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21 February, 2019 El Centro | Daily Botanical Therapy In the Heart of Hollywood

El Centro’s Hollywood apartments have taken landscaping to the next level, creating lush gardens and communal spaces where residents can recharge and appreciate a beautiful mix of succulents and cycads. With southern California’s historic botanical gardens acting as inspiration, El Centro’s green installations are treated much more like a work of art than generic landscaping. At the center of this project was Carlos Morena, whose love for all things spiky and prehistoric made him a perfect fit.

Cactus Store | 1505 ½ Echo Park Avenue

Morena left graphic design to open the Cactus Store in 2014 as a culmination of his decade-long obsession with collecting and researching succulents. The store is packed with a wide spectrum of species of cactus, ranging from a $20 common Frailea castanea to a $3,000 Opuntia galapageia, a rare plant that at some point was smuggled out of the Galapagos Islands before making its way to someone’s private collection and then eventually to Morena’s shelf.

Morena doesn’t just like cactus plants; he holds a deep and significant respect and admiration for them. As Carlos put it in an interview for Purple Diary, “There are definitely people who believe that these plants have a consciousness because of the intelligence of these fast and varied adaptations to circumstances. It’s almost like they must have some sort of primitive form of intelligence.” The obsession has gone so far as to inspire an entire book. Xerophile, the first publication by the Cactus Store,is a photographic exploration of cactus combed from the exotic, arcane collections of professionals and amateurs: “from Ph.D. botanist to banker, art teacher to cancer researcher.” This tome offers more than 500 photographs of some of the rarest desert plants in the world. It’s a level of veneration and love that is hard to find, let alone in your rental’s backyard. And that’s one of the many things that makes El Centro’s mission-driven landscaping more of an amenity than an afterthought. Of course, for anyone else who catches the bug for these enigmatic, alien life forms, Morena’s Cactus Store is only a short trip away in Echo Park



DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners
Clarett West Development


Van Tilburg, Bandvard & Soderbergh


Commune Design

Interior Design

L.A. Group Design Works
Cactus Store

Landscape Design

Western National Property Management

Leasing & Property Management

Pandiscio Green

Branding & Marketing

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El Centro Hollywood, DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners and Western National Property Management are not responsible for typographical errors. Availability of apartments, prices, special offers and specifications are subject to change without notice. Square footage listed for the floor plans are approximations and are subject to change depending on where each floor plan is located.

Western National Property Management
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