A few years ago, Marcus McInerney, founder of sheet/rock, and Jerome Pelayo of Sunia Homes met at one of the first public showings of Jerome’s game changing Sunia model home up the street. The duo bonded over architecture, design, and pizza and quickly became fast friends. Marcus even jumped on board to help attend to some last minute details before Jerome’s Sunia model was featured on the Dwell on Design tour. In addition to talking about houses and design concepts, the two had heard about the Small Lot ordinance and began to obsess about the opportunities it might present.

But being two broke jokers from Echo Park, with funds tied up elsewhere, capital restrictions thwarted their development ideas. A little bit of fate helped them out—while working on his own rehab project on Rosemont, Marcus had seen the sign for the two properties at 811 and 813 Rosemont a few days before they went on the market, and recognized the agent’s name from another deal. Great news! But Marcus and Jerome still didn’t have the funds to purchase the properties.

A couple months before the Rosemont listings surfaced, Eddie Kohan, an investor/flipper, decided to purchase a rehab deal in the hills of Echo Park, serendipitously owned by Marcus. During conversations concerning their transaction, Eddie emphasized his keen interest in the Echo Park/Silverlake area. Marcus immediately thought of the Rosemont properties on which he and Jerome had their eye, and Eddie soon got his wish. Sitting on the bleachers at his daughter’s soccer game a few afternoons after their talk, Eddie received an email from Marcus with offers ready to go on the 2 lots. While watching the match, Eddie docusigned the “all cash/quick close” offers, no questions asked, and sent them back immediately.

While in escrow, the three men discussed the various options available for the two parcels of land. Namely, they concluded that it would be possible to build up to seven new, modern, small-lot homes on the site. Eddie quickly picked up on Marcus and Jerome’s enthusiasm for the project, and sealed the deal under the condition that they partner up after they sell their current projects. Over the next few months, the three became a close-knit workforce. They struck deals with existing tenants, viewed other Small Lot developments in the area, talked to developers, architects, land use consultants, surveyors, soils/civil engineers, general contractors and the like. The trio spent countless hours in what they fondly referred to as their “office”—a utility room in the back building—on the project’s design development.

The fact that Marcus and Jerome both lived and worked in Echo Park and knew many of the neighbors around the project made it possible for them to easily partner with local neighborhood groups and make the necessary adjustments required to please both developers and locals alike. Finally, this project is near completion, but the adventure continues…

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