Lofts? Hotel? Urban Farm? City seeks development ideas for the old Lincoln Heights jail

1931 section of the jail

LINCOLN HEIGHTS — It has been more than 50 years since anyone has served time in the old Lincoln Heights Jail. The five-story building on San Fernando Road next to the L.A. River has been vacant for much of that time but now the city is launching its most recent effort to find new uses for the historic landmark as efforts are underway to restore the river and build new projects and parks along its banks.

The city is seeking ideas and concepts for the 229,000-square-foot complex, which is made up primarily of two buildings, one constructed on the south end of the property in 1931 and another on the north end in 1949. The buildings pose numerous challenges, including the possible need for a structural renovation and the removal of hazardous substances ranging from asbestos to bird poop.

What can you do with a former jail that’s going to need a lot of work? The city’s “Request for Interest:” provides a few:

  • Technology or creative office (e.g. biotechnology)
  • Clean tech or other manufacturing uses
  • Adaptive re-use (such as the Helms Bakery District or Anaheim Packing District)
  • Live / Work lofts, artist studios and/or other art production space
  • Urban agriculture
  • Hotel with meeting spaces and a restaurant
  • Institutional uses (such as a museum or charter school)
  • Nonprofit uses (such as nonprofit office or performance space)
  • Publicly accessible open space associated with the new development (such as a
    river edge greenway or park.

Concepts are due May 13. More info here.

1949 portion of the jail

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