Former Carmelite campus

Lincoln Heights - A campus that used to be operated by the Carmelite Sisters is lined up to become creative office space, according to documents filed with the city.

The property at 2417-2455 North Thomas St. and 2428-2436 N. Gates St. is to be renovated and rezoned under the plan. The campus formerly had a convent, chapel, school, and daycare center.

The applicant for the renovation is Josh Oreck, founder of Narrator, a creative/marketing agency.

The Little Flower Educational Child Care Center closed on August 31, 2017 after being run at that location for 74 years by the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles.

The institution first began at another location in 1929 as a home for young girls from single-parent households. The Little Flower Missionary House was originally located at a Carmelite convent on 34th Street, according to its old web site,  then moved to the old Spalding Mansion on Gates Street in Lincoln Heights in 1943. The girls attended schools in the area until the sisters opened a grade school of their own, the Little Flower of Jesus School.

In August 1954, the Carmelite sisters dedicated a new chapel, school and dormitory on the site for 50 girls from "homes broken by illness and other difficulties," according to an L.A. Times story.

In 1970, Little Flower transitioned into a Child Care Center for boys as well as girls, eventually accepting children from age two through six. When it closed in 2017 due to declining enrollment, the school noted that "transitional kindergartens" had become standard practice across public and parochial school systems, with many schools also offering preschool classes.

No demolition is planned for the Little Flower site - nor any new construction. The only exterior changes being proposed are street and sidewalk repairs, some new trees and possibly some sewer and drainage improvements.

The Department of City Planning has recommended approving the project, and representatives from the Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council and City Council District 1 spoke in favor of it at a public hearing held on behalf of the City Planning Commission on September 24. The City Planning Commission will be addressing the project at its Oct. 15 meeting.

Eleven of the parcels on the property have been identified as contributing elements for the Lincoln Heights historic district, though only six of the parcels lie within the district boundaries, and five were inadvertently left outside it, according to the Planning Department’s recommendation report.

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