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NEIGHBORLY ADVICE: FAIRFAX VILLAGE

Sandwiched in and famed for its eateries

Sitting between two L.A. hot spots, a reenergized area retains its identity as it embraces change.

May 04, 2008|Josef Molnar | Special to The Times

Fairfax Village contains some of the oldest and best-known delis and bakeries in Los Angeles, but with a growing injection of youth culture, the neighborhood is throwing off its formerly placid exterior.

Running north to south along Fairfax Avenue from about Melrose Avenue to 3rd Street, the Village is sandwiched between Beverly Hills to the west and the Grove shopping center to the east. For this reason, real estate agents often market the area as Beverly Grove.

The increasing development to the north and east has drawn scores of young entertainment-industry workers and their families, as well as singles looking for their first homes.

"This used to be a very Jewish neighborhood with old stores," said Roberto Seixas, a real estate agent with the Sunset Team and a property developer. "Now it's changed so much."

Beginnings

The area was developed in the 1920s as a middle-class neighborhood and became a center for Jewish life within a few decades. Temples and businesses were established, including the renowned Canter's Deli and Schwartz Bakery. Many bungalows and occasional large homes on the western side of Fairfax, and multiunit dwellings to the east, have provided housing for the thriving community.

Insider's viewpoint

Nancy Jones, a retired schoolteacher who has lived in the area for more than 20 years, said she's watched the neighborhood change. The newly opened shops and stores that now line 3rd Street and Beverly Boulevard give it a funky, relaxed air. Jones said she thinks the transformation has been good for the community. "This place is swarming with walkers and skateboarders, happily coexisting," she said.

In addition to the quaint shops, the landmark Farmers Market and the larger Grove shopping center, the Pan Pacific Regional Park -- with its bronze statues and green lawns -- provides space for residents to relax and exercise.

Good news, bad news

A drive through the residential area reveals lush, manicured laws and striking topiary, as well as bright, welcoming houses that seem to come straight from a Hollywood film set. The smaller homes fit their surroundings and reflect the area's more suburban past.

Nowadays, residents must deal with urban problems, such as traffic congestion and competition for street parking.

Housing stock

Home prices range from about $750,000 to about $2 million, according to Carolyn Beshara, an agent with Windermere Properties who grew up in the area. Some houses are sought as tear-downs.

"People pay $800,000 or even more if they want to take the property down and rebuild a home," Beshara said.

A modern Spanish-style home with four bedrooms and five bathrooms in 4,100 square feet, built on the site of a former bungalow, recently listed at $2.49 million and was sold two weeks later.

Other area homes on the market include a two-bedroom, one-bathroom bungalow in 1,188 square feet listed for $1.25 million, and a two-story home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms in 1,908 square feet for $1.28 million.

Report card

Fairfax Village children may attend Rosewood Elementary, which scored 801 out of a possible 1,000 on the 2007 Academic Performance Index Growth Report, or Hancock Park Elementary, 881. John Burroughs Middle scored 775, and Fairfax High, 648.

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Sources: www.cde.ca.gov; www.cyberhomes.com.

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