The fate of four houses on the east side of the 800 block Crenshaw hang in the balance as the developer, Camille Zeitouny of Zeitouny Construction, considers his application for construction of a new 5-story, 44-unit condominium building at 850 S. Crenshaw.
The houses, 850, 844, 836 and 838 were slated for demolition but neighbors Bineam Kibreab and Amanda Hayes of Bronson Ave. were able to temporarily prevent the demolition with the assistance of Ken Bernstein of the Office of Historic Resources, Los Angeles Dept. of Building and Safety, LAPD, and Councilman Tom LaBonge among others.
“We’d like to see something built on the site that’s in scale with the neighborhood,” said Bineam Kibreab, who lives directly behind the proposed project on Bronson.
“We bought our house almost five years ago because we love the neighborhood,” said Amanda Hayes-Kibreab. “There are lots of people moving in with young families and we hope the city will take another look at these 100 year-old houses to see if they should be saved.”
SurveyLA, the citywide historic resources survey did not identify the houses as potentially eligible for historic designation during the survey of the Wilshire Community Plan Area conducted as part of their application for the Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) explained Lambert Giessinger, Historic Preservation Architect for the Office of Historic Resources.
But since the developer is also seeking entitlements (a 35% density bonus allowable for providing “very low income” units that would increase the number of units from 32 to 44) that trigger environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), Giessinger is recommending the Planning Department request a more detailed historic resources assessment to confirm or refute the SurveyLA results.
“Also under CEQA, the proposed project will have to be analyzed for potential impacts to the adjacent Wilshire Park Historic Preservation Overlay Zone and National Register Historic District,” Giessinger told the Buzz in an email.
Representatives for the developer presented plans for the project to the Land Use Committee of the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council in February seeking support for a tract map. No vote was taken but members of the committee expressed concerns about the scale of the project which could be as high as four stories and 45 feet tall in this R-3 area even though there are single-family homes in an Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) and National Register historic area immediately behind the project.
“Until I review the report, I cannot comment on the fate of the houses in question,” said Giessinger. However, he noted the developer has indicated that “he may not seek entitlements and do a by-right project, in which case no environmental assessment would be required and the demolition and new construction could proceed without any review.”
Stay tuned for updates on this project.