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The nearly empty Hoover Street Yard is across the street from a new wine shop and other stores.

East Hollywood -- New shops, cafes and apartments have opened on a gentrifying stretch of Hoover Street on the border of East Hollywood and Silver Lake. 

But in the middle of this emerging retail strip at Hoover and Clinton Street is a nearly block-long compound of nearly empty buildings, towering walls and imposing gates by topped by razor wire. This is the Hoover Street Yard, a nearly 90-year-old maintenance facility and storage yard used by the L.A. Department of Water and Power.  While it's quiet now, thing will be changing soon as the facility undergoes a $150 million makeover.  

The facility was constructed between the 1920s and 1940s, and used to be the headquarters for the agency's Streetlight Maintenance group, before that was relocated to Lincoln Heights last January, according to Jason Stinnett of the LADWP. Only one building is still currently in operation.

Most of the old Hoover Street Yard - which takes up about half the block between Melrose and Clinton, and between Hoover and Commonwealth - is scheduled to be demolished in July 2020, except the building at the southwest corner of the property, which currently functions as the Distributing Station, Stinnett said. 

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In their place will rise a 60,000-square-foot facility with a district office building, a warehouse, and a fleet maintenance facility, Stinnett said. Along with an underground parking facility for employee vehicles and smaller fleet trucks, an open yard space will hold larger fleet vehicles, fueling stations and EV vehicle chargers. 

The agency has been providing a glimpse of the project and seeking community input, according to records with the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council.

And then there's the new meeting rooms, which will make a small part of the facility open to the public. Public meeting spaces may not normally be associated with power-and-water facilities. But this formerly quiet residential neighborhood near the Silver Lake border has become more of a gentrified social spot in recent years, with Cafecito Organico, Gail’s Rolls N’ Grill and Old Style Guitar Shop just down the road from the DWP facility, and developments along Virgil Avenue only a block away.

"The ground floor assembly space will serve both LADWP as a location for large scale meetings and training, and will be made available to the public as an important community asset," Stinnett said.

The scheduled start date for construction is in late spring 2021, with completion in summer 2023, Stinnett said.

No street closures are expected currently, but the main construction route will be on Hoover Street.

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An electrical distribution station will remain on the site

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