“Highland Park is changing fast and it follows the gentrification that is happening all across Los Angeles, said real-estate philanthropist and preservationist, Howard Rudzki. “Residents, entrepreneurs, restaurants, shops and small businesses are all moving in.”
Tucked away in Northeast Los Angeles, Highland Park is a hilly suburb that lies along the Arroyo Seco water shed . Once known as hot-rod capital of Southern California, classic cars still lend to the city’s retro vibe which is accented by mom and pop stores lining its streets instead of brand retailers. It is also one of Los Angeles’ oldest neighborhoods and home to dozens of artists who have lived in the area for years.
With a passion for restoring historic homes, Howard felt Highland Park had unrealized potential. He started buying homes in the area in 2011. Not just homes, but specifically Craftsman and Victorians that were badly in need of repair. Since then he has restore dozens of them back to their former glory.
“I love this area because it is still feels like a small town, but you are just minutes from the one of the biggest cities in the world,” Howard added. “It has a rich history, wonderful old homes and has become more desirable with the opening of the Metro Gold Line.”
When Howard first visited Highland Park, there really weren’t many retail establishments other a handful of Mexican restaurants and Cafe de Leche, a neighborhood staple since 2008. But today this area is one of the most vibrant in L.A. The change happened slowly, first on the residential side, followed by retailers from cafes, to bookstores, to drycleaners.
“When I started buying historic homes here, the market was low and many of them were in foreclosure. For me it was a great opportunity to not only help restore these beautiful structures, but also to impact the gentrification in a way that helped to preserve the neighborhood’s cultural integrity.”