EAGLE ROCK — The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is planning to buy the former Bekins-Lane mansion, built in the 1920s by the founder of the Bekins moving company, and turn the 3-1/2 acre-estate on Hill Drive into a religious retreat for priests.
The purchase and plans have not been finalized, said Adrian Marquez Alarcon, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese. “We are currently in discussions with the Conservancy, local government and neighbors that would potentially be impacted.”
A letter sent to neighbors by a church public affairs consultant says the main residence, which sprawls over 5,000-square-feet, and most of the grounds would remain the same. However, several guest houses, a garage and pool would be demolished to make way for a two-story retreat center. On average six to eight priests would stay overnight in the mansion while six to eight persons would staff the retreat center.
“The mission is to provide a prayerful, peaceful and holistic environment in which priests [can be] strengthened and renewed in their relationship with god,” says the letter. “Therefore the focus is to provide an extremely quiet atmosphere.”
The church’s plans have generated some concern among neighbors, who have been posting and circulating letters of their own. Their concerns range from the impact on parking and traffic, construction noise, potential future expansions and a zoning change that might attract businesses to the neighborhood of single-family homes.
The current owners have tried to sell the property several times in recent years without success.
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