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SCI-Arc Completes Purchase of Arts District Campus

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, April 22, 2011, at 12:41AM
SCI-Arc Campus Eric Richardson

SCI-Arc now owns its quarter-mile long campus, renovated from L.A.'s original 1907 Santa Fe Rail Freight Terminal.

After 39 years, the Southern California Institute of Architecture finally has a home to call its own.

The school on Thursday closed a deal to purchase its Arts District campus from Legendary Investors Group, who in January acquired the site as part of Meruelo Maddux's bankruptcy proceedings.

A deal that had been negotiated before the transfer allowed the school to purchase its 4.5 acre site and historic 100,000-square-foot depot for $23.1 million.

The 1907 structure—which is 1,250 feet long—was renovated in 2000 and 2001, with the first SCI-Arc classes meeting inside in September of 2001.

It was only six years ago that there were fears the school would be forced to relocate. SCI-Arc fought an unsuccessful legal battle to complete a 2004 purchase of the site, which instead went to Meruelo.

In a release sent out Thursday evening, the school said that the purchase now allows it to become "a permanent player with a significant stake and role in the long-term revitalization of the [Arts District] area."

That's good news to those involved in the neighborhood.

"The school has always occupied a unique position in the Arts District as a voice that’s informed countless discussions about the vision for the future of the area," said Estela Lopez, director of the Central City East Association, the organization that runs the Arts District BID.

"Now they are part of actually creating the future they’ve envisioned, and that’s a gift not only to the Arts District but to Los Angeles.

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