This one might make those look like small potatoes.
On Wednesday, November 3, the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council Planning, Public Works, Parks and Land Use Committee will hold a special meet to discuss Barlow Hospital‘s plans to update the facilities in order to comply with California seismic codes (retrofitting the buildings so things don’t go bad during an earthquake). Since the hospital was built in 1927 and damaged in 1994 during the Northridge earthquake, the plan is to replace the primary hospital facilities with new structures in order to keep up to code.
Sounds like a great idea, right? Barlow is an important part of the community and we don’t want to see it go away. Unfortunately the original proposal doesn’t just include a new hospital and even some shops, but also calls for the sale or leasing of part of Barlow’s 19-acre land to build a 1 million-square-foot, 888-unit apartment complex (according to an Eastsider LA article, the largest-ever residential project in the Eastside) in order to fund the new hospital structures.
In February, Barlow Hospital mailed out a survey to Echo Park residents, which asked questions like “Please rate your level of support for Barlow Respiratory Hospitals plans to rebuild? High, Medium, or Low.” (The “helllllll NO” option was mysteriously missing.) Also missing from the brochure was a mention of plans to build the 888-unit residential complex – this spurring community concern and discussion that Barlow wasn’t exactly doing the right kind of outreach to the community.
We are aware that the Echo Park Improvement Association has been involved with Barlow Hospital representatives to develop new ways to raise funding for lower-impact alternatives, and also that Council District 1 has opposed this project in the past (we have not yet heard back from a rep for details). We are hoping the Neighborhood Council won’t support a large residential structure at Barlow, and will instead encourage it to seek other sources of funding for the hospital rebuilding.
Share your opinion at the meeting tomorrow at St. Paul Cathedral Center (Grand Hall), located at 840 N. Echo Park Avenue at 7:00 pm.
You can download the Neighborhood Council meeting agenda by clicking here, or reading the excerpt describing the project and the meeting after the jump.
Planning Deputy Susan Wong of CD1 told us that Councilman Reyes does not support the residential complex:
The Councilman supports Barlow Hospital in its effort to rebuild the hospital. Our office has been working with Barlow to look at different sources of funding for the hospital only. With that said, he does not support the proposed 888 unit development at the site. The proposed project is too dense and incompatible with the surrounding land uses.