LOS ANGELES MAYOR Antonio Villaraigosa and City Councilman Bill Rosendahl (left) recalled the yearslong battle toward a settlement agreement at Lincoln Place, where 696 apartments will be rehabilitated and 99 new units will be constructed, creating 600 to 800 jobs.

A new era at the Lincoln Place apartment complex in Venice is now underway.
Months after dozens of former tenants moved back to the 38-acre garden-style complex into newly remodeled apartment units, the property owner is moving ahead with a redevelopment years in the making that will allow for the return of other ex-tenants and the addition of hundreds of new residents.
In all, the Apartment Investment and Management Company (Aimco) is redeveloping the post-World War II era property east of Lincoln Boulevard by rehabilitating 45 buildings with 696 apartments and constructing 99 new units on vacant parcels. The makeover will restore the residential site to its original total of 795 units.
The first phase of the project was completed in April with the remodel of four buildings and 65 units, most of which were re-leased to returning residents. Lincoln Place is on the national and state Register of Historic Places, and its buildings will be rehabilitated in accordance with the Secretary of Interior’s standards for the treatment of historic properties, according to Aimco.
Representatives of the property owner held a ceremonial groundbreaking Nov. 15 with Los Angeles city officials for the remainder of the redevelopment project, noting they are pleased to finally be able to move forward.
“When we acquired (the property) in 2004 we didn’t fully appreciate the importance and historical significance of Lincoln Place not only to Venice but Los Angeles,” said Aimco Chief Administrative Officer Miles Cortez. “We honor that history today but we are starting a new chapter for a revival that preserves the historic features and also transforms it into a model of sustainable living.”
The rehabilitation of Lincoln Place comes nearly seven years after more than 80 tenants were locked out of their homes in December 2005 in what is considered the largest eviction lockout in a single day in Los Angeles history. The evictions occurred as part of a former redevelopment plan.
A 2010 settlement between the city and Aimco ended litigation and allowed for the return of up to 83 former households at pre-eviction rental rates, as well as the restoration of 696 vacant apartments, including 668 “historic eligible units,” to market as rent-controlled units. City officials said the deal marked the largest ever restoration of rent-stabilized housing to the city’s rental market.
Under the agreement, AIMCO will construct 99 new units that are not subject to the rent control law.
City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who had taken office only months before the 2005 evictions, said he vividly recalls that event, which motivated him to take action to ensure that residents would not lose their homes.
“That stuck in my heart and it’s been in my heart ever since,” Rosendahl said of the lockouts. “For me it’s gratifying to know that there are now 50 units here with former tenants in them that will stay for perpetuity. It’s a win-win.
“I am honored to have played a role in making this project come to life.”
The $140 million redevelopment plan is being funded with a $190.8 million Federal Housing Administration-insured loan that represents the largest FHA Section 221(d)(4) unsubsidized loan ever insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to Aimco.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was also involved in the effort to reach a settlement, praised the project for its sustainable living features, preservation of an historic site and creation of 600 to 800 jobs.
“This is going to be a real transformative project and a real benefit to the city,” said Villaraigosa, adding that it was realized due to the perseverance of those involved.
Some former tenants who have already moved in to their remodeled units were delighted to have come back home to Lincoln Place after several years.
“There is a certain sense that it’s almost like I never left,” said Jeffrey Nash, a 12-year resident prior to the evictions. “Being back on the Westside seems so natural.”
Dan Matula, Aimco executive vice president of redevelopment and construction services, said that Lincoln Place is “a very special place both in location and make-up.” Aimco executives noted how the development is in close proximity to the beach, Santa Monica, Marina del Rey and Los Angeles International Airport and provides easy access to freeways and future light rail lines.
Among the amenities of the redeveloped complex will be a 6,100-square foot fitness center, outdoor pool, a 5,000-square foot leasing center, extensive landscape and site improvements and an open park area with barbeque and picnic areas. The site’s Elkgrove Circle will also be converted to a central park and community gathering space.
The project is slated to be completed by the end of 2014. §