Monday, June 13, 2011

Living in Leimert...A Transformation is happening!

Heather Presha, Realtor for Leimert Park

Mention Leimert Park to the average Angelino and you may hit on a few marks: Black folks, drum circles, or Jazz and Blues.  Maybe the mention of all three – which would be true, but over the years it would seem that a generic mention of L.A.’s Black cultural mecca does not do this area justice.  Just east of Crenshaw and north of Vernon, Leimert Park is developing a little bustle as of late, and the new growth couldn’t have come at a better time.  Yes, you can still get incense, your fill of dashiki’s and Kente-cloth socks, some Jamaican food, and even dry cleaning.  Did I mention Kente-cloth?  Here you will also find Senegalese drum workshops, collaborative drum circles, and the plethora of Jewelry and crafts from the Motherland.  You will no doubt see many folks with dreads, brothas selling Lakers t-shirts, and you might stumble upon a hip-hop freestyle session on a good day.  But that’s the old Leimert, the average Saturday walk-thru.   It gets better…

In recent months, both Niki Giovanni and Spike Lee had separate book signings at Eso Wan bookstore.   There have been several art gallery openings in what used to be the renowned breakfast club Papa West, and the Leimert Park Art Walk always offers an exciting array of vendors, PLUS the grand opening of the new Barbara Morrison performing arts center.  Promoters of the Morrison Center promise live music AND food/drink for the weekends.  Adassa’s CafĂ© and Ackee Bamboo are still holding it down as the main eateries on the strip, featuring Jamaican food, Sunday Brunch and a coffee shop/meet up spot just across the way. All of this in a two block stretch.

And then there’s the real estate.  Spanish style homes are begging for buyers all around Leimert, ranging from the high two hundreds to the mid fours.  Cozy homes with fireplaces, tree-lined streets, and architectural gems abound. You’ll find plenty of retirees and young families of all colors. The Baldwin Crenshaw Mall, now getting a nice face-lift, is within walking distance.   A hop and a skip up Angeles Vista Blvd., you might break your neck trying to check out all the mass curb appeal and breathtaking views from several different angles.  Even houses up there that push square footage of  2,100 feet have sold for less than half a mil.  Don’t ask why - just get in.  Life over here in the “hood” ain’t so bad. Wave to the neighbors and they wave back! And if you need to get downtown real quick, cruise down Vernon to the 110 and you’ll be there in two shakes. The 10 freeway is also a quick shot up Crenshaw Blvd. You'll be surprised how close it is to everything.

If you like what's happening now, just imagine what it’ll be like in 5 years when things are really off the hook.  But don’t project too long; you still have things to look forward to soon.  Local residents are organizing to insist that the MTA include a Leimert Park train stop, and the Vision Theater has construction drapes outside of it – it must mean we’re cleaning up our act…..more to come!

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