedroom space in the same building is billed as one of the best units, and is listed at $849,000. It’s only been on the market 5 days. Over at Barker Block, there is this unit for $386,000 that has been on the market a little over two weeks. And again on the other end of the spectrum, here is a top-end unit for $899,000. One of the big problems buying down here right now is the lack of comps. Prices have dropped dramatically in the past year, and there just aren’t many recent sales on the books.