Millennial Kitchens are For Looking and Not Cooking

1920s Small Duplex Kitchen Hollywood

1920s Small Duplex Kitchen, Hollywood

Kitchens, even in apartments, were an important room in the old days.  Prior to the 1950s, apartments had large kitchen with space for a breakfast table (see above picture).

After 1940s and on, kitchen were relegated to galleys with maybe a pass thru eating bar.  But the kitchen was still large enough to prepare the Thanksgiving dinner (see pictures below).

1960 Galley Kitchen

1960 Galley Kitchen

 

1960s Apartment Kitchen With Pass Thru

1960s Apartment Kitchen With Pass Thru

Now developers are again shrinking the apartment kitchen further. Kitchens are are no longer hidden in a separate room or a galley but front and center in the great room.  Many millennials no longer cook meals but bring home takeout, throw something into the microwave or toaster over, or eat out.  The kitchen’s have been reduced to grand coffee bars.  Kitchens must look better than before.  Kitchen are showpieces with contemporary cabinets, quartz countertops, and stainless steel appliances (see pictures below).

 

2013 Renovated Kitchen of the Above 1920 Duplex Kitchen

2013 PMI/Adaptive Kitchen in the  1920 renovated Hollywood Duplex above

2014 Renovated Apartment Kitchen

2014 PMI/Adaptive Renovated Apartment Kitchen, Echo Park

2013-04-03 19.14.37Kitchen In New Stella Apartments, Marina Del Rey

New Icis Apartments Glendale

New Icis Apartments Glendale

New Eleve Lofts Glendale

New Eleve Lofts Glendale

Bellevue Lofts Echo Park

Bellevue Lofts Echo Park

New Wilshire Vermont Apartments, Koreatown

New Wilshire Vermont Apartments, Koreatown

Kitchen in the hallway at Luxe on 4th Street, Santa Monica

Kitchen in the hallway at Luxe on 4th Street, Santa Monica

 

7950 Sunset, West Hollywood

7950 Sunset, West Hollywood

Station House  San Francisco

Station House
San Francisco

Avalon Apartments, San Francisco

Avalon Apartments, San Francisco

Indie Rock Scene Helps Fuel Northeast Los Angeles Gentrification

la-rolling-stones-at-echoplex-20130427

Pundits have identified several precursors of gentrification.  One precursor is artists moving to a new neighborhood:  Soho, Venice, Chelsea.  In Northeast Los Angeles (Echo Park, Silver Lake, Highland  Park, and Eagle Rock), the rising indie music industry has helped fuel Northeast Los Angeles gentrification.  According to a Los Angeles Times article (Sunday, August 17, 2014, E5), the area in Northeast Los Angles is home to many of he city’s most successful independent labels. Combined, the area has become its own little epicenter, and one of  its strengths fuzzy, strange rock as delivered by indie  artists and bands.  According to the LA Times, a notable number have recently relocated from San Francisco.  “Everyone we know, pretty much,from San Francisco moved down here, said prolific rocker Ty Segall.  “People are moving down here because there’s a lot of stuff going on and its cheaper–a lot cheaper,” explained Segal of the migration.

Seven out of LA Weekly’s ten top rock clubs are located in Hollywood, Silver Lake, Echo Park, and Downtown. The remaining three are in West Hollywood. Even Sunset Strip’s rock clubs have noted a loss of business to Silver Lake’s emerging indie rock clubs. Young creatives now go east for a unique variety of night life not currently found elsewhere in Los Angeles.

Echo Park Rising is a indie music event in it’s 4th year that focuses on the music, creativity, diversity and small businesses of Echo Park http://epr.la/. There were multiple stages and activities throughout the weekend of August 15, 2014, located on the main routes of Sunset Blvd, Glendale Blvd, Alvarado Avenue and Echo Park Avenue and beyond  . Here are some pictures from the event.

At the Cafe Bookstore

At the Cafe Bookstore

Cafe at the Bookstoe

Cafe at the Bookstoe

Hanging Out

Hanging Out

Crowds in Front of a Club

Crowds in Front of a Club

Crowds Waiting to Get Into a Venue

Crowds Waiting to Get Into a Venue

A line in front of another Indie Rock Club

A line in front of another Indie Rock Club

New PMI Creative Multifamily Silver Lake Renovation Opens

We took a 1960’s apartment building and renovated it into a hip new apartment for Millennials with the assistance of Adaptive Realty .  The goal was to re-imagine this 1960 apartment building and convert it into a creative multifamily property for the gentrification occurring now in the south part of Silver Lake.

