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Gentrification and the Laundromat in Los Angeles

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One laundromat in Echo Park is getting the boot for what will probably be fancier retailers

As of yesterday, the Lucy's laundromat near Sunset and Alvarado, in the heart of Echo Park, has ended its 17-year run, says KPCC, leaving to make way for a new, redesigned complex that's probably going to have much higher rents than the current tenants could afford. Most of the block is slated for a fancy makeover and will become Sunset+Mohawk, a gentrified complex more reflective of the increasingly high-end Echo Park of new.

But the loss of the laundromat hits the Echo Parkers who aren't buying that cute new flip hard. The flip-buyers and the people buying or renting in newer projects probably have access to a washer and dryer, probably right inside their apartment or new house.

KPCC cites a study that found that "coin-operated laundry businesses rely on lower-income customers, so demand lessens when there’s fewer of them around." So it makes sense that as Echo Park's rents rise and the median breezes by $800,000, the laundromat spaces would start disappearing.

USC professor Karen Tongson has studied gentrification in Los Angeles, and backs up the study's findings. "Chances are people are installing washer-dryers for newly renovated apartment buildings or newly-flipped single-family dwellings," she tells KPCC. There are at least three other laundromats operating in Echo Park—for now.