95-Year-Old Bungalows Threatened With Demolition, Saved

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Echo Park bungalows saved from demolition
The controlled demolition of a home made uninhabitable by the earthquake in central Italia

A set of 95-year-old bungalows in Echo Park threatened with demolition were given historic-cultural monument status today by the Los Angeles City Council to help save them from the wrecking ball.

A Developer Wants To Tear Them Down

A developer who bought the Wurfl Court bungalows at 1450-1456 Echo Park
Ave. filed an application last year with the city to tear them down and build a
dozen single-family homes in their place.

The move was met with strong opposition from City Councilman Mitch
O’Farrell, who represents the area.

A Neighbor Asked For Landmark Status For The Buildings

A resident in the neighborhood, Lena Kouyoumdjian, filed the application
for landmark status for the bungalows, and O’Farrell threw his support behind
the effort.

The council approved the designation on a 10-0 vote, and in doing so
agreed with the recommendation of the Cultural Heritage Commission.

“Bungalow Courts Are The City’s Signature Multi-Family Housing”

“Today the council voted to designate Wurfl Court as a city historic
cultural monument. Bungalow courts are the city’s signature multi-family
housing, and I look forward to working with the community on further updates to
city codes that strike a balance and preserve the rich architectural identity
in the 13th District while encouraging reasonable growth and development,”
O’Farrell said.

The Developer Argued Against The Designation

The owner of the bungalows, Sam Mark, argued that they did not meet any
of the criteria for preservation. He hired Margarita Jerabek, director of
historic resources for an environmental planning and design firm called
Environmental Science Associate, to produce a report on the property.

The report noted that Survey LA, the citywide historic survey that
identified and documented significant historic resources, did not identify
Wurfl Court as meeting eligibility standards as a potential historic-cultural
monument.

The Bungalows Are Not A Notable Work Of A Significant Architect

The bungalows are not a notable work of a significant architect and have
undergone significant renovations over the decades, according to Jerabek’s
report, which says they are essentially an “altered and undistinguished” set
of bungalows that “did not lead or influence events or patterns of history;
therefore the subject does not appear eligible for designation.”

The Designation Does Not Forbid Demolition Outright

While a landmark designation ensures a more thorough review of a
demolition proposal, it does not prohibit demolition outright, although an
environmental impact report must be prepared that also assesses the feasibility
of alternatives to demolition.

Mark could not be reached for comment as to his plans for Wurfl Court in
light of the new landmark designation.

City News Service.
Photo by: fotografiche

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95-Year-Old Bungalows Threatened With Demolition, Saved
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95-Year-Old Bungalows Threatened With Demolition, Saved
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A set of 95-year-old bungalows in Echo Park threatened with demolition were given historic-cultural monument status today by the Los Angeles City Council to help save them from the wrecking ball.
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