Proposals for Old City Jail Include Mix of Housing and Retail

August 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Close to 200 people attended a community meeting last Thursday to hear presentations from the three finalists hoping to win city approval for their vision to bring new life to the dilapitated but historically significant Lincoln Heights Jail.

The city received nine proposals in response to its Request for Proposals (RFP) for the Lincoln Heights Jail Adaptive Reuse Project, but narrowed the list down to three. The RFP required respondents to include ideas that would serve the community and also provide economic growth within Lincoln Heights, along with other criteria.

“The city has really been looking at its assets through a different lens,” explained Gerald Gubatan, planning deputy for First District Councilman Gil Cedillo at the start of the meeting.

“There’s now a process where we can look at city properties, not necessarily as surplus,” but as major economic opportunity sites for the city, he said, adding that the City Council has declared the Lincoln Heights Jail one of those sites.

The three finalists include real estate investor and developer CIM Group, the nonprofit WORKS (Women Organizing Resources Knowledge and Services), and real estate developers Lincoln Properties and 15 Group.

Located on Avenue 19 near the Los Angeles River, the Lincoln Heights Jail is conveniently located within five to 10 minutes of six major freeways. Built in 1931, it 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. It would go on to house a number of nonprofit groups before being closed in 2014 due to safety and environmental concerns.

While each of the finalists has a distinct vision for how to redevelop the site, all three proposals call for a mixed-use approach that includes housing, retail space and green space, among other uses.

CIM’s proposal for “The Linc” envisions a multi-functional space incorporating commercial space and housing, some of which would be low-income. The plan also features restaurants, retail stores and a community garden to serve the residents of the area.

Three finalists hoping to win the bid to redevelop the vacant Lincoln Heights Jail, presented their projects during a public meeting on Aug. 13. (photo by Jay Cortez)

Three finalists hoping to win the bid to redevelop the vacant Lincoln Heights Jail, presented their projects during a public meeting on Aug. 13. (photo by Jay Cortez)

There are also plans to partner with L.A.-based Alma Backyard Farms, a social enterprise “focused on food education, job training for the formerly incarcerated and fresh food access to the local community,” said Helen Leung, co-executive director of LA Mas, a nonprofit group working with CIM.

“Las Alturas,” the proposal from WORKS, a nonprofit organization that supports women and affordable housing, has the support of former CD-1 councilman Ed Reyes. It features low-income housing, an art center, daycare, and gardens along the L.A River to accommodate seniors and children. The facility would also include 47 moderate-income homes and 66 permanent supportive housing units.

“What you see here today is a change of image, when you remove the iron bars and put them outside to allow green to grow, you’re talking about rebirth,” Reyes said in response to questioning from panelists. “We talk about access for the people who can afford to live here, that’s what this building needs. So yes, we want more development along the river, but we can’t forget for who.”

The final project, presented by the Lincoln Properties/Fifteen Group team and titled “The Makers District,” illustrated the developer’s vision for a more accessible district for pedestrians and bicyclists. The’ plan includes direct connections to the L.A. River and would create a “festival street,” where a part of adjacent Avenue 19  would be closed off and traffic rerouted for special events.

Many of those in the audience who spoke during public comment appeared to favor the WORKS’ proposal. Residents also expressed their concerns about gentrification and housing for the homeless.

The WORKS’ project gives more value to the community, said Northeast Los Angeles resident Eunissess Hernandez. “This project really values human life … there are retail opportunities but there’s also daycare,” Hernandez said. “Think about all the people that don’t see their families because they work two or three jobs to maintain their house.”

Each team was questioned by a Community Advisory Panel appointed by First District Councilman Gil Cedillo. The panel, according to Gubaton, includes a diverse mix of representatives from the Lincoln Heights community and public sector.

It includes Laura Acalla with city of Anaheim Community and Economic Development Dept., three members of the Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council, Richard Larsen. Mario Marrufo and Mike Montes, John Menchaca, president and CEO of nonprofit El Arca, and educator and resident Leslie Olmos.

A 40-year resident of Lincoln Heights, Montes complained that the projects did not show enough concern for area youth.

