LINCOLN HEIGHTS — The city will start negotiations with a large real estate developer to make the former Lincoln Heights Jail the centerpiece of a sprawling residential and commercial complex next to the L.A. River.
The City Council on Wednesday voted to have city staff work on a development deal with Lincoln Property Company and the Fifteen Group, which teamed up to beat out two other rival other proposals to develop the site of the 229,000-square-foot former jail, composed primarily of two large buildings on Avenue 19.
The winning proposal would combine the jail site with a property Fifteen Group already owns across the street to create what it calls the Lincoln Heights Makers District. The proposal includes more than 68,000-square-feet of residential space, including affordable housing units, 220,000-square-feet of commercial space, 57,000 square-feet of manufacturing and retail space and more than four acres of public open space. The proposal incorporates a 3.2-acre adjacent parcel to create a multi-use district connecting the former jail to public open space on the river.
In addition to completing a deal, the Lincoln Heights Makers District faces numerous challenges before it becomes a reality. One big problem is dealing with the jail’s many structural and environmental problems. A city staff report says:
“The property will require considerable investment to bring it up to current code. The two wings of the Jail were constructed in 1931 and 1949, and the building has not been modernized. Since being vacated in 2014, the Jail has been subject to vandalism and has fallen into disrepair. Reuse of the building will require removal of hazardous materials in order to make the building habitable. Due to the proposed uses, the building will be required to be brought up to current code, including Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, fire/life safety systems, and elevator and seismic retrofitting.”
Both sides have up to one year plus a 12 month extension if necessary to finalize a development agreement.
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