Barlow Respiratory Hospital has agreed to sell about half of its approximately 25-acre campus to a developer as part of a controversial real estate plan to raise money for a new hospital on the eastern edge of Echo Park.
The hospital has proposed rezoning its property of low-rise buildings and cottages next to Elysian Park to allow the construction of at least 600 housing units. That zoning change is part of a plan that would allow Barlow to sell off the land to pay for the construction of a new hospital on a corner of the site. The project, which became an issue in the recent City Council races, has met with opposition from several community groups and prompted the L.A. Times to publish an editorial against the zoning change.
On Tuesday night, the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council called upon the city’s Planning Department to dismiss the project’s delayed environmental impact report. The council’s vote in favor of dismissing the report was advisory in nature; the council has no authority over city agencies.
While Barlow has yet to win needed zoning changes, hospital Chief Executive Officer Margaret Crane said Barlow has reached an agreement to sell the steep, hillside portion of the hospital grounds west of Stadium Way. Crane, who spoke about the agreement in an interview after the council voted on the environmental report, declined to identify the developer, saying only that the buyer was conducting their due diligence before completing the sale.
Meanwhile, the hospital continued to review a second proposal to buy the main part of the hospital campus east of Stadium Way, Crane said. “We are studying the proposal to be sure it is feasible. We should be finished in about a month.”
In May, Crane said the hospital had entered into exclusive negotiations to sell the hospital property.
Officials for Barlow, which has tried several times in recent years to find a buyer for its property, say they have no choice but to sell much of the park-like grounds and tear down many of the century-old buildings in order to pay for the construction of a new hospital that meets modern-day earthquake building codes. The hospital was built as a tuberculosis sanitarium in the early 1900s.