“One of the biggest problems we have is engagement of 16-20 year old youth that don’t feel like they’re apart of the community,” Montes said during his questioning of Lincoln Properties’ proposal. “What actual plans do you have to make them feel that they are a part of something and that this isn’t just going to be a new island in Lincoln Heights, but an actual part of Lincoln Heights?” he said.

In response, the representative from Lincoln Properties said the developer is committed to working with community organizations, adding that the project wouldn’t be successful without a partnership with the community.

Meeting participants were able to fill out and submit comment cards which the panel will take under advisement when it makes it final decision on which project it will recommend to the city council for approval.

In an email Tuesday, Friends of the L.A River Executive Director Marissa Christensen said FOLAR has reviewed all three proposals to determine which is best aligned with criteria in the ARBOR Study and the LA River Revitalization Master Plan, as well as FOLAR’s recently developed set of river-adjacent development criteria.

“In viewing these proposals through that lens, we were elated to see that at least one of the proposals was strong in these categories,” Christensen said.

However, according to FOLAR communications and impact manager Michael Atkins, the group is not yet ready to say which proposal it prefers, but will be releasing a statement in the next few weeks giving more details.

 

Update 11/15/2017 to include Lincoln Properties’ partner in the proposal, real estate developer Fifteen Group.

Proyectos para la renovación de la cárcel incluyen vivienda y negocios

August 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Cerca de 200 personas atendieron a la junta comunitaria el pasado jueves para escuchar las presentaciones de los tres contratistas finalistas que esperan la aprobación de la ciudad para renovar el histórico, pero muy maltratado, edificio donde se encontraba la Cárcel de Lincoln Heights.

La ciudad recibió nueve propuestas en respuesta a su convocatoria (RFP, por sus siglas en inglés) para el Proyecto de Remodelación de la Cárcel de Lincoln Heights. No obstante, la lista la redujeron a tres proyectos que incluyeran ideas que sirvieran a la comunidad, pero que también proporcionaran un crecimiento económico en la zona, entre otros requisitos.

“La ciudad verdaderamente ha estado observando el valor de sus propiedades a través de diferentes lentes”, explico al inicio de la junta Gerald Gubatan, del Departamento de Planeación del Distrito 1, representado por Gil Cedillo.

Cientos de personas atendieron la audiencia pública donde se presentaron las tres propuestas que buscan renovar la Cárcel de Lincoln Heights, un edificio histórico. (Foto por Jay Cortez)

Cientos de personas atendieron la audiencia pública donde se presentaron las tres propuestas que buscan renovar la Cárcel de Lincoln Heights, un edificio histórico. (Foto por Jay Cortez)

“Ahora tenemos un proceso donde podemos mirar las propiedades de la ciudad y no necesariamente como una plusvalía”, pero como un lugar de oportunidad de crecimiento económico para la ciudad, agregó, subrayando que el concejo de Los Ángeles ha declarado la Cárcel de Lincoln Heights como uno de esos sitios.

Las propuestas finalistas incluyen al desarrollador y empresa de bienes raíces CIM Group, la organización no lucrativa WORKS (Women Organizing Resources Knowledge and Services), y un desarrollador de bienes raíces Lincoln Properties.

Localizada en Avenue 19, cerca de Los Angeles River, la Cárcel de Lincoln Heights tiene una ubicación muy conveniente ya que está a una distancia de entre cinco y 10 minutos de seis autopistas importantes de L.A. Construida en 1931, el inmueble refleja un diseño del arte Deco. En 1993, la Comisión de la Herencia Cultural de Los Ángeles designó al edificio como un monumento cultural e histórico de la ciudad (No. 587), elevándolo a un inmueble de alto nivel.

La ciudad dejo de utilizar el edificio como cárcel en 1965, pero después fue utilizado por varias organizaciones no lucrativas antes de ser cerrado en el 2014, debido a preocupaciones del medio ambiente y seguridad.

Aunque los tres finalistas tienen una visión diferente del desarrollo del inmueble, las tres propuestas presentan una combinación de vivienda, negocios y espacios verdes, entre otros usos.

La propuesta de CIM Group llamada ‘The Linc’ proyecta un espacio multifuncional donde se incorporan el comercio y la vivienda –incluyendo hogares para familias de bajos recursos. El plan también incluye restaurantes, tiendas y espacio de jardín para servir a los residentes del área.

