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Repurposing a property—LA style

May 17, 2012
by Sandra Hoban
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Old buildings are finding new life across the country. Whether buildings are abandoned, underused or obsolete, architects and designers are repurposing hotels, discount stores and other unusual venues as long-term care facilities.

In Los Angeles,  the historic 107-year-old Linda Vista Community Hospital is putting on a new face. The hospital, featured in many movies, television shows and music videos with plots of murder and mayhem, is being converted to low-income senior living apartments. So what’s so unusual? Well, it is said to be haunted. Originally built by the Topeka & Santa Fe Railway as a hospital to care for its employees and families, Linda Vista is a dignified—yet abandoned—structure positioned on a sloping four-acre site.

While the hospital was built in grand style with wide coved hallways and colorful tiles in dining halls and resident rooms, Hollywood set designers have left a lot of props and other movie-making paraphernalia  behind—even pretend jail cells, reports say. It is said that live wolves once ran through its corridors.

Some paranormal stories have emerged. True or not, it’s not for me to say. Caretaker Francis Kortekaas reported that he once saw a sink in the hospital's controlled by a leg-operated lever, turn itself on and off. Another incident he recounts is the feeling of holding a child’s hand, which felt like his daughter's hand.

Next month, Amcal Multi-Housing will begin the project by converting the adjoining nurses’ residence into 23 senior apartments.

Beginning next year, Amcal will begin work on the hospital building and convert the upper floors into 74 senior apartments.

The project has received $9 million in federal funds to rehab this abandoned property in a neighborhood revitalization effort. About $4 million will be put to removing lead and asbestos from the building. When complete, renovation will be accented with refreshed landscaping and a reflection pool.

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Sandra Hoban

Managing Editor

Sandra Hoban

@SandiHoban

www.ltlmagazine.com

Sandra Hoban has been on Long-Term Living’s editorial staff for 17 years. She is one of...