L.A. County’s historic General Hospital is set to be converted into affordable housing
Los Angeles County officials are moving forward with a plan to convert the mostly vacant General Hospital building, on the site of L.A. County-USC Medical Center, into affordable housing units.
The Board of Supervisors approved a motion Tuesday to begin creating construction and financial plans for the project. The motion directs county departments to report back within four months on a potential timeline and allocate up to $194.7 million in funding for the project, according to a news release from Supervisor Hilda Solis.
For the record:9:37 a.m. Aug. 1, 2022
An earlier version of this article included a photo caption that said the historic Art Deco building could be overhauled to include 184 market-rate units and 371 affordable units. The number of housing units and their allocation has not been determined yet, county officials said.
The article also said Phase 3 of the hospital’s redevelopment could begin in 2024 with a target completion of 2026. Construction of Phase 3 of the Restorative Care Village could begin in 2024 with a target completion of 2026, but there is currently no timetable for the redevelopment of General Hospital.
“Cementing our commitment to its restoration and reuse can aid in our response to the housing crisis our region is experiencing, as well as provide exceptional health services — carrying on the hospital’s over 150-year-old mission,” said Solis, who introduced the motion.
The General Hospital project is part of the Restorative Care Village proposal, a county effort that began in 2017 with the goal of combining resources for homelessness, unemployment, mental health and substance abuse on the County-USC campus. Under the proposal, General Hospital could be overhauled to include 184 market-rate units and 371 affordable units.
A spokesperson for Solis’ office said the project will help provide residential treatment and services for housing-insecure people who may need a place to recover after receiving medical care.
The Restorative Care Village project has three phases. Phase 1 was recently completed with the 96-bed Recuperative Care Center, which will offer interim supportive housing for some people released from L.A. County health facilities, and the 64-bed Residential Treatment Programs, which will provide intensive treatment for patients discharged from psychiatric care.
Phase 2 will include the construction of facilities for community resources and recreation, employment services and psychiatric urgent care.
Construction of Phase 3 of the Restorative Care Village could begin in 2024 with a target completion of 2026.
There currently is no timetable for the redevelopment of General Hospital as L.A. County has not yet released a request for the proposal.
The project will also allow for the possibility for community and commercial space, such as child care, a gym or a grocery store, according to Solis’ office.
Developers will reach out to local communities for applicants for General Hospital’s affordable housing units.
General Hospital’s 19-story, 1.2 million-square-foot Art Deco building opened in 1934 about a mile and a half from downtown Los Angeles. Due to its proximity to skid row and other underserved communities, the hospital became a provider of medical services for unhoused and low-income residents.
In January 1994, the hospital was damaged by the Northridge earthquake and fell out of compliance with fire safety and earthquake codes.
The new L.A. County-USC Medical Center complex was erected next door, and in 2008, operations were moved.
Many of the 3,000 people and families in L.A. who have received the emergency vouchers remain in limbo.
Most of the original General Hospital building remains unused, though its lower floors are home to the Wellness Center, a U.S. Navy medical training center and several county departments.
In November 2018, Solis wrote a motion directing a feasibility study for the reuse of the building. The results of the study, which were presented to the board in April of this year, recommended that the hospital be repurposed to include hundreds of affordable housing units and expand services from the Wellness Center.
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