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A Boom of New Urban Homes, One Tiny, Trendy Lot at a Time

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By Andrew Khouri

Robert Kim is among the buyers whom developers are looking to lure. The 35-year-old had grown tired of his 16-mile commute to his job at Los Angeles’ historic Park Plaza Hotel. So Kim began looking for a new home, finally settling on an airy, modern three-bedroom for $669,000 instead of a “fixer-upper.”

“I wouldn’t have the time or patience to do that,” he says.

When Kim moves into his new small-lot home next month, he’ll cut his commute to 3 miles and avoid busy freeways during rush hour.

The project, in Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighborhood, was developed by Planet Home Living of Newport Beach, Calif. Seven of what will soon be fifteen homes, priced between $669,900 and $768,394, have already sold. And the developer plans to break ground on about 45 more small-lot homes in the next 18 months, said Michael Marini, Planet Home’s chief executive.

“I love this area,” Marini says, shortly after lunching with his wife at an Echo Park restaurant known for its small plates of sustainably grown produce and meat.

Builders usually pack in two to three bedrooms, stacked in two or three stories. Size typically ranges from 1,000 to 2,000 square feet, allowing for a spacious living room and kitchen on an open floor plan.

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