An industrial strip of Casitas Avenue in Glassell Park is about to get several hundred little homes. New York-based real estate company Pan Am Equities just purchased a 5.6 acre site there for $22 million with plans to build a 400-unit apartment complex.

CBRE brokers Bradford McCarthy and David Harding represented the seller, a private local investor, and said the location is unique for its perch over a lush stretch of the Los Angeles River.

“This is the only part of the L.A. River that’s established with real greenery and water. You can kayak, you can fish,” McCarthy said. “You don’t find that in many parts of the city.”

The plot is currently occupied by a warehouse leased by the Nelson Name Plate Company, and sits between a storage facility and an 18-acre public park called the Bowtie, a former railroad yard.

McCarthy said some industrial companies in the area are gradually moving east, seeking sites with better access than what’s logistically possible in the wedge of land between the river, the 5 Freeway, and primarily residential areas.

“All of these businesses are looking at where they can go that is more efficient,” said McCarthy. “As those businesses decide that this isn’t a neighborhood where they can operate efficiently, what makes sense to have in this neighborhood is residential and retail, and eventually creative office.”

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