Sunday, October 23, 2016

What are 20+ acres of Echo Park worth?

View Barlow Property For Sale in a larger map
The owners of Barlow Respiratory Hospital will soon find out after they put much of their approximately 25-acre campus on the eastern edge of Echo Park up for sale late last month.  Bids on the property  are due June 13, according to Richard Byrd with Land Advisors, the broker handling the sale. A sale price was not set for the property, which Barlow has proposed developing into a residential community with as many as 888 units of housing.  “Barlow is open to reviewing all proposals from qualified buyers,” Byrd said. “We expect a variety of proposals from prospective buyers.”

Any buyer, however,  would be betting that Barlow would be successful in minimizing the long list of significant impacts raised in a recent environmental report. The city would also have to approve a zoning change to allow for a development of more than a million square feet of residential, retail and hospital space. Officials of Barlow, founded more than a century ago, say they need to win city approval of the massive development so they can sell off the property and raise cash to build a new hospital that meets modern seismic standards in a corner of the site.

A large chunk of the property, which straddles Stadium Way, is composed of steep, wooded hillside. Clusters of bungalows and nearly century-old buildings dot the property, which is a city historic landmark.

Barlow tried to sell the property about six years ago when it was looking to move relocate to a new location.  “They had several offers for the land, however, Barlow could not find a suitable site to move,” Byrd said.  “The cost of building hospitals significantly increased and they could no longer afford to build.  The money from the sale of the land at that time would not support the rising building costs plus land costs.   So they hired a project manager and developed the current plan.”

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  1. Sure lets add density away from any sort of public transit.

  2. I do agree that this is too dense a project. But I will say, it is not too far away from public transit, is just a block or two from Sunset and all the buses there. I think there are plenty of reasons that can be cited to oppose this project, but I don’t think lack of transit is one of them.

    • I think you may be ignoring the geography: two long blocks, up a hill isn’t all that convenient to the 2/4 bus stops. And the rapid buses don’t stop anywhere near there. IMO, we should be filling in all the surface parking lots and empty chained off properties on Sunset, Temple, Santa Monica, etc. with mixed-use apartment buildings before we start cutting down trees and paving over more of our urban forest.

      • I don’t even think we should be doing infill development with mixed use.

        The fact is: nearly all of these new residents will own and use cars. That is the reality. More cars means more needs for parking, more congestion, longer travel times and more pollution. It really is that simple.

        My mom lives in Old Town Pasadena in a mixed use development. She walks and shops locally, yet she still puts 4k-5k miles on her car per year, simply because transit is not dense enough or too inefficient… and she likes to experience more than the half mile radius around her abode.

        Nearly all of these new residents will simply increase the number of local miles traveled. Sure, they may drive less than other Angelinos… but we’re still adding 4k-5k miles per person per year for these new residents.

        • Well LA county is going to continue growing, I don’t see any way around that. More sprawl will just add to the miles traveled by new residents and eat up our remaining open spaces and farmland.

          Personally, I think Pasadena is pretty nice — a bit too many chain stores for my taste, but a very pleasant place to walk and drive compared to LA proper. City planners and LADOT should start taking notes.

        • If you don’t think we should be doing infill development with mixed use, then what development should we be doing? With more people being born than dying every year, we either need to convince Californians to move somewhere else, or we need to do development somewhere.

          If we do mixed use infill development in relatively dense parts of town, then some of the people will not own cars, and the ones that do own cars will mainly be driving just a couple miles to other parts of the city. If we do single use greenfield development, then all of the people will own cars, and they’ll be driving dozens of miles to everything that they do every day.

          This site doesn’t seem right for large developments, because of the lack of transit options (and I don’t really see an obvious way to get transit from Union Station to Dodger Stadium, unless we build a subway, a gondola/chairlift, or bulldoze parts of Chinatown), but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do them anywhere.

    • I agree with corner soul.

      There are so many other and better areas that could take this kind of development. Let’s not mow down what little park land we have left just because some irresponsible failed business people made some really poor decisions in the past. Those losers need to absorb (in their wallets) the consequence of their actions and not pass it on to everybody else.

