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NEIGHBORLY ADVICE

Hip and retro, without the big price tag

August 24, 2003|Pete Metzger | Times Staff Writer

Eagle Rock is a multicultural community centered on a budding main strip complete with upscale restaurants, coffee shops and art galleries. A small town in the big city, it is part of Los Angeles and eight miles from downtown.

The basics

Founded as a city in 1911, then annexed to Los Angeles in 1923, Eagle Rock takes its name from the sandstone formation shaped like an eagle in flight in the northeast part of town. At the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, the community offers spectacular views from downtown to the South Bay.

Drawing card

Los Feliz hipness without the price tag is one of the primary reasons for Eagle Rock's recent growth. The community is rich with organizations that sponsor such events as arts festivals and concerts at the Eagle Rock Recreation Center. A year-round farmers market awaits shoppers every Friday evening on Caspar Avenue. A diverse community, Eagle Rock is home to a large Filipino population. And the 134 Freeway looms high in the hills, offering easy escape to neighboring Glendale to the west and Pasadena to the east.

Insider's view

Many of the businesses in the area have been around since the 1950s, and the community seems reluctant to change. Instead of huge, homogenized warehouse stores, there are small-town mom-and-pop establishments, among them a lumberyard, a hardware store and a comic book shop.

Hot spots

Family-owned Casa Bianca, which opened in 1955, is one of the best pizza places in the city, but there are long waits for tables thanks to its popularity. Relative newcomers Cafe Beaujolais and Camilo's offer upscale dining and draw patrons from miles around. There are also two popular offbeat coffeehouses, Swork and Fatty's, with more opening soon.

Good news, bad news

A low-profile part of Los Angeles, Eagle Rock has police patrols that are fewer and farther between than in other parts of the city. Nonviolent crime rates are slightly above the citywide average. However, rates for violent crimes are lower in the Eagle Rock area than in other areas of Los Angeles.

Report card

Eagle Rock schools are in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Eagle Rock High School scored 660 on the 2002 Academic Performance Index, on a scale of 1,000. Eagle Rock Middle School scored 660, and Dahlia Heights Elementary School scored 760. Eagle Rock is also home to Occidental College.

In stock

Eagle Rock has 677 single-family residences and 176 multiple-family residences.

On the market

With comparatively low prices, Eagle Rock has become a popular home-buying destination for those priced out of nearby Los Feliz, Silver Lake and Echo Park, as well as the Westside. In mid-August there were about 30 homes on the market, with prices ranging from $295,000 to more than $1 million. As recently as 18 months ago, 75 to 100 homes would typically have been on the market at any given time.

Historical values

Single-family detached resales:

Year...Median Price

1990...$210,000

1995...$166,250

2000...$218,250

2002...$299,500

2003*...$350,000

*year to date

Sources: DataQuick Information Systems; www.liontwins.com/eaglerock.shtml; Tracy King of Coldwell Banker, Pasadena; Bob Taylor and Cheryl Johnson of Bob Taylor Properties, Eagle Rock; Boyd Smith of Coldwell Banker, Pasadena.

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