Los Angeles Historic Landmark Getting A Facelift

East LA Community Corporation and Councilmember Jos? Huizar kick off a $24.6 million restoration of The Boyle Hotel-Cummings Block.

More than 100 guests enjoyed mariachis music as Los Angeles City Councilmember Jos? Huizar and Maria Cabildo, President of the East LA Community Corporation (ELACC), kicked off the $24.6 million restoration of the historic Boyle Hotel-Cummings Block, one of Los Angeles oldest buildings.

First constructed in 1889 by George Cummings, work is set to begin on a complete rehabilitation of the building by ELACC, replacing all major systems and restoring the historic fa?ade and turret. The resulting building will be a mixed-use development featuring 32 units of affordable housing for mariachis and other low income residents.

The transformed building will serve, along with Mariachi Plaza, as a true gateway to the Eastside.

"This housing development is the first for this historic intersection," said Maria Cabildo, ELACC President. "It is a shining example of what is possible when the community, developers and elected officials work together on a vision for the future of our neighborhood. This project will provide much-needed quality affordable housing for local residents while supporting and uplifting the strong Mariachi culture of Boyle Heights."

The Boyle Hotel-Cummings Block has great historical and cultural value to the City of Los Angeles and the Boyle Heights neighborhood. Through the years, the building became occupied mainly by Mariachis looking to secure work across the street at Mariachi Plaza, long known as a location where people come from all over to hire mariachis for weddings, quincea?eras and birthday parties.

Councilmember Huizar helped facilitate nearly $8 million in City and Metro funding for the project, as well as assisting with community outreach and the permit and entitlement process. ?

"Boyle Heights, one of the City's oldest and most storied suburbs, is experiencing a period of unprecedented investment," said Councilmember Jos? Huizar. "From the Metro Gold Line, to a new police station, four new schools, improvements to parks, libraries and pools, we've seen well over $1.4 billion in public improvements in this neighborhood. Today, with this renovation of the Boyle Hotel, we are creating new history for this already historic neighborhood. I applaud ELACC for pushing this essential community project forward in support of our local residents and mariachis."

In December of 2006, when ELACC acquired the property the tide began to turn for this building. Repairs were made to bring it up to code. Tenants were engaged in the planning for the development and provided relocation for the upcoming construction period. All of the tenants have the first right of return and were provided workshops for returning to the building.

Juana Gonzalez, who lived in the building, shared her enthusiasm for the project.

"I am excited to see work start on the building and ready to come back once it is completed," she said.

The Boyle Hotel-Cummings Block development is part of a new gateway project for Boyle Heights and the greater East Los Angeles area. The development includes a completely new building west of the hotel and a total of 51 quality affordable housing units. There will be 4,100 square feet of commercial space, rehearsal space for Mariachis and a Mariachi center. Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2012.

Just last week, Councilmember Huizar joined Metro CEO Art Leahy and local Boyle Heights' artists and residents to announce the $12 million portion of the $30 million Measure R Eastside Access Project. The Gold Line related project will bring $12 million of pedestrian/bicycle improvements along First Street, including streetscape, sidewalk, art, lighting and signage improvements to the area surrounding the Gold Line, which is home to a burgeoning Arts District.

The $24 million Boyle Hotel-Cummings Block development is the first of four planned developments surrounding the Metro Mariachi Plaza Gold Line station.


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by Edward Headington (few years ago!)

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