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Wyvernwood Slated For Redevelopment PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jennifer Morales   
Friday, 11 January 2008
The historic 1930s Wyvernwood Apartments in Boyle Heights - the first of Los Angeles' "garden city" housing projects - is slated for redevelopment by owner, Fifteen Group Land & Development.  The 60-acre site currently has 1,175 rental apartment units that have been continuously occupied since the project was completed in 1939.  The redevelopment plans involve completely replacing the existing structures with condominiums, apartments and retail space, some housed in 24-story high-rises.

Designed by architects Witmer & Watson, the Wyvernwood project was the largest project insured by FHA at the time of its construction, and was required to meet FHA rental policies, originally renting for $30 to $50 per month.  Rents now are between $1225 and $1540 per month and are expected to increase significantly in the new development, however 15% of the units will be made "affordable" under city guidelines.  

The concept of garden city communities with self-contained living, school, play, business and social areas grew out of ideas put forth by Ebenezer Howard in his 1902 book, "Garden Cities of Tomorrow".  Designed as an independent, self-contained community, Wyvernwood had its own school, play areas, recreational facilities, business district and multi-family housing.  Other local examples of garden apartment type development in Los Angeles are the Lincoln Place Apartments in Venice, built in 1951, Village Green in Baldwin Hills, a National Historic Landmark constructed in 1941, and Chase Knolls in Sherman Oaks, a designated L.A. Historic-Cultural Monument, erected in the late 1940s.

The Wyvernwood Apartments have been formally determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, so the project should be subject to review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  Construction is not expected to begin for at least 2 years and Fifteen Group expects to complete construction around 2020.  

"Thursday the residents got word about dramatic changes ahead, as urban redevelopment -- already remaking Hollywood, Echo Park and downtown -- appears ready to leap across the Los Angeles River. And with it comes excitement and angst about how gentrification will change the old neighborhood."

"The Miami investment firm that has owned Wyvernwood since 1998 announced plans for a $2-billion redevelopment that would nearly quadruple its size by 2020. By then, all 1,187 existing units would be replaced with 4,400 environmentally sensitive condominiums and apartments, plus retail space."

Source:  Los Angeles Times, Towering ambitions for Boyle Heights
By Roger Vincent, 11 January, 2008

Last Updated ( Monday, 14 January 2008 )

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