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Deal brokered to potentially preserve landmark bungalow court in Beverly Grove

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A small-lot development would raze a landmarked 1920s bungalow court, but residents and the city councilmember are trying to save it

A rendering of a row of white townhouses with balconies on their top floors. The sidewalk and street are visible in front of the townhouses.
A rendering of the proposed project.
Via City Clerk’s Office

An agreement forged by a city councilmember, a property owner, and a group of residents has bought a bit of time for a landmarked bungalow court in Beverly Grove—but it might be razed anyway.

The City Council’s planning and land use management committee voted Tuesday to approve plans for eight small-lot homes that would replace the Edinburgh Bungalow Court, located near Melrose and Fairfax.

But the committee’s decision was made after a group of neighbors and a representative for Councilmember Paul Koretz, who represents the area, shared that Koretz had brokered a deal that would buy some time for it to potentially be sold to a buyer who wanted to preserve it.

In light of the deal, Aviv Kleinman, a planning deputy in Koretz’s office, asked the committee to approve appeals that had been filed against the project so the development could move forward.

Kleinman told the committee that concerned neighbors and the developer had come to an agreement that would establish a “privately agreed-upon waiting period” to try and find a buyer for the property.

If a buyer was not found, the developer could proceed with a project but would modify its design to include Spanish-style design elements reminiscent of those featured on the 1920s-era bungalow court.

A photo of the bunglow court now that shows it surrounded by a green chainlink fence. The windows and doors are boarded up. The units are empty.
The bungalow court on Edinburgh Avenue is empty.
Google Maps

The bungalow court was named a city landmark in 2016, for its exemplary representation of bungalow courts of the 1920s, when Hollywood was booming and this type of construction became popular. Bungalow courts as a whole are rapidly disappearing, as rising property values incentivize property owners to demolish them and replace them with other more profitable developments.

The development as proposed would add eight small-lot homes, each three stories tall, with three bedrooms, two covered parking spaces, and private outdoor spaces.

Both the central advisory agency and the central area planning commission had denied a vesting tentative tract map for the small lot project because it would require the demolition of the bungalow court. The vesting tentative tract map is critical to the project because, according to a city planning report, it would “subdivide the parcel into eight lots... in order to support development of a small lot subdivision.”

The developer, BLDG Edinburgh, argued that the otherwise totally compliant project was denied because of the city’s “bias to save a decrepit building at any costs” and nothing more. It also argued in planning documents that preservation was not even possible for the buildings on the property.

John Mottishaw, who owns property across from the project site, also appealed the project. His appeal stated that the proposed housing project would be a much better use for the site than the bungalows.

“This property, in its current state, brings blight and danger to the neighborhood, despite best efforts to protect them by the property owners,” Mottishaw wrote in his appeal.