Thursday, October 27, 2016

Storefront Report: In search of tenants for former Echo Park council office

Former Echo Park council office

2013 photo of former Echo Park neighborhood council office after it closed.

A year has passed since the Echo Park neighborhood council decided to give up its troubled headquarters after the city determined that the Echo Park Avenue office did not comply with building codes.   Now, the 1,300-square-foot space, which once served as a walk-up teller office behind a Bank of America branch,  has been cleaned up and put up for lease at $2,275 a month, according to a LoopNet listing.  The space  that once hosted contentious council meetings and fruit tree-giveaways is now being promoted as an “incredible opportunity in the hip and trendy Echo Park.”

Is this a chance for the Greater Echo Park Neighborhood Council to establish a brick-and-mortar presence in hip and trendy Echo Park. Apparently the leasing agent has other tenants in mind, including  “retail, gallery, showroom, creative space and restaurant/café.”

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  1. Lisa Baca-Sigala

    Hi Jesus

    Thank you for your March 4th article on the GEPENC office. There is a factual error in your article why the office was closed.

    “A year has passed since the Echo Park neighborhood council decided to give up its troubled headquarters after the city determined that the Echo Park Avenue office did not comply with building codes..”

    The City DID determine that the office DID comply with building codes and issues the Certificate of Occupancy
    September 11, 2012 which hung in the GEPENC office when the new Board took over Oct 2012 until they vacated March 2013? (I EMAILED YOU A PDF copy to your email account.).

    I also emailed you the 90 page CA Public Records request I received from the City regarding the termination of the GEPENC Office lead. On page 17 of the 90 there is a Dec 5, 2012 email from Ari Bessendorf sent to DONE without GEPENC Board vote or approval releasing the space.

    On the GEPENC website – please look at the Oct 23, 2012 minutes sec 111 on page 5 clearly states that Ari Bessendorf’s opinion was that there were better uses for the GEPENC money than to maintain the GEPENC office. On the same page, Christine Peters suggests moving the GEPENC meetings to Rosemont Elementary.
    There was never a formal GEPENC vote taken to cancel the lease which was voted on and approved TWICE with a budget allocation to cover the rent.

    The issues with the GEPENC office were the cosmetic and electrical improvements to the light fixtures that needed to be done. CD 13 Garcetti District Director Edwardo Soriano Hewitt spoke at the January 2013 GEPENC meeting and went on record that CD 13 Garcetti would pay for these costs out of their CD 13 funds in order to keep the GEPENC office in place as a CD1 and CD13 community resource.

    In the end the City of Los Angeles DID pay for the improvements and rent (over $6500) and the community lost a great office and resource. This location was much more than a place for a tree give away and GEPENC meetings. The GEPENC Office and Community Center was a home for:

    – The monthly meeting spot for the Echo Park Security Association,
    – Students of Logan held summer math tutoring and enrichment with AmeriCorps volunteers,
    – Regular monthly street and bulky item clean ups were held there,
    – 5 years of Heal the Bay clean ups were held there,
    – It was where the City paint was stored to clean up graffiti and tagging in the neighborhood,
    – The key location where over 600 signatures supporting Measure L for local city libraries were gathered,
    – It was the place where boxes of food for the needy was collected during the holidays,
    – It was the home of the Holiday Open House during the annual December Holiday Parade to get out of the rain, use the restroom, share a free hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate and gather information on city services, i
    – It was where LAFD LOS BOMBEROS held their pancake breakfast and raised funds with the help of Fire House #20 boots for the Fire fund that supports widows of the fallen,

    It is sad that instead of a community resource center for everyone’s benefit, because of Ari Bessendorf, another coffee house may be located there now.
    Thank you,
    Lisa Baca former GEPENC CIO

    • Another bag of hot air! So tired of you and your husband, Jose Sigala. The two of you are the epitome of self-serving. Haven’t you a clue that people laugh when your names are mentioned? Time to go bother some other community.

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