Developer Michael Chang plans small lot community in Sun Valley

The project would bring 48 homes to largely-industrial area

Jun.June 03, 2016 01:00 PM

Small lot homes are having a moment, especially in the San Fernando Valley. The latest neighborhood where a developer is planning a prospective community of densely subdivided homes is the largely-industrial Sun Valley.

Former broker Michael Chang, under his development company Smart Asset Management, is planning a 48-home complex on a 1.4-acre lot bounded by Sunland Boulevard, San Fernando Road and Ratner Street, The Real Deal has learned. 

The plot currently includes 14 addresses along its three streets. An LLC connected to Smart Asset purchased the properties in a 2010 portfolio sale for $1.7 million.

Five existing buildings would be demolished to make way for the development, including warehouses and a thrift shop, Smart Asset spokesperson Ryan Chang told The Real Deal. Every unit would be priced under $500,000, Chang said.

More expensive homes might not fly in the quiet Sun Valley, a working class area without much nightlife or sparkly attractions. The neighborhood’s median income is slightly below the L.A. County average, according to Census data. Roughly 70 percent of residents are hispanic.

Chang’s small homes would have between three to five bedrooms, and some would feature roof decks and balconies. The complex, tentatively dubbed Sol del Villa, would also have a playground and guest parking.

“We like the area, and the owner (Michael Chang) is from the Valley himself,” Ryan said. “We think this area is up-and-coming. Just a few blocks down, there’s a new Starbucks coming in that can host 10 cars at once.”

Between Smart Asset and his other real estate firm Top Properties, Michael Chang has amassed a sizable portfolio of properties down the West Coast, including more than 30 in L.A. County. His developments run the gamut from multifamily residential to microunit apartments to hotels and even industrial spaces.

In the Valley’s Woodland Hills, developer David Spiegel is also planning a small lot development. His is a four-acre, 51-unit complex on Sherman Way.

These plans may suggest that a phenomenon that became popular in Los Angeles city-proper is spreading to more suburban areas of L.A. County. Especially popular in recently gentrified areas such as Silver Lake, small lot developments — or residences on lots as small as 600 square feet — were made legal in the city of Los Angeles in 2005. Since then, more than 2,000 small homes have been constructed.

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