As Los Angeles continues to grapple with it’s housing woes, developers sometimes walk a fine line between satisfying a voracious appetite for new housing and dramatically changing the historic character of the neighborhoods in which they build. In the mad dash to put a new roof over the heads of thousands of Angelenos, iconic architecture can sometimes be bullied out of existence if not for the saving grace of concerned neighbors and well connected allies coming to their rescue.
In Echo Park, Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell is joining forces with residents fighting to save seven Pre-World War II bungalows from demolition.
Developer Bixel House LLC has filed plans with the city to tear down the bungalows located at 1456 North Echo Park Avenue and replace them with 12 new three-story small lot single family homes.
To put a halt to construction, resident Lena Kouyoumdjian has nominated the Wurfl Court bungalows for Historic Cultural Monument status. Built by MGM prop man Louis Wurfl in 1922, the bungalows are described by Kouyoumdjian as “a rich piece of Echo Park history” and “quintessentially Los Angeles.”
Kouyoumdjian and her neighbors have garnered a powerful ally in their battle with the wrecking ball. O’Farrell says the new development, “flies in the face of our preservation efforts, as well as my work to revise the City’s Small Lot Subdivision ordinance.”
The councilman is urging supporters to attend this morning’s City Cultural Heritage Commission meeting to show support for historic designation. The commission will take up the issue at 10 a.m. at Los Angeles City Hall, room 1010. You may also dial into the meeting at (213) 621-CITY.