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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Echo Park nonprofit wants to make a deal over former city parking lot

It’s been a decade since El Centro Del Pueblo, a large social services agency in Echo Park, converted a former public parking lot south of Sunset Boulevard into an outdoor recreation center adjacent to its Lemoyne Street headquarters.  The conversion triggered some contentious debate as many residents and businesses worried about the loss of  Lot No. 676 (outlined above in red) on Echo Park’s Sunset Boulevard retail strip. Since then, parking in the area has grown in short supply as nightclubs – such as The Echo – and new shops and restaurants have opened. But the outdoor recreation center – complete with handball courts – has also proved a popular and busy play area. Now, El Centro, after leasing the property from the city since 2000, wants to buy the land outright.

Last week, the office of Councilman Eric Garcetti introduced a motion instructing city staff to come up with a recommendation “to enable the
purchase of City-owned Department of Transportation Lot No. 676 at fair market value.”   El Centro, which owns several other buildings on the block,  started leasing the former lots at $750 a month but the rate was to be adjusted every two years, according to the City Council motion.  It’s not clear how much El Centro pays now but, according to the city motion, the agency “would prefer to own the property rather than continue to make lease payments” and plans to continue to use the lot for “recreational and public purposes.”

How much is that land worth? The city’s Chief Administrative Officer was given 60 days to come back with a recommendation.



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One comment

  1. The city (and us – the citizens) could have made much more on parking meters than $750 a month. . and the additional parking would have helped all of the mom& pop stores along sunset. It is a scam that the city would lease this property to serve one interest. Meanwhile there are empty basketball courts a few blocks away anyway. Those parking lots are a really valuable asset to echo park that can allow many businesses to thrive. . because parking near sunset is non-existant anyhere along it’s length (except in Beverly Hills). It would be a crime to sell the lot to them when we should be returning it to the use of the citizens who own it.

    And why single out the echo. . it basically only impacts parking after all the other businesses close . . so it’s a win-win to have them there.

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