El proyecto también tiene planes de asociarse con Alma Backyard Farms, un programa de negocio social que “se enfoca en la educación sobre la comida, entrenamiento los ex reclusos y acceso a alimentos frescos”, dijo Helen Leung, directora ejecutiva adjunta de LA Mas, una organización no lucrativa que trabaja con CIM.

“Las Alturas”, es la propuesta de WORKS, una organización sin fines de lucro que apoya a las mujeres, la vivienda accesible y tiene el apoyo del exconcejal del Distrito 1, Ed Reyes. Este proyecto incluye vivienda de bajos recursos, un centro de arte, guardería y jardines a lo largo del rio de Los Ángeles para niños y personas de la tercera edad. El plan incluirá 47 casas para familias con ingreso moderado y el 66% de viviendas de apoyo permanente.

“Lo que ves el día de hoy –jueves- es un cambio de imagen, cuando remueves las barras de acero y las colocas afuera para permitir el crecimiento de las áreas verdes, entonces estás hablando de un renacimiento [del edificio]”, dijo Reyes en respuesta a los cuestionamientos de los panelistas. “Estamos hablando de acceso para la gente que puede pagar para vivir en este lugar. Esto es lo que este edificio necesita. Así que si queremos más desarrollo a lo largo del rio, entonces no podemos olvidar para quien va dirigido”.

El proyecto final presentado por Lincoln Properties, redibuja la visión del desarrollador con un distrito más accesible para transeúntes y ciclista. Este proyecto incluye una conexión directa a L.A. River y creará una calle para eventos denominada “Festival Street”, donde una parte de la avenida adyacente, San Fernando Road, será cerrada al tráfico para eventos especiales.

Muchos de los asistentes que hablaron durante la audiencia pública parecían a favor de la propuesta de WORKS, mientras que otros residentes expresaron sus preocupaciones sobre una ‘gentrification’ o vivienda para los desamparados.

El plan de WORKS da más valor a la comunidad, dijo Eunissess Hernández, residente del noroeste de Los Ángeles.

“Este proyecto verdaderamente valora la vida humana. Hay oportunidades de negocio, pero también guarderías”, agregó. “Piensa en toda la gente que no puede ver a sus familias porque tienen que trabajar en dos o tres empleos para poder mantener su hogar”.

Todos los desarrolladores fueron cuestionados por un panel compuesto por miembros de la comunidad y elegidos por el concejal Cedillo. De acuerdo a Gubaton, el grupo elegido estaba conformado con una mezcla del sector público y de la comunidad de Lincoln Heights.

Entre los representantes se encontraba Laura Acalla, del Departamento de Desarrollo Económico Comunitario de la ciudad de Anaheim. Tres miembros del Consejo Vecinal de Lincoln Heights, Richard Larsen, Mario Marrufo y Mike Montes. Además de John Menchaca, presidente y CEO de la organización sin fines de lucro El Arca, y la residente y educadora Leslie Olmos.

No obstante, Montes, una residente de Lincoln Height de por lo menos 40 años, se quejó de que ninguno de los proyectos ofrecía suficiente enfoque en la juventud.

“Uno de los problemas más grandes es el de conectarse con los jóvenes entre los 16 y 20 años de edad que no se sienten parte de la comunidad”, dijo Montes durante su cuestionamiento a la propuesta de Lincoln Properties. “Que planes se incluyen que hagan sentir a los jóvenes que son parte de algo. Esto no va hacer solo un proyecto aislado de Lincoln Heights, sino que será parte de la comunidad -de Lincoln Heights.

Los asistentes pudieron someter tarjetas con sus preguntas y comentarios que el panel considerará al momento de que tomen su decisión final sobre los proyectos.

El martes, Marissa Christensen, directora ejecutiva de Friends of L.A. River, le dijo a EGP por correo electrónico que su organización revisó las tres propuestas para determinar qué plan es mejor en la incorporación de los criterios en el estudio ARBOR y el Plan Maestro de Revitalización del Rio de Los Ángeles, así como también el plan FOLAR, recientemente desarrollado con el mismo criterio adyacente al rio.

