Executive Strategy

Why El Sereno Is Next.jpg

Why El Sereno is the Next Hip LA Neighborhood

LA’s next booming neighborhood

Why El Sereno is LA's Next Hip Neighborhood

Why El Sereno Is Next.jpg

I first came to Los Angeles I lived in East LA not too far from Cal State LA. A few months later I would move to Westwood to be closer to my graduate school. My friend, Kaz Curry, pushed me on the idea of owning real estate. At the time the California Department of Real Estate was encouraging more so brokerages if you had a college degree you could study and take the exam for a broker’s license.  I became a broker and worked at Century 21 Santa Monica on the weekends.

I had a challenging time getting clients because I was new, and only part-time. It was literally the wild-wild west because a lot of Santa Monica was transitioning and the agents in the office were selling the properties to other agents and to developers. Regular people were either outpriced or too late (sound familiar). I soon realized that no one was going to hand me business, so I became my first client.


I am always asked how do I find these up and coming areas, being truthful – I don’t. I have a budget, I approach life like a good game of poker and if someone writes or says something about an upcoming area I take a look. My friends had moved to Los Feliz a year before and I couldn’t afford it so I looked at the adjoining neighborhood, Silverlake. It didn’t have the cool coffee shops or hip restaurants it has now. At the time it was a transitioning area with gang activity and Sunset Blvd was looking mildly dilapidated.  It did have a critical factor that makes Los Angeles real estate special, the hills.

Easy Echo Park

Living in Silverlake I started to get the landscape of the East Side and Echo Park was again up and coming. With some of the largest hills, a natural park like setting I knew Echo Park was not too far from transforming. Plus, Echo Park had the it factor, a nice lake (if it could ever be gentrified) and Dodger Stadium.

Yes Downtown

Downtown for me was sort of a no-brainer. I had worked in DTLA since moving to LA and I knew that if people just came and saw it, it would change. Plus the curve had people moving further East. My first purchase there had been at Library Court with the Wolfgang Puck down below. The creation of LA Live changed downtown, and I saw some of the same patterns that had once changed Downtown San Diego. The identical developer in CIM, the new ballpark in Petco and with hipster restaurants.

Why El Sereno

El Sereno reminds me of Silverlake fifteen years ago. It is a largely Hispanic and Asian community in an established neighborhood. It has views and a magnificent park in Ascot Hills.  You can see the city moving East, from Echo Park to Downtown to Highland Park. El Sereno also has a large income enabler in the expanding USC Medical Center. There will be opportunities for new retail on Mission, Eastern and Valley Blvd. First there is a transition of new people then we will see restaurants, coffee shops and bars. Then LA has a brand new “hip” place. (... it was cool way before then)

By Dane Flanigan

Dane Flanigan is a business consultant who helps companies build strategies to grow sales. www.DaneFlanigan.com