Thursday, October 27, 2016

Barlow Hospital agrees to sell half of Echo Park property

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.

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  1. 🙁 too bad they had to do this.

  2. What is needed is a “white knight” buyer for the portion of the Barlow Hospital currently in negotiations for sale to a multi-unit high density housing developer.

    The sought after “white knight” should have pockets deep enough to beat out any potential counter bid offered by a “for profit” developer. The “white knight” is expected to pay all cash without encumbrance.
    The “white knight” buyer may announce some ambiguous plans for their newly acquired parcel, but are expected to let it remain as is in a park like state for at least the next 10 – 20 years.

    This type of “white knight” purchaser sounds like a fantasy – someone who has millions of dollars to buy a property and then just sit on it.

    Luckily, we have just such an active buyer who is open to acquiring more real estate for top dollar all cash in this part of town. The Church of Scientology.

  3. This now moving forward even as we now just elected one of the most sold-out-to-developers mayor Los Angeles has ever seen. Garcetti has never seen mild or massive overdevelopment he is not in favor of. Gee, Garcetti could barely contain himself today, immediately upon the unanimous vote of the City Council — in the face of STRONG pushing by new Councilman and Garcetti lackey Mitch O’Farrell — to approve the two skyscrapers in the heart of Hollywood that will not only dwarf everything for many miles around but will even dwarf the Hollywood Hills themselves. Those will dramatically change the character of Hollywood — Garcetti and O’Frarrell might as well have dropped a nuke on that area. I’m sure it has been driving Garcetti crazy to have to wait so long to approve the Barlow zone change and project.

    With the people who have duped the people of Los Angeles into electing them, this Barlow project is a fait accompli.

    • I don’t see any similarity between the Barlow site and the Millennium Hollywood. Maybe Garcetti is an evil developer-spawn, but if he actually cares about all the things that he has always claimed to care about, then he’ll see all the differences that I’m mentioning here. Barlow is a hillside location with only one access road that’s a 15 minute walk from a single rapid bus stop, while Millennium is a flatland location in an urban area with an excellent street grid that’s a 5 minute walk from the subway, which is also a hub for several different bus routes. Millennium is in a site that needs more people, while Barlow is in a site that can’t handle any more.

      • You should pay a little attention to Garcetti. Yes, he says a lot of all the right things. But very little of his actions match what he says. What he says is a huge pack of lies, always has been. You are easily manipulated by his talk, are failing to look deeper.

        If Garcetti were going to help you on Barlow, he would have done so years ago. He lied and said he could not, because it was a block out of his district. Well, the council has never operated by a rule that when something is a regional matter, nearby council district’s have no say in it, much less the city overall — he used the council rule for small neighborhood issues that don’t impact anything else as fake cover to lie to Echo Parkers. A regional park has always been a cross-border matter, and a project of this magnitude has always been a cross-border matter. But Echo Parker’s didn’t really know the rules so didn’t know how much Garcetti was lying.

        Garcetti is not going to be your shining knight to save Echo Park form the Barlow project. Hey, he personally moved away from this project.

        Frankly, if you don’t see any similarities between the massive overdevelopment Garcetti has pushed through on Hollywood against the residents’ opposition, and in particular these two skyscrapers there (this is just the start for massive overdevelopment of Hollywood), then you are wearing blinders. If you think more people are need in the area of Hollywood and Vine, then you definitely are not part of the solution, you are the problem. YOu remind me of the Westsiders who were so opposed to a single oil drilling site at Pacific Palisades but had the audacity to argue that there was no problem having oil drilling along Stadium Way under Elysian Park when exploratory drilling was started there some years back — talk about NIMBYs, which is all your assessment of Hollywood and Vine sounds like.

        • Tom i’m just curious, what are your answers for the housing shortage in LA county? The skyrocketing prices due to limited supply? I’m not saying I support the barlow project, but I’ve follwed your other posts and you seem to be against building anything and everything despite an obvious need for housing, and more denser walkable and bikeable communities that rely on cars less. You seem intelligent and well informed (if a little mean spirited to kenny). I’m really not trying to troll. Just wondering what you would do.

          • To add on, projects by developers will carry through and our loss is the potential for a Community Benefits Agreement, that we could have requested from the Hospital to have the developer pay for, and we may be locked out from getting anything in amenities or mitigation in return.

            Remember that area was going to be developed with the Chavez Ravine development back in the 50’s which unfortunately didn’t happen and displaced a whole community with Dodger Stadium instead.

