A Boyle Heights multi-unit rental property being listed for a whopping $1.6 million is getting attention online as the latest sign of the neighborhood’s looming gentrification.

The property is a late 19th-century Victorian on the corner of 1st and Fickett Streets. The listing for the two-story, six-unit building at 2601 East 1st Street raised eyebrows when it appeared on several real estate web sites this weekend with a cleverly-worded message touting its money-making potential:

I know, I know. . I can hear you right now saying “$1.6 million for a 6 unit in Boyle Hts??? Seriously??? And those rents you have listed – you’re just making those up, right ??!!All I can say is. .. . welcome to the new Boyle Hts! And these sellers are leading the way! They have created an absolutely awesome multi-residential property and, yes, the rents on these units are real. .. and they are spectacular!

The message goes on to explain that five of the six units have been renovated and assures that each of the two two-bedroom units can be rented monthly for $2,500 and that three of the four one-bedroom apartments can fetch $1,700 monthly. The remaining one-bedroom apartment –which has not been renovated– is the building’s only occupied unit, for which a tenant protected by rent control pays $450.

A posting of the listing shared Friday on the Defend Boyle Heights Facebook page immediately drew dozens of comments, including several from residents who pointed out the property’s new wooden railings commonly known as “gentrification fences”.

The post from Defend Boyle Heights added: “The ‘Free Market’ of capitalism will never save you from poverty nor will it ever respect your life enough to even offer you a home.” The vocal group has been waging a fight against art galleries moving into the neighborhood’s Western edge, claiming they raise property values and force the displacement of tenants.

The group singled out Echo Park realtor Ken Shapiro, from Silverwood Properties, as someone who doesn’t “give a s*** about the way you live as a working class person in the barrio.” The group wrote that real estate agents and lawyers “are here to steal the gems we’ve created and sustained here in #BoyleHeights.”

Shapiro, whose firm lists several properties in Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles, has an even longer message on his website that starts with “this may prove to be the most controversial email I have ever sent you” and boasts about the property’s gentrification potential:

“All of these units have high ceilings and period features. All of these units (except one of the 1-beds, which is the only one with a low-rent tenant and will not be delivered vacant) have been fully renovated inside and out by people well schooled in how to appeal to the Millennials who are invading Boyle Heights in droves.”

Shapiro’s post explains that the renovated units are furnished because the owners were offering them through Airbnb. Not counting the rental potential of a 2,000 square ft. basement and pointing out that the property is in a commercial zone, the real estate agent promises potential buyers that “you will have a property that will get you approximately $4350/mo in cash flow, and that is before you relocate the low-rent tenant!”

The $1,595,000 being asked for the property is almost three times what the unnamed owner paid for it less than two years ago. According to public records, the property was sold in May of 2015 for $550,000.

Property values in Boyle Heights have skyrocketed in recent months. According to a Market Snapshot by The Eastsider, the average sale price of homes sold in the last three months was $376,535. The most expensive house sold during that period was a five-bedroom, 111-year-old property at 2537 East 4th St., right across from the Roosevelt High School swimming pool. It sold for $630,000.

Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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