Development Along the L.A. River Could Snuff OutSome of L.A.'s Last Ranches


Verdant Street is easy to miss, but the private, nondescript road off Brunswick Avenue leads to one of L.A.’s most historic locales: an agricultural pocket of Atwater Village between the Forest Lawn cemeteries that’s dotted with stables and home to an estimated 400 horses. The so-called equestrian district has rancho roots that stretch back to the 1700s; it was once part of Rancho San Rafael, a large land parcel that stretched across much of what is now northeast Los Angeles. Today some residents believe the area’s future is at risk. Real estate developer and philanthropist Morton La Kretz, who is an advisory member of the L.A. River Revitalization Corporation, is looking to build 60 townhomes at 4000 Chevy Chase Drive, a nearly 3-acre lot that has for decades served as a buffer between seven barn properties and the charming neighborhood that surrounds them. The new homes would range from 1,400 square feet to 1,700 square feet in size. A warehouse that currently holds movie scenery and was once a wallpaper factory would need to be demolished and a significant zoning change would need to be approved to make way for the project.