Deep Downtown Loft Living

industrial.jpg 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.

  • Tim Hebb


    The listing photos of the $399K short sale loft you linked to are the kind of thing that just bugs the holiness out of me. Of 15 pics, only four at most are of the loft interior. The rest are all exterior shots of the rooftop, the building, the skyline, etc. One shows a pool table in a room that may or may not be a common recreation area. Who in their right mind, spending that kind of money on a one plus one unit, is more interested in the lobby of the building where it’s located? Are they planning to spend 75% of the time at home outside their loft?

    To me, listing agents who downplay or withhold photos of a property’s interior are the equivalent of movie studios that won’t hold a critics’ screening before a new release: it’s a tacit admission that it’s a dog and a warning to stay away.

    Sorry – just a realtor rant that’s been building up, and this lent the perfect opportunity to vent it.

    - Tim

  • Anita

    Hi Tim – I couldn’t agree with you more – but it seems to be an incredibly common way of doing it with the downtown lofts. They just have a standard set of photos they use for all listings. You’re right – it doesn’t tell you much, you really have to go see the place, which can be a real waste of time sometimes….

  • Tracey-Los Angeles Real

    The Rise of Downtown—it keeps growing and growing–prices are good!!!!

  • Mark

    And thanks to Barker Block for giving us the square footage on the units they’ve listed in the MLS. Real helpful. (Not.)

  • Anita Chabria

    It is frustrating! When you’re dealing with direct sales from the developer, they really seem to hoard information to get you down there.