Culinary Hubs Put a Twist on Home Cooking

Nestled in the dense, residential Los Angeles neighborhood of Victor Heights, a tightly packed plot of Craftsman and Victorian homes has stood the test of time, serving as single-family residences in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods.

Yet these bungalows will soon serve a new purpose — micro restaurants offering Taiwanese pineapple cake and freshly ground hamburgers in a compound called Alpine Courtyard, morphing the pleasures of dining out with the nostalgic comforts of home.

This adaptive reuse is part of a growing national trend: From Los Angeles to Nashville, developers are transforming clusters of old homes into walkable culinary hubs for the surrounding high-density neighborhoods.

Advocates see the conversions as a better use for weathered abodes that have been blighted by time and negligence, sustainably preserving the homes while serving the economic needs of the neighborhood.

These types of community-oriented developments provide needed support to residential areas, said Rose Yonai, principal and chairman of Tierra West Advisors, a real estate consulting firm in Los Angeles. “Otherwise, after the lights go up and people leave, the place is deserted, and there’s nowhere to have coffee or dinner,” she said.

But opponents are concerned about the loss of affordable housing and the threat that these commercial developments will displace existing communities. Some older homes are protected by preservation restrictions, but many others face demolition to meet housing demands and make space for new developments.

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