UCLA is planning on putting Bel Air's one and a half acre Hannah Carter Japanese Garden (and an adjacent house) on the market next month and has already started taking out some of the objects at the site. The garden was donated to the university in the sixties by a former chair of the UC Board of Regents and named after his wife, but has been troublesome due to "rising maintenance costs, deferred maintenance, and the lack of attendance due to limited parking," according to the LA Conservancy, which is starting an effort to save the site. A court ruling last year allowed UCLA to remove "in perpetuity" from the 1964 donation agreement--the school now hopes to make about $5.7 million from the sale and put the money toward academic programs.
The land is zoned agricultural, but the Conservancy says it could be used for a single family house and that UCLA is "not planning to sell the garden with any protective covenants or requirements calling for it to be maintained or preserved." According to the LA Times, the school is planning to keep some of the garden's significant objects, including a pagoda and a Buddha statue, at the Folwer Museum or other campus spots. The garden, designed by Japanese landscape architect Nagao Sakurai, includes a main gate, shrine, bridges, and a garden house for tea ceremonies made in Kyoto. The Conservancy wants interested folks to contact UCLA's chancellor and urge that the school stop the sale and work on some sort of partnership to keep the garden intact. There's also a community meeting on the matter tomorrow at 5 pm at the Community Magnet School Auditorium. Image of garden house via openspacesfengshui.com
· Preservation Alerts and Issues [LA Conservancy]