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In Plain Sight, Yet Hidden: The Rise of Frogtown

Welcome to Frogtown

If you walk into the neighborhood bounded by Interstates 2 and 5 and the Los Angeles River, you’ll see charming restaurants, hip artists’ spaces and pedestrians wearing trendy fashions.

Welcome to Frogtown, a 2.5-mile long locale in central Los Angeles that was once home to blue-collar workers and . . . frogs.

Originally known as Elysian Valley, the neighborhood earned its nickname for a reason. During the mid-20th century, frogs making their way to the river to breed during the rainy season completely covered the area’s streets, lawns and sidewalks.

These days, the frogs are (more or less) gone, and Angelenos visit Frogtown for its artsy vibe and unique restaurants. They also travel on the river-hugging bike path, which meanders from Victory Boulevard/Riverside Drive to Egret Park. Industrial buildings lining the river are being re-purposed as artists’ lofts and creative workspace.

Though a trendy place now, Frogtown could become a more popular destination. The city of Los Angeles recently acquired parcel G2, a 42-acre strip adjacent to the river and across from Frogtown. The city wants to restore the river, with help from the U.S. Army Core of Engineers. Part of the city’s proposed $1 billion investment calls for joining the G2 parcel to Rio de Los Angeles State Park, creating walkable wetlands. The plan also calls for bridges connecting Frogtown to G2.

In all, Frogtown is a unique space in the Los Angeles culture, an oasis within an urban area. Additionally, the neighborhood is adjacent to Silverlake and Los Feliz, two areas undergoing their own rebirth. “It isn’t surprising that Frogtown is experiencing this growth and interest, given where it is,” said Alex Sachs, executive vice president of Coldwell Banker Commercial WESTMAC. “Silverlake and Los Feliz have resurged. Frogtown is next in line; the right place at the right time.”

Frogtown is a small neighborhood undergoing a huge wave of gentrification, with boutique retail, apartment lofts, duplexes and triplexes, and creative office space popping up. Already known for its funky vibe, the neighborhood will eventually become the place to be for the with-it crowds.