Echo Park bungalow court declared historic landmark


ECHO PARK – The City Council today voted to declare a 1920s-era bungalow court a historic cultural monument.

A tenant who lives in the Spanish-Revival style dwellings at 1456 Echo Park Avenue began the effort to win landmark status and protection for Wurfl Court after the new owner proposed demolishing the cluster of single-story, rent-controlled apartments with  as many as a dozen new three-story homes.

“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 historic landmark application.

The nomination won the support of Councilman Mitch O’Farrell. “Bungalow Courts are the City’s signature multi-family housing, and I look forward to working with the community on further updates to City codes that strike a balance and preserve the rich architectural identity in the 13th District while encouraging reasonable growth and development,” he said in a statement issued after today’s vote.

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.

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 Wurfl, 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 Wurfl 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.

Screenshot 2015-12-10 at 3.10.51 PM

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  1. My god. Our city council is populated by a group of idiots. It explains why our city is so poorly run. That is a shame in itself but also a shame considering how highly paid our council members are. In fact they are the highest paid council in the nation. Our council members are paid more than Governor Brown!

    • Are you mad cuz your property value is not going up, since they aren’t tearing down these structures, and building new luxury houses there?

      • Technically, new construction makes property values go down because it makes the supply meet the demand. The more we stop developers from building, the higher prices will continue to go since the rich have no choice but to buy up the middle class housing stock.

        • I can see that. But on the flip side, new construction also brings in more well-off people who can usually drive up the asking price of a house, thus adding to the property values in the area.

          • The wealthy people are moving here no matter what. If we don’t give them luxury housing they’ll simply take the middle class housing instead.

    • What a Hissy fit!
      If your unhappy about neighborhood preservation, this is not YOUR city!

      • OK, Yeah… building tons of Luxury housing will reduce real estate values, just look at downtown L.A…real cheap isn’t it?

  2. Those “bungalows” are box shaped wrecks that look like what little charm they had has been stripped away by years of neglect. The worst part is those beautiful curved windows which where probably the only charming feature have been bricked up and filled with generic box windows. Awful. My house is older and more charming, can I get on the historical landmark list? And also some free money?

    • these bungalows are very well maintained and very little has been changed from the original. Some new windows, yes, but not all have been replaced. The curves were never windows. You have every right to apply for historic status for your home, you can download the application online. Don’t know why you think there’s any free money involved? Although you can qualify for lower property taxes…

  3. This is a HUGE WIN! Thank you to all the people involved with saving this and thank you to our councilman’s dedicated office and field deputies! I’m not against development, but this court needed to be saved!

  4. Oh give me a break. Some tenant wanted to keep her $872 rent and misused a valuable preservation process and lots of people’s time to do it. The historic nature of this place is a serious stretch. What this activist tenant doesn’t realize is the goofy Nimbyism that will forever more keep this little dump of a property from being more densely and beautifully developed, is the exact reason she can’t move and is now stuck forever in this little house where she tells all her friends she’s getting a “great deal.” She will never move, never buy a house, never have true wealth and comfort. Rent control infantalizes people.

    • “more densely and beautifully developed”… and make room for more discrepant luxury houses that will further erode the neighborhood and contribute to more evictions, just what we need. You smugly make incorrect assumptions about the applicant and those who would work to preserve a bit of our history. How nice and comfortable it must be for you to go around every day and know everyone’s thoughts, capabilities and intentions.

    • The Main Spoon

      Ahhshutup B.H. – you crybaby- love live the Lemon Tree!

  5. This is BS. Google Lena Kouyoumdjian, the “activist” behind this, and draw your own conclusions as to her motives.

  6. canaryinthecoalmine

    If they would have torn this down to build a bunch of houses the traffic on Echo Park Ave. would have been horrible due to the fact they would have had to tear the street up for electric. You yuppies should all be happy they did this or it would have been a bitch to get your prius up the hill to your $950,000 2 bedroom bungalows.

  7. Bet the landlord made off pretty well on the deal, Bixel House LLC probably feeling buyers remorse, now it’s a loss and probably will be sold again or ignored by the new landlords.

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