“Al observar estas tres propuestas a través de estos criterios, estamos complacidos de ver que por lo menos una de las propuestas es muy fuerte en esas categorías”, indico Christensen.

Help Starts With A Home

November 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Juan Ortiz walked through the crowd Monday morning feeling emotional and grateful to be part of the ceremony opening of Teague Terrace, a new permanent supportive housing project.

Most of all, he was glad to have a place to call home.

Ortiz lives in one of 56 apartment units in the new housing complex in the border of Glassell Park and Eagle Rock, which actually opened its doors in August.

Lea este artículo en Español: Veteranos, Indigentes Y Personas de Bajos Recursos Encuentran Nuevo Hogar

Ortiz told EGP depression and other illnesses caused him to lose his home, bakery business and his family. He spent more than two years living on the streets of Long Beach, until a social worker helped him get back on his feet.

The approximately $18 million Teague Terrace is the second Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) community built by nonprofit developer Women Organizing Resources, Knowledge and Services (WORKS). The nonprofit partners with other groups to make sure people not only have a roof over their heads, but also receive the services they need to make the transition from homelessness to tenant.

 

Councilman Cedillo tours the new apartment of Ricky Shapley at Teague Terrace in Glassel Park. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Councilman Cedillo tours the new apartment of Ricky Shapley at Teague Terrace in Glassel Park. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

“We are delighted that this permanent supportive housing is now doing what it was developed to do, house formerly homeless persons and other special needs populations, especially in a neighborhood that has seen the unprecedented impact of gentrification on all income categories,” said WORKS President Channa Grace Monday.

For Kathryne Church and Ricky Shapley, getting the keys to their fourth floor apartment has been  “unbelievable.” The couple said they had been living in their car for over a year before moving into Teague Terrace.

“I still can’t believe I have an apartment,” Church told EGP with a big smile. “We are very happy to have our home,” added Shapley.

Each of the apartments is furnished with a bed, sofa, refrigerator and stove. Tenants also received some pots and pans, toiletries and other basic amenities that people living on the streets often go without.

“It’s well said that the real works starts when somebody gets a house,” said Cesar Lopez, a team leader with Housing Works, a social service agency partnering with WORKS to provide on-site supportive and enrichment services.

From the moment people move in they need help with everything, from furniture to groceries, he explained. We teach them what to buy and what not to buy, Lopez said.

Most tenants receive some type of government aid or benefit, such as social security, disability insurance, Section 8 Housing Voucher or other stipend to help pay for their rent, he said.

As part of the transition from homeless to housed, social workers teach the new tenants how to manage their money, pay their rent and what they need to do tp keep their housing.

“They can live at Teague Terrace for as long as they like, as long as they abide by their lease agreement and stay current with updating their paperwork yearly with the Housing Authority,” Lopez explained.

Both Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis and L.A. City Councilman Gil Cedillo represent Northeast LA and both were on hand Monday for the development’s official opening blessing and ceremony.

Cedillo called the housing project elegant, well-built and something tenants can have pride in.

“I’m so excited to know that people are not only getting a roof over their heads but also of the quality of the commitment from nonprofits and social services to help [residents],” he said.

“We really need to call homelessness a state of emergency and stop acting as if it is a business,” said Cedillo, who back in September joined Mayor Eric Garcetti and six fellow council members to announce the city’s plan to dedicate $100 million to help reduce the number of homeless on city streets.

The homeless population in LA city and county has risen 12% since 2013, according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority.

“Homelessness has become a very important word in our vocabulary,” Sup. Solis told the crowd. “But we want to make affordable housing available for all people that need it in LA County.”

There’s a need for over 500 thousand affordable units in the county, including over 80 thousand needed to house the homeless, Solis said.

Permanent supportive housing projects like Teague Terrace are making a small but important dent in that number.

The facility houses 39 formerly homeless people including some veterans, people with developmental disabilities and people who are being helped by the Dept. of Health Services. The other sixteen residents are either low-income seniors or small families whose income is at or falls below he Area Median Income, which is $1,300 per month for a single individual, said Lopez.

Fifty-eight-year-old Ortiz told EGP he’s working on recovering from his depression and to be OK again.

“I’m very happy, there’s a lot of good people that help me.”

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Twitter @jackiereporter

jgarcia@egpnews.com

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