  3. The idea that people who buy half a million dollar condos are going to walk a mile up and down hills to take THE BUS is patently absurd.

    So, yes, in addition to all the other reasons why NOT transit is one of them. You’ve seen how traffic gets with the Dodgers.

    Bottom line is that the infrastructure (power, sewer, water and roads) CAN NOT support this level of development.

    And that doesn’t begin to take into account the loss of green space, the deletrious effect upon Elysian Park and the historical and likely archeological resources that will be lost.

  4. Will personally feel loss of Barlow, it’s always been there long as I’ve lived in LA. Which is my whole life. Cooling place to drive through on way home, the old buildings are comforting to see (don’t look too close, some are decrepit and tear downs, to be honest) and love voting with all my EP neighbors in the old community hall.

  5. This plan is horrifying. The question I have is which organizations/people are most up-to-date about the effort to destroy the Barlow grounds and know the ins and outs of the best way to deal with the the city to put a halt to the scheme. Simple expressions of dismay are obviously going to mean little up against developers with deep pockets. Just because efforts to develop the land haven’t worked in the past doesn’t mean they won’t now. Witness all the new projects going up around
    Echo Park and Silver Lake not to mention the land involved in the Dodger sale. I would like to help and there must be people already at work on this issue.

  6. The Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park and the Echo Park Historical Society are both formulating responses to the EIR. They meet monthly. CCSEP meets the first wed of the month, 7pm, Williams Hall, Barlow Hospital (ironic, we know)……
    you can follow both on Facebook,


  7. I’m all for dense, infill development but this project seems to lack the basic infrastructure to support even mass transit or automobile based movements.

    I think any development of either the Barlow site or the Dodger Stadium parking lots should include a feasibility study of a streetcar/light rail line from Union Station to Sunset/Vermont along Sunset. That would kills a couple of birds with one stone – mass transit access to Dodger Stadium and increased transit access to EP/SL/LF areas and a tie-in to the larger transit grid. At least plant the seed so that maybe in 30 years our children’s children will have some transit options in the neighborhood.

  8. Echo Park residents, learn about La Vina estates, the awful — and ENORMOUS — gated community built on the grounds of the former La Vina Sanitarium in NW Altadena. 275 homes, most very large, crammed up against the foothills on 100+ acres.

    Since it is unincorporated county, Altadena was never able to get organized enough to sufficiently fight against the development. It was proposed in the 80s, I think, and then went through in the 90s. To my knowledge, La Vina Estates is still fighting with LA County about expenses for infrastructure, and they have been at war with the local community over trail closures and land use/access issues. Be warned!

  9. Elysian Resident

    If the sale of 20 acres (BTY, it is their acres owned since 1902) keeps that 110 year old facility open helping critically ill respiratory patients receive the unique care that may allow them to get off a respirator and return home, then how can not having the hospital continue on for another 110 years be such a bad thing for the community?

    • Irony 101

      “The location was a wise choice. It backs up against the city-owned Elysian Park, which provided a protective barrier against development. And, according to local legend, the configuration of the hills in this area is such that clean air always sweeps across the campus.”
      –“100-Year History,” from Barlow Respiratory Hospital website


    • chinatown monastery

      I don’t think anyone would mind the sale of the property if Barlow kept in mind that they are the immediate neighbors and in practice, a part of, this city’s Central Park. The plans are completely out of proportion to the pastoral nature of the area. They look like Park La Brea II. If they wanted to build single-family residential or even properly-scaled apartments I don’t think anyone would throw up a fuss.

      It’s important to remember that Barlow chose this site in 1902 because of the good air quality and park surroundings – and now they’d like to spoil that for themselves and their neighbors.

      A sense of proportion might serve them well as they move forward.

  10. Barlow Employee

    Im just a guy who works at Barlow and writing this on my own.
    A few people who work with me and live nearby pointed out the mean comments about where we work.

    You guys make it sound like we work at a place where the top people are like evil grinches and only care about money.

    I know they always want the best for our patients and spend lots of money on computers and things to make it better for patients. Lots of stuff gets done for patient care they they don’t need to do. I have a second job at another hospital where saving money and cost in always what they talk about.

