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LA's Creepy Old Lincoln Heights Jail to Be Brought Back to Life

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A hotel, an urban farm, and live/work lofts are just a few of myriad possibilities

Lincoln Heights Jail- supposedly haunted. #artdeco #losangeles

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The old Lincoln Heights Jail, a Los Angeles city landmark and frequent film set/urban exploration playground, hasn't been forgotten. A new push to activate the building has come in the form of a Request for Interest from the city, which is hoping to see the 229,000-square-foot, Art Deco structure turned into, well, something—they've put out the call for ideas for the former jail, and even threw a few out themselves to get the ball rolling, says Eastsider LA.

The city says that possible uses for the city-owned, LA River-adjacent jail site could be anything from an urban farm (which was proposed back in 2012) to live/work lofts to adaptive reuse to a hotel. (If someone can gussy up the nightmarish Cecil Hotel, why not turn an old jail into a place for tourists to sleep?)

The jail property just so happens to be included in both the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan and the city's designated Cleantech Corridor, so there are rules and opportunities associated with both of those areas in play too. The triangular lot is right along the LA River, which is awaiting its own revitalization.

The request also lists the hurdles that any project on the site will have to overcome: "the historic status of the property, limited parking area, the applicable building codes, and zoning code."

Also, since the old building has been vacant for long stretches of time, it's in need of some serious "aviary waste abatement" (imagine all those years and years of accumulated bird poop) and hazardous old materials like lead and asbestos will have to be removed too.

The Lincoln Heights Jail was built in 1931, and was added to in 1949, according to the request. Decommissioned as a jail in 1965, it is an LA Historic-Cultural Landmark.

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