  4. Eli Broad, how about riding in at the last minute and creating an Eli Broad Sculpture Park? Come on, Eli. We will name it Broad Park and we can intersperse amazing sculptural works amongst the trees, the grass, and Patina can open a fabulous cafe in the old chapel. I was just in England where I visited a beautiful church that was now a cafe. Come on, Eli! I swear if I had several million hanging around, I would transform that lovely area into something future generations would be happy to have in this city. This development will forever ruin the experience of Elysian Park. It’s a shame, a real shame.

  5. Some of the hurdles the possible buyers are no doubt researching:

    *The site’s current zoning as “agricultural”
    *The new stricter Hillside Ordinance
    *The fact that the bungalows on the site are a part of Barlow’s listing as a Historic-Cultural Monument
    *Echo Park’s reputation as a civically engaged community with a number of well-connected and well-informed residents

    Personally, I look forward to checking the buyers against the list of Cedillo donors, once their name is out.

    • Zoning is changed routinely, as needed. That is but a minor impediment. A few extra steps already being addressed, an extra hearing, which will be combined with a hearing that would have been anyway.

      Hillside ordinance is nothing. They can build and sell regardless. That is no impediment. It simply is a price factor.

      Cultural-historic monuments? That old designation doesn’t stop this.

      Cedillo donors? Sure, and donors to all the other City Council members too, and most especially Mayor Garcetti — the great majority of his donors are developers or those connected with them. So what, how do you think seeing the list will change this decision? Even without that list, the construction unions want this, and Cedillo is a major union man.

      But most significantly, Echo Park already majorly missed its most important step to fighting this project: the decenial reapportionment of City Council district that was done a couple years ago. My god, it was absolutely critical to have Elysian Park in the same council district as Echo Park, in order to fight this project — and to do anything else with Elysian Park in the coming decade. Echo Parkers were asleep at the switch!

      In the end, Cedillo doesn’t give a damn if people in Echo Park want to vote against him — they don’t get to vote for him! I’m certain this is why Garcetti made sure Elysian Park was NOT in the same district as Echo Park. He wasn’t asleep at the switch, Echo Parkers were. And that will pretty well seal the fate of this property.

      • Agreed. However, the fact is that we would have a city councilman who opposes this in Jose Gardea, had Cedillo and his union backers not bought the election. (Note that I hesitate to even say “bought,” because ultimately it’s the voters who are culpable).

      • Great informative opinions all. I just re moved to EP 6 months ago and wished I had been here earlier and could have gotten involved. So sad about this ..

      • Mark, half of Echo Park is in CD 1.

        You might wave your hand at the rest, but each of these items add time, cost and uncertainty to any developer’s plans.

  6. Good point about comparing Cedillo donors with folks potentially involved with this development. As far as the Ag zoning goes, we all know zoning can be changed for the right price as can historical monuments if they can prove these monuments are detrimental and unsafe. Barlow has purposely allowed the bungalows and other historical building to decay and fall into serious disrepair. They have to comply with the latest seismic mandates which are very expensive and they want to build a NEW facility, but they have NO MONEY. This is a tricky situation. Barlow has to sell or go bust and who will offer them the most money? Developers. I honestly believe if some amazing philanthropist offered them the same amount as a developer, Barlow would take it, but WHO is going to do it? This is a very serious situation and it is KEY to know who is looking at this property to develop. If the developer gave money to Cedillo, we all know that zoning can be very fluid when $ is involved. Barlow is going to sell, but to WHO?

  7. This is very sad for the community of Echo Park and the green area that now exists. There must be another way. Barlow has long been a successful and well respected long term care facility, especially for those patients who are on prolonged mechanical ventilation. They have taken many of our patients from the Central Valley that were unable to be liberated from life support and made them independent of machines. Many have also been discharged home as a result of their successful weaning techniques. There must be a way that Barlow can continue to thrive and grow, and not negatively impact the surrounding community environment. I pray that this can be done.

  8. @Lou Barlow…… Sebadoh’s Lou Barlow?

  9. The paid consultants for god knows who weighing in on the comments are a little ridic —

    This aggression will not stand!

    The development of Elysian Park is disgusting.

    Have you ever been in Elysian Park on a weekend and seen big families having bbq’s and birthday parties there? How is the complexion of Elysian Park going to change once you drop 3000 richie richs on the other side of Scott Ave?

    A park poor section of the city is going to become even more park poor…

  10. I doubt that the original trustees of Barlow would agree with this. What gets lost in all of these development is the historical significance of the property and the historical character of the environment, which should be left as is. The bottom line is it is up to the City leadership to either keep zoning protections in tact or roll to developers.

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