Greta Cobar

Life Creeping Back in at Lincoln Place

By Greta Cobar

Apartment Investment and Management Company (Aimco) received the loan needed to redevelop Lincoln Place.

Being one of the country’s largest owners and operators of apartments, Aimco received the largest unsubsidized loan ever insured by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. It amounted to $190.7 millions and it was awarded October 12.

The money will be used to re-furbish 696 existing apartments and to build an additional 99 units in 13 new buildings. When all finished, Lincoln Place will have the same number of units as it did in 1951, when its construction was finished. Aimco had bulldozed 13 buildings containing 99 units, and the replacements will not increase density or height at the apartment complex.

“History cannot be re-created,” said Amanda Seward about the construction that could start anytime now. However, the new buildings “have to be somewhat compatible, with the same height and set-back” as those demolished following what is considered to be the biggest eviction day in Los Angeles history, which took place on December 6, 2005.

Construction is not set to complete until the fourth quarter of 2014, with existing units set to be refurbished by the second quarter of 2013.

Although an agreement was reached between Aimco and the Tenants’ Association in May of 2010, evicted tenants were not allowed to return until April of 2012, six and a half years after being evicted. Originally 83 tenants were allowed to return, but some of those had moved on and were not able to re-locate again, and opted to receive monetary compensations instead.

Returning tenants moved in paying their original rent amounts plus “any authorized increases in rent that had been approved by the housing department for low-income units in the interim,” Seward said. All original units will be rented out to new tenants at market value and will be under rent control, which limits the amount of rent increase per year.

The new 99 units that are to be built, however, will be rented out at market value and will not be under rent control, as only those units built before 1979 are required to follow rent-control payment increases.

“Overall I am very pleased with the outcome – that’s what we wanted – for it to be preserved,” Seward said of the agreement between Aimco and the Tenants’ Association. As an attorney specializing in historical preservation, Seward’s volunteer efforts to save the apartment complex were instrumental in saving it.

Lincoln Place is now on the State and National Register of Historic Places and it is designated as a local historical-cultural monument. Constructed between 1949 and 1951, its design team was led by Ralph A. Vaughn, an African-American architect interested in the Garden City Movement, which combined the amenities of urban life with ready access to nature. Its open green space, including almost 400 trees present on the property, will be preserved.

“It is specifically stated in the agreement that Lincoln Place is not to become a gated community,” Seward said. The new swimming pool that the developers are planning to add to the living complex will be gated, however, as all pools have to be by law.

It’s nice to see life creeping back into what has been hundreds of empty apartments for the past almost seven years. Aimco had originally planned to tear down all structures and build taller, bigger buildings that would have further increased the population density and the traffic congestion on Lincoln Blvd. Congratulations and thanks to the hundreds of volunteers who have staged a historical battle that received national attention.

The Beachhead itself was instrumental in winning this long, hard battle by taking a strong stand against another big investor moving into our community and changing it to further maximize his profits.

For a complete list of names, organizations, legal battles and all other events that lead to this victory, see http://bit.ly/TQS5i0.

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