Where to live?
April 15, 2008 4:08 PM   Subscribe

Should I live in the Arts District in downtown LA?

Of course, this is a subjective value question; I'm looking (ideally) for people's experience living in downtown LA.

I currently live in the Beverly/Fairfax area with my gf, enjoy it because it's a nice neighborhood and I can walk/ride my fixie if I want to, I'm (fairly) close to any audition I go to, and I have a nice place that I can work out of for my hyphenate career. I'm curious about living downtown since I worked at the Ahmanson for a while and became familiar with the area, and it feels more like SF or Brooklyn to me.

We've found a fantastic place downtown, (as well as fantastic place near Beachwood), but I know living downtown is a big lifestyle change. I'm looking for more data to help me make a decision.
posted by dentata to Society & Culture (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds like you've got a pretty good thing going where you are, and there might be some negatives to downtown (less safe dogwalking for example). If it helps at all, here's a blog that's dedicated to events in that area.
posted by sharkfu at 4:17 PM on April 15, 2008

Angelenic is good, but my preference is for blogdowntown. I lived downtown a few years ago, and it wasn't so great for me - but things have been changing fast.
posted by thedaniel at 4:39 PM on April 15, 2008

crackheads will be pissing on the front door of your building.

values downtown are about to take a huge plunge as demand is drying up and supply is at an insane and unsupportable level.

I guess it's ok if you want to be seen walking downtown carrying your Macbook and looking like a fabulous hipster... but that's the only value I see in living downtown whatsoever.

do not buy whatever you do.
posted by Mr_Crazyhorse at 5:03 PM on April 15, 2008

I can tell you from experience that living in downtown LA is nothing like living in SF - can't speak for Brooklyn, though. While downtown LA is "developing," it's been doing so for some 20-odd years and just never quite gets there, it seems.

With the exception of a few night spots and high-end restaurants, downtown pretty much rolls up the sidewalks after sundown. I found it to be highly inconvenient when I lived there - impossible to walk to anything, lack of conveniences such as groceries, gas stations, drugstores, and so forth. I live in the Fairfax district myself, and I'm certain that it's much more of a SF feel than downtown will ever be, at least in terms of culture and walkability.

If you're not an artist in need of studio/warehouse space, I don't see the point.
posted by chez shoes at 5:20 PM on April 15, 2008

I don't get the cost of living in downtown LA. The property values do not seem to reflect the lack of amenities and general grittiness of the environment. I toured an apartment in Barker Block in the fall and was SHOCKED at how much they cost. Why would I pay almost a million bucks for an apartment in a terrible neighborhood? And there are like 20 or 30 of these buildings all selling places for the same crazy prices.

I live in Pasadena now, which is very livable. I have lived in big cities before - Brooklyn, Paris and Milan - so I certainly wouldn't mind paying a premium for a downtown vibe. It would be great to be able to walk to Clippers games or to the Opera...but I can also drive from my place in Pas and be there in 15 minutes.
posted by charlesv at 5:20 PM on April 15, 2008

Living in downtown LA was amazing and terrible. It's like living in a 'real' city, only not because it turns into a virtual ghost town at night (although that has changed a lot in the past few years, but it's still not anything like a normal city). It definitely has a grit to it that the rest of the city lacks, and there's some camaraderie shared by those who decide to live there. However, the majority of the people I ran into were artists, drug addicts or both -- so if that's not your scene you might be wise to steer clear of downtown.

The one thing I did love about downtown was that the cops actually only cared about real crime, since there was so much of it. So you were pretty much free to delve into as much debauchery and shenanigans as you pleased as long as you didn't kill anyone. That part was nice. Otherwise, it felt a little like living in Gotham City.
posted by rooftop secrets at 5:30 PM on April 15, 2008

If you currently live in the Beverly/Fairfax area, which I consider possibly the best place to live in LA, I would consider you extraordinarily foolish to move to downtown. I think it would quite possibly be the worst decision of your life.

Downtown at night is a cesspool of criminals and homeless mentally unstable crack addicts.
posted by Justinian at 5:48 PM on April 15, 2008

Best answer: i live downtown, but in historic downtown, not the arts district. i've been here for almost six years now, and despite what chez shoes says, there have been very tangible differences in the area over that time, and i truly think we've gone over the tipping point to where downtown will have a significant sustained residential component. it's not going to be like brooklyn or sf any time soon, but i'm okay with that.

you may want to check out view from a loft for the view of one arts district resident (who also writes for blogdowntown). downtown los angeles is still rather sharply segmented into neighborhoods, and the experiences of someone who lives where i do isn't going to be the same as someone who lives in south park, or someone in the arts district.
posted by jimw at 5:49 PM on April 15, 2008

jimw: What you're saying about a tipping point has me interested. Is there a big difference in the last few years? I hope?
posted by Justinian at 5:53 PM on April 15, 2008

Response by poster: I am looking to buy, FTR. Prices have already dropped on the lofts, which is why I'm considering it.

I guess the thing that worries me most is loss of _any_ type of community... LA is already so estranging as it is, I'd hate to be stuck in a ghost town, sitting in my swanky loft alone since none of my friends really want to make the trek downtown.
posted by dentata at 6:16 PM on April 15, 2008

Best answer: yes, i would say there has been a big difference, and there are a number of buildings in my immediate neighborhood that will start filling up this year, which will just add to that. these aren't the projects that haven't broken ground like park fifth or the grand, but things like the various barry shy for-rent projects, the rowan lofts, the chapman flats (which may be having issues finding buyers, but could just become rental), etc.

outside of my immediate neighborhood, the amount of stuff that has opened in the south park area over the last year has been pretty amazing, and there are quite a few more on their way.

i'm not going to say there's no crack addicts and criminals (and certainly these new developments will bring more of both -- you don't have to live on skid row to be either), but the changes over the last couple of years have been quite significant, and i believe it has gone far enough and has enough momentum that you aren't going to see a significant regression to where it was.

but again, that's my immediate neighborhood. have the developments like the barker blocks, biscuit company lofts, and that arts-district-adjacent neighborhood made it that far? i don't think so, but i'm not as closely tied into that area to be that confident. i suspect that those neighborhoods will be more of a drive-in/drive-out neighborhood for a while yet. (that's how i would characterize city west, too.)

if you aren't familiar with downtown, this is a map of the neighborhood council residential seats, which can give you an idea of the neighborhoods i'm talking about. the arts district is actually outside of the dlanc boundary.
posted by jimw at 6:30 PM on April 15, 2008

Response by poster: So would a similarly-priced, beautifully-remodeled "loft" in a crappy building near beachwood have about the same resale value as a loft downtown?
posted by dentata at 7:09 PM on April 15, 2008

the downtown loft/condo market is about to go down in flames:


you were warned!
posted by Mr_Crazyhorse at 3:31 PM on April 16, 2008

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