By BARRY LANK
ECHO PARK – Are a set of bungalows from the 1920s historically significant?
As developers try to replace the Spanish-Revival style dwellings at 1456 Echo Park Avenue with as many as a dozen new three-story homes, one tenant has nominated the 94-year-old cluster of residences as a historic cultural monument.
“These bungalows are a piece of history, and they should be treasured rather than torn down because of a loophole in a law,” said Lena Kouyoumdjian, who submitted the application to the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission. The commission is scheduled to decide whether to take the application under consideration at its Jan. 19 meeting.
The owner – Bixel House LLC. – has filed an application with the city planning department to level the seven bungalows on the property and replace them with 12 townhouses under the small-lot development ordinance, which allows for more dense development of single-family homes.
“I also find it absurd that my landlord, someone who has never spent any time in this neighborhood, thinks he can make a decision that would greatly alter the fabric of the neighborhood,” said Kouyoumdjian, who works in TV and who moved to Wurfi Court in 2011.
Attempts by the Eastsider to reach Bixel House have received no response.
In arguing for the cultural significance of the bungalows, Kouyoumdjian’s application for historic status says these buildings reflect the rapid expansion of Hollywood and surrounding areas during the late 1910s and early 1920s. The bungalow court was built in 1922 by Louis Wurfi, who worked on some prominent steel projects in the L.A. area, Kouyoumdjian said.
“There is no housing structure more quintessentially Los Angeles than the bungalow court,” she states in the application.
Kouyoumdjian also says in an online petition that Wurfi Court is one of the few of its kind left in Silver Lake and Echo Park.
Nominations for historic preservation do not have to be supported by the property owner, according to the city’s Office of Historic Resources – though the owner usually participates in the designation process.
Barry Lank grew up in the San Gabriel Valley, then went away for a seriously long time. He has worked in TV and radio, and currently helps produce The Final Edition Radio Hour.
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Jesús Sanchez, Publisher
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