L.A.'s New Modern-Home Subdivision

L.A.'s Modern-Home SubdivisionRecalling the look of a British row house, The Mews in Los Angeles' Atwater Village is a new kind of urban subdivision. Unlike sprawling suburban subdivisions of earlier decades, these 23 individual contemporary-styled concrete-and-glass townhomes, from architects Corsini + Stark, are lined up in two parallel rows in the midst of one of L.A.'s older neighborhoods. The development was made possible by Los Angeles' 2004 small-lot subdivision ordinance, that allows builders to create denser, in-fill projects in areas zoned commercial or multi-family.
List prices at The Mews start at $599,000, for the 1,500 to 1,600 square foot, three bedroom, two-and-a-half bath homes, with attached two-car garage, and reach up to $669,000, which is above comparable prices within the surrounding area. This neighborhood, Northeast Los Angeles' Atwater Village, has a median price of $353/per square foot, per the Los Angeles Times and Data Quick. On a side street behind a sprawling shopping plaza that holds a Costco and a popular Korean church, the neighborhood is dotted with 1920s bungalows, some behind iron bars and gates, some restored and updated. While close-in to Griffith Park (Beacon peak is in view), the neighborhood is mixed with well kept and tidy homes sited next to shoddy, stuccoed multi-family units.

Clean lines define the Mews' boxy shape outside; inside, the townhomes are light filled from numerous clerestory windows and large sliding doors that lead to small courtyards. Green building attributes include solar power panels that provide up to 1,000 kilowatts of electricity, bamboo flooring and driveways that are paved with grasscrete that allows for rainwater to return to the ground rather than into storm drains. Over-sized windows provide cross-ventilation. Downstairs, polished concrete floors tie the indoors to the adjacent courtyards. The open floor plan is strictly a modernist touch. "People in Los Angeles love Mid-Century architectural features," explains Jerry Hoffman, director of sales for The Mews.

Compared to the dated, small bathrooms typically found in the area, The Mews' roomy, light-filled baths with sleek, slate floors, subway tiling, marble counter-tops and spa-style bathtubs, are enviable. As the homes are arranged side-by-side, there are no yards. Since they're not condominiums, the homes have no HOA fees.

A weekend open house brought out not only young couples but empty-nesters looking to downsize. Other small-lot projects like Auburn 7 in Silver Lake and Rock Row in Eagle Rock have done well, selling out quickly. Hoffman predicts phase one homes will be complete in 90 days and ready for occupancy and the entire project will be complete in four months.

Ready-or-not Atwater Village, the neighborhood is at the cutting edge of urban housing.
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