Historic Echo Park
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Eric Alderete
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FROM THE GARMENT CITIZEN NEWSPAPER

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The famed Angelus Temple plans to raze a row of residential buildings at the edge of Echo Park’s landmark lake to make room for a multi-story parking lot, according to city officials.
The project apparently calls for the demolition of several multi-unit rental properties along the west side of LeMoyne Street. The stretch of Lemoyne is south of Sunset Boulevard and north of Park Avenue.
The plan for the parking lot is said to extend north on LeMoyne to the edge of a facility occupied by El Centro del Pueblo, a non-profit social services organization. That would put the parking structure somewhere between 100 and 200 feet south of Sunset Boulevard, where shops and restaurants accent the thoroughfare, most in two-story buildings.
Angelus Temple currently owns all of the properties involved in the project.
Josh Kamensky, spokesperson for 13th District Los Angeles City Councilmember Eric Garcetti, who represents the Echo Park district, confirmed the basic outlines of the plans by the Angelus Temple.
Angelus Temple officials did not return calls seeking comment.
Kamensky said Angelus Temple officials plan to help with the relocation of the residents of the properties that appear in line for the wrecking ball. It remained unclear at presstime how much aid would be offered, or whether such assistance would be extended to all of the tenants.
Angelus Temple’s ownership of the property means that it is not required to seek any city approvals for razing the residential properties, according to Kamensky, who said there are also no requirements to provide any special relocation aid to tenants.
“The project is in compliance with all laws, the housing has not fallen under any historic preservation category,” said Kamensky.
Echo Park is one of many districts around the city that has felt the crunch of a housing shortage in recent years—a trend compounded for lower-income residents by the recent streak of rising real estate markets. The hot real estate market has had an outsized effect in Echo Park, too, since the area has become known as a relatively chic alternative for young professionals.
Some longtime residents of Echo Park have complained about the rising prices and the trend toward “gentrification”—a term used to describe the process that often begins when some inner-city neighborhoods attract the attention of young and relatively wealthy professionals, drawing newcomers who in turn attract upscale restaurants and service providers.
Those complaints have led to some action from city officials. Garcetti played a key role in passing a city ordinance that limits the ability of landlords to evict tenants in order to cash in on gentrification, instituting rent controls and other regulations to offer some safeguards to some longtime residents.
Garcetti spokesperson Kamensky said “there has not been any great hullabaloo” over the Angelus Temple’s plans for the new parking lot.
“It’s a project, one of many,” Kamensky said. “Buildings will rise, buildings will fall—this is Los Angeles.”
Kamensky added, however, that Garcetti is committed to serving as a “sounding board if anyone does have a problem” with the plans for the parking lot.
The 5,000-seat Angelus Temple is affiliated with the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, a well-known Protestant denominations in the U.S.
The church and the silver-domed temple in Echo Park were founded by Aimee Semple McPherson, who gained a large following with her preaching starting around 1915—a run of fame that eventually included popular radio broadcasts and lasted up to her death in 1944.
The International Foursquare Gospel Church now has a worldwide presence, with headquarters near the Angelus Temple in Echo Park.
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