    It would be sad if the hospital closes since they can’t use the old building. I guess we can all find new jobs. But someone else will buy the place and still build something, it’s private land not a public park.
    It’s just some comments are so mean and make me feel like I work with bad people who are building a toxic waste dump.

    Hopefully when you meet at my place of work to decide how to put me out of work you can keep an open mind.

    • @Barlow employee….your top people are not evil…in fact they are quite nice in many ways. Sadly for you, for the legacy of the hospital, and for the 600 plus acre park surrounding the bucolic campus, they are INCOMPETENT.

      Why you ask?

      Northridge earthquake was nearly 20 years ago. These incompetents stuck their mutual heads in the sand and avoided dealing with the capitol fundraising and strategizing needed to fund a new hospital, the knew was needed. Instead they waited until last year? Bad people? No, but terrible business people.

      Barlow received millions of dollars in FEMA funding to help with the new build….Where you ask is that money? how was it spent??? Well, it wasn’t. They forfeited it…..Just “never got around to using it”………

      This catastrophy is the Board of Directors problem. Not yours, not our communities, not the wildlife that nest in the many old growth trees on the property. It’s a shame, but the outrage needs to be pointed at the BOD-and someone(s), should be fired.

      Remember, Dr. Barlow in 1901 chose an approximately 25 acre site, adjacent to City-owned Elysian Park (1886), as the location for his Sanitorium, “as the adjacent park provided privacy and would protect the sanitorium from encroaching future development” (Barlows Mission Statement).

      So, were Dr. Barlow still alive, do you really think this BOD would have dared to let the Hospital and its campus sink so low as to need to exploit it’s very reason for existing? It’s bucolic, peaceful, healthful setting???

      I Think Not!


  11. Will this mess with the disc golf course?

  12. Edina, wow you act as if you never overlooked an issue in your life and you live a perfect life. How fortunate you are! Why don’t you teach the rest of us a thing or two!

    • @Julie,

      or I should say “Grasshopper”. Sounds like your lessons have just begun! It’s going to be a bumpy ride, so buckle up, and enjoy the EIR process, warts and all!


  13. Understand what “Significant Impact” across all categories of an Environmental Impact Report —

    Understand what Green Space is —

    Understand the history of L0s Angeles.

    Understand that “Development” being synonymous with “Progress” is an antiquated, 20th Century notion.

    Understand that your wanting to make a buck is not reason enough to destroy the cultural identity of Los Angeles.

    Understand that nothing is random and that effects radiate outwards.

  14. We can blame everyone for everything the fact of the matter is that the hospital needs to be rebuilt. You all talk about congestion and fresh air??? In Los Angeles are you kidding me!!! Come on people get a grip!

    • Or, maybe it doesn’t need to be rebuilt and the land can be sold to the city and used as park land. Then the directors of the hospital with their expertise can find an existing building elsewhere in the city. As you seem to have noticed, many here have pointed out how the new development will surround the hospital with congestion and less fresh air – so who cares where the hospital lands? Or, perhaps fresh air is important to the respiratory hospital and they should relocate outside the city altogether since, as you suggest, congestion and poor air quality are just a part of living in Los Angeles.

  15. Elysian Resident

    I have tried being cordial as I can with my posts, but as my moniker says, I live near there and here are my observations about this community.
    Hit upon for “spare change” every day each day.
    As soon as I put out the bagged trash, it is torn into for bottles and cans.
    I see people sleeping on the hillsides when I walk through the Barlow/Elysian park properties most mornings.
    The red tagged house that burnt last October hasn’t had anything done towards rebuilding after 6 months.
    The hospital is the most responsible resident in this entire area!
    The pics of the proposed development looks alot more desirable than the current “state” of the Elysian community.

  16. Has the community considered what will happen to the property if Barlow goes out of business? It is not park property. It will not be given to the park. The property will be sold to someone and it is unlikely the park will have the money to purchase it. It will probably sold to a developer who will plan some type of development. So for everyone who does not want this project, consider the future development without Barlow.

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