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‘Haunted’ Historic L.A. hospital site to be turned into senior apartments

A historic — and some say haunted — Los Angeles hospital that has been closed for two decades is set to be converted into apartments for very low-revenue seniors in a $40-million makeover.

Linda Vista Community Hospital is an imposing relic from the days when railroads took care of their sick and injured staff in firm facilities. Originally known as Santa Fe Coast Lines Hospital, it was built for employees of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway in Boyle Heights, a blue-collar neighborhood east of the city’s rail yards and property to a lot of railroad workers.

The unique hospital opened in 1905. It was razed and rebuilt on the same site in the mid-1920s, and additions had been made through 1939.

Even though the hospital closed in 1991, the six-story complex survives with its dignity largely intact — with peeling paint and roosting pigeons including to tales of sudden chilly drafts and paranormal activity inside.

Hallways are broad with coved ceilings meant to evoke the inside of a railroad caboose. Former employees dining halls and patient rooms are outfitted in colorful Santa Fe tile. The white concrete edifice commands a sloping four-acre site on St. Louis Street overlooking Hollenbeck Park and the downtown Los Angeles skyline.

“It has such a presence sitting on that massive lawn,” stated Wade Killefer, the architect overseeing the hospital’s conversion.

Renovation is set to start subsequent month in an adjacent structure. The challenge, he stated, “is the identical as it is with every wonderful historic building: how not to screw it up.”

The steward of Linda Vista’s comeback is Amcal Multi-Housing Inc., an reasonably priced housing developer in Agoura Hills. It expects to do well where previous efforts to convert Linda Vista to residential use fell brief, like a pre-housing-crash plan to turn it into condominiums. One huge hurdle is the require to take away hazardous lead and asbestos at a price of about $4 million.

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