Public to Get First Look at Lincoln Heights Jail Development Proposals

August 10, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Three development team bids selected as finalists to restore and adapt the graffiti-covered city-owned Lincoln Heights Jail for a new use will get their first public airing during a meeting Thursday at the Goodwill Industries Auditorium in Lincoln Heights. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.

The top three development teams – selected through the City of Los Angeles’ formal Request for Proposal (RFP) process – will present their proposals to a Community Advisory Panel appointed by the councilman for the area, Gil Cedillo. The panel is “comprised of diverse stakeholders representing the Lincoln Heights community and public sector,” according to an email from the councilman’s office. The public will be able to ask questions and submit comments at the meeting, which the advisory panel will use to make its final selection, according to Cedillo’s office.

A favorite canvass of taggers and graffiti vandals, the Lincoln Heights Jail is located on a prime patch of land off Avenue 19 near the Los Angeles River. It was built in 1931 and boasts an Art Deco design. In 1993, the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission designated the building City Historic-Cultural Monument (No. 587), giving it local “Landmark Status.”

The city stopped using the facility as a jail in 1965, eventually making it available to house non-profit groups, including the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts (BFA) and Lincoln Height Boxing Gym.

But the years have were not kind to the facility and it fell into serious disrepair. Besides the graffiti, there is lead and asbestos and potentially other contaminants in the building and surrounding land. The city permanently closed the facility in 2014, but is now hoping to breathe new life into the facility through its bidding process.

“A City technical panel comprised of city department representatives vetted the proposals based on RFP scoring criteria, and has identified the top three proposals,” according to the email from Cedillo’s office, which identified CIM Group, Lincoln Property Company and WORKS (Women Organizing Resources Knowledge and Services) as the three top development teams.

While the councilman’s office said they were unable to oblige EGP’s request to review the proposals ahead of Thursday’s meeting, they did say the “three proposals offer a different mix of uses for the jail property – including live-work units, commercial retail space, creative office, a mix of market-rate and affordable housing,” and put the private investment to be made in the multi-million dollar range.

Goodwill Industries Auditorium is located at 342 N. San Fernando Rd, Los Angeles 90031. For more information, contact CD1 Senior Planning Deputy Guy Gubatan by calling (213) 453-7001 or email him at

Government Projects Gone Awry? Blame Technology

September 3, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Traveling to and from our old office in Highland Park and our new space in Lincoln Heights, we could not help but notice how the trash, graffiti and dilapidated autos are again starting to build up.

What is it about governments, whether local, state or federal, that keeps them from paying proper attention to quality of life issues, and to so easily put aside initiatives to improve the same unless they’re being hammered?

It wasn’t too long ago that Los Angeles Councilmember Gil Cedillo expended a hefty sum from his office holder account to haul away tons of trash in his 1st district. At the time, he told residents that Bureau of Sanitation workers would no longer just pick up items called in for pick up, but also any other illegally dumped items nearby. He spearheaded a trash collection pilot program to haul away bulky items from inside residents’ homes.

Now we learn from residents that the bureaucracy – as it often does – is doing what it pleases, not what’s it’s promised.

For sometime, failures were blamed on not having enough money. (OK, they still do that).

These days, however, there is a growing trend to blame administrative and institutional failures on faulty technology.

Meanwhile, graffiti is not removed; trash and discarded sofas, mattresses and broken bookshelves pile up. And of course, there are the mounds of trash accumulating in many – mostly low-income neighborhoods in the city’s east, northeast and south area neighborhoods.

Yet, no one seems to be able to give a definitive answer as to why some areas are cleaned but not others. Why some neighborhoods have a 98% response rate and other calls for service languish for months, even years.

The technology is to blame – not humans – we’re repeatedly told.

From misreported fire department response times to police crime figure miscalculations: technology was to blame,

When students at Jordan High School in 2014 could not get their classes, wasting valuable days of schooling: technology was to blame.

When the DWP overbilled ratepayers by millions of dollars: technology was to blame.

And all the while, taxpayers are being asked to foot more money for road repairs, for new water mains to replace deteriorating pipes that spill thousands of gallons of water as residents struggle to conserve.

Technological analyses show where the money would be best spent. Really?

In the end, people choose and operate the technology. It’s their job to make sure that the systems operate properly before unleashing them on the public.

Maybe it’s time for more of these workers to take their eyes off their computer screens and start looking at the neighborhoods around them. It may not be state-of-the-art, but it may just work.


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