Before Exterior

Before Exterior

Before Exterior 2

Before Exterior 2

On the exterior, we added new paint, landscape, and fencing to create a new facade suggesting both a secure and new fun environment inside the gate.  One reads the horizontal natural wood siding as the telltale of a renovated northeast Los Angeles housing project.

After Exterior

After Exterior

More After Exterior

More After Exterior

Even More After Exterior

Even More After Exterior

Below is the interior courtyard before renovation.  The buildings formed a courtyard paved with asphalt.  The catwalks made the courtyard look like a prison yard.  The asphalt devoid of landscape gave the impression the courtyard was meant only for cars like a 1950s motel.

Before Interior Courtyard

Before Interior Courtyard

Before Interior Courtyard 2

Before Interior Courtyard 2

We fenced off the courtyard; added siding to the rails; privatized patios with wood horizontal  fencing; and installed new landscaping and hardscaping. We added tables and chairs to create  a social collaboration area. The new courtyard looks like an outdoor cafe

New Interior Courtyard

New Interior Courtyard

Part of the courtyard was fenced off to create private patios and create a cafe look into the public courtyard

Part of the courtyard was fenced off to create private patios and create a cafe look into the public courtyard

More Interior Courtyard

More Interior Courtyard

We  used the excess land to create some private patios the size of small backyards.

Private Backyard

Private Backyard

New Private Exterior Patio to Unit

New Private Exterior Patio to Unit

We even privatized the end portions of the catwalks to create private balconies:

Private Balconies

Private Balconies

The units were typical dingbat 1960 units with popcorn ceilings, carpet, laminate counter tops, and cheap kitchen cabinets. The kitchen was closed off from the living room with only a pass thru counter-top with  cabinets above.

Before Kitche

Before Kitchen

Before Living Room

Before Living Room

Before Interiors 3

Before Interiors 3

The 500 square foot one bedroom units now have quartz counter-tops, white thermafoil cabinets, designer stove hoods, eating bars and drywall ceilings. We combined the kitchen, living, and dining room into one  cafe style great room.   On the ground floor, large charcoal color slate floors distinguish the unit from just another typical apartment unit, while on the second floor ,sloped white wood ceilings contrasted with natural oak floors do the same cool trick.  In Silver Lake, young renters of the creative class yearn for something different than the.typical apartment.  Every unit has washer dryers, mini-splits for heating and cooling, and track lighting.

Ground Floor Unit with slate floors

Ground Floor Unit with slate floors

After Renovation Second Floor Unit with Wood ceilings and floors

After Renovation Second Floor Unit with Wood ceilings and floors

Another Second Floor Unit After Renovation

Another Second Floor Unit After Renovation

The bathrooms before renovation featured the traditional 1960 dingbat pink tub and home depot type apartment vanity.  We installed subway tiles as homage to the old and new contemporary vanities to blend in the new.

Before Bathroom

Before Bathroom

After Renovation Bathroom with subway tiles and new vanity

After Renovation Bathroom with subway tiles and new vanity

We even re-imagined the carports by privatizing them to allow for use either for parking or a private studio/workshop/storage.

Carports become partially enclosed to use for either parking or a workshop/studio

Carports become partially enclosed to use for either parking or a workshop/studio

New Gen Y Clusters in Los Angeles Neighborhoods

People like to live near people, business, lifestyles, amenities that fit their image and own lifestyle.  In other words, people like to live near people like themselves. Business like to locate near people who will use their services, and people like to live near businesses who services they use. As these people and businesses locate near each other–a cluster forms.  The more people and businesses, the stronger and more attractive the cluster.

Los Angeles is a large city of 4 million people.  It offers a host of options and many different neighborhood clusters.

Silver Lake and Echo Park offer a neighborhood where hipsters can cluster.  I don’t want to get into a discussion of what is a hipster.  You can read articles like this one to help:  http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jun/18/nation/la-na-nn-has-america-reached-peak-hipster-20120618 . 

Generally, Gen Ys who live in Silver Lake and Echo Park tend to be in the creative arts, like a certain form of Rock Music,wear unique clothing; enjoy small boutique shops over chains and vintage clothing over upscale designers; prefer some unique character to their housing; and  dig randomly meeting people they know while walking on the street or in cafes.  They may still like the beach but are not compelled to live near it (20 miles is close enough).  These northeasters do not mind the economic diversity still present within their neighborhood.

Westside Gen Ys tend to enjoy the safety, economic homogeneity, cleanliness,  and amenity rich characters of their neighborhoods.  The weather is cooler,and most everything they need to get to is a short commute. They don’t need their amenities in walking distance as long as it is a short drive with available parking. These west-siders enjoy the proximity to the beach and infinite choices in restaurants, bars, and shopping.

