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City Moving Toward Purchase of Hope Street Park Space

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, September 09, 2011, at 07:51AM
1130 S. Hope 2010 Eric Richardson

The City of Los Angeles hopes to purchase the vacant 38-unit FRA Apartments and tear it down to create a 0.18-acre park.

A boarded-up apartment building is once again in the city's sights as a new park space for the South Park neighborhood.

On Wednesday, the city's parks commissioners gave staff the go-ahead to negotiate a purchase of 1130 S. Hope, a 0.18-acre property the city and neighborhood stakeholders have had in their sights for a park since 2005.

$2 million in Quimby funds have been set aside for the acquisition, design and build-out, said Eva Kandarpa Behrend, spokeswoman for Councilwoman Jan Perry.

The property and the former 38-unit FRA Apartments have a troubled history.

In 1993, property owner Daniel Lee, 61, was charged with 21 counts of allowing slum conditions in the building, which he had owned since 1986. Violations included cockroach and rodent infestations, broken windows, bad plumbing, faulty electrical systems, unsanitary bathrooms and damaged fire equipment. Lee pled no contest to 10 of those counts in 1993, months after he was ordered to spend 30 days under house arrest in another of his slum properties at 916 S. Georgia Street.

Lee was required to sell the property to a non-profit that helps the homeless. He did so, but that only led to 15 years of fighting over the property's title.

In fact, that confusion was one of the major factors to scuttle the city's earlier attempts to purchase the property. The city negotiated a purchase between 2005 and 2008, but was never able to establish a clear ownership picture and move forward.

Once a final purchase agreement has been negotiated, the item will return to the parks commissioners for one last approval. Community meetings to design park features would take place after the purchase.

Quimby funds, the open-space fee charged to condo developers, were also used in the 2009 purchase of a parking lot on Spring Street. After a community planning process, the Spring Street Park is scheduled to break ground in the upcoming weeks.

Recreation and Parks Board Report

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