One of the last larg(ish) undeveloped parcels of land between Hollywood and Boyle Heights is listed for sale on LoopNet. The long and narrow Red Car Property, as it's called, runs along the former path of the Pacific Electric Railway, where it traveled between Downtown and the Valley from 1906 to 1955. The property, only 100 feet wide in some spots, is nestled in a secret corner of Silver Lake until it terminates at the ruins of the Red Car Viaduct footings by the intersection of Fletcher and Riverside Drives. The site has been on the market since late July under the custody of commercial broker The Hoffman Company, which calls the property "The Meadow" and pitches the 10.19 acre property's potential to hold up to 178 residential units. But what kind of development is even possible on such a unique property?
Locals would like to see the property preserved as open space--many residents of the neighborhood already use the property as a walking path. One of the leaders of the effort to preserve the property as park space is Diane Edwardson, who runs the Corralitas Red Car Property blog and has posted a detailed account of the Red Car Property's past flirtations with zoning changes and entitlements. According to Edwardson, the property is zoned for five lots at R2 (which allows duplexes and single-family residences, producing a number well short of 178).
Back in 1989, a developer won approval for a zoning change that would allow up to 40 units on the property, but that entitlement expired before construction began. Back in 2003, the current owner proposed a plan that would have built 75 units on the property, but that effort failed. Edwardson points to the property's long history of expired entitlements and zoning changes as evidence that the property is ill-suited for development: "On paper it looks doable ... but the details will do you in."
The broker for the property, Bryant Brislin, tells Curbed that despite the lack of entitlements, the property still attracts a lot of attention: "For the last two or three years, the owner has received a lot of unsolicited phone calls and inquiries." Brislin also says that the owner is flexible about what any potential buyer intends to do with the property, but he expects to receive a fair price, especially considering that undeveloped land of this size is such a rare commodity. Brislin has also alerted potential bidders that there are "people in the neighborhood that want it to be open space," and "it's anyone's game."
One party that is ready get back in the game is the office of Councilmember Eric Garcetti, who represents the area. Garcetti spokesperson Julie Wong says that Council District 13 staff has launched "a city process to assess the property of real estate" through the city's Department of General Services. The goal would be to gather funding, which can come from public, private, or non-profit sources, to place a competitive bid on the property in the hopes of preserving it as park space.
· The Meadow at Silverlake (aka the Red Car Property) [LoopNet]
· Development History [Corralitas Red Car Property]