Hollywood offers an outrageous amount of bars and clubs and entertainment venues.  Downtown offers an urbane urban experience while still being able to get to other Los Angeles amenities by car (during non-rush hour). Downtown offers  the ability to rent or own a loft at a relatively more affordable price. Downtown has a diversity of clubs and appeals to the ecletic.

I apologize if I stereotyped or overly generalized these neighborhoods.  The purpose was to provide some  overview for why some Gen Ys may prefer one neighborhood over another in their housing choice.  Once started, these clusters are self aggrandizing.

Creative Multifamily

PMI, one of the pioneers of creative office, is now focusing its attention on “creative multifamily” properties.  This undertaking targets gentrifying urban areas, focusing on neighborhoods that are near public transit and local amenities (bars, restaurants, shopping, etc.).  By utilizing many of the architectural elements popular in our creative office product, PMI renovates obsolete properties into hip, modern apartments that appeal to Gen Y, knowledge workers, the creative class, and urbanites; hence, the “creative multifamily.”

lofts2The goals of creative multifamily renovation include:

  • Highlight structural building elements wherever possible.  This may involve any of the following: removing drywall ceilings and exposing the natural wood ceilings to achieve volume, restoring the original wood floors or removing carpet to polish concrete slabs, and cutting new windows and sliding doors.
  • Reconfigure and improve the floor plan, layout, and circulation to meet the needs and lifestyles of the Gen Y knowledge worker.  This reconfiguration may combine living, dining, and kitchen into one large room that encourages collaboration.  Kitchens are opened up and dining bars are employed to create a café atmosphere.  Bedrooms are enlarged to efficient sizes.  Interiors are made to feel modern while maintaining the architectural character of the original structure.
  • Create new, centrally located common area patios with tables, chairs, and barbeques in a hotel roof club atmosphere.  This recognizes the collaborative and social nature of the Gen Y knowledge worker.
  • Modernize the bathrooms with contemporary cabinets but maintain the tiles in character with the buildings.  Kitchens have contemporary cabinets and counters with new stainless steel appliances.
  • Recognize the new green initiatives by installing insulation, double pane windows, and skylights.
  • Create indoor/outdoor living by making private outdoor spaces accessed through large interior door openings.
  • Equip units with new HVAC split systems and a washing machine and dryer.

Like their desire for a different office environment, this generation’s knowledge workers desire a different, more relevant and expressive apartment environment with affordable rents.  Creative multifamily provides a more expressive and design oriented dwelling for the young creative knowledge worker.  This resonates with their hip and collaborative nature and will satisfy their desire to live in an urban property that is “not their father’s first apartment.”

PMI Launches PMI Creative Multifamily

PMI has launched its new company to acquire, renovate, and convert multi-family properties into creative housing spaces.  PMI will utilize many of the techniques and skills in its creative office division and apply them to apartment living to create new and different rental housing experiences for urban dwellers.  PMI already has projects under way in Echo Park, Silver Lake, and Hollywood, California.

Los Angeles Rents to Spike in 2013 if No Economic Downturn

Apartments in Los Angeles are still recovering from the downturn in late 2008.  Vacancies continue to decline and according to many surveys, now hover in the low 3% range.  Many sub-markets are actually below 3%.  According to PMI’s research, the last time apartment vacancies fell below 3% (in 1997 and 2006), strong rent increases followed.  The U.S. economy grew strongly in both 1997 and 2006, and we don’t know if we can say the same thing about 2013.  Rent growth may not be nearly as strong in 2013 as in those years.

However, Los Angeles vacancies are likely to fall below 3% if the economy does not take a turn for the worst.  As I result, one could expect rents to increase 10% over the next 18 months.  Indeed, several Los Angeles owners have experienced record low vacancies this year (1 to 2%).  Unlike the office market, where owners will incur high vacancy rates to achieve very high rents, apartment owners will allow their occupancies to drift down to very low levels before testing rents.  Apartment owners tend to be more cash flow sensitive, and apartment tenants tend to be very rent sensitive.  After a year of very low vacancies, apartment owners will begin to explore and test rents or eliminate concessions.

Different reports show that job prospects for young adults have improved.  This has encouraged them to start households after many years of living with roommates or their parents.  This trend also coincides with a move back to urban centers where apartment living is common and convenient.  Very little in the way of significant new apartment supply will be delivered during 2013.  Although home sales and prices are likely continue to improve also in 2013–residential financing still remains very difficult.  A move in the economy will either improve this forecast if positive or negate it if negative.