Veteran's Memorial Square in Highland Park as of 4.18.2019 | Photo by Bill Hendrickson

Private Property, Public Space: An Update

2019 Editions Featured Front Page May More News Real Estate

By Bill Hendrickson

There are no completion dates in sight for some of the area’s most prominent developments, both private and public.

Construction at Pillarhenge, the ugly expanse of concrete columns on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock, has yet to qualify for the necessary building permits.

A plan from 2018 to build housing on five public parking lots in Lincoln Heights is awaiting a zoning change that may never come. The renovation of the desecrated Veterans Memorial Square at the intersection of Figueroa Street and York Boulevard in Highland Park has been slow and fitful.
Here’s the latest:


As anyone can see, virtually nothing has changed at the site for years. The plan calls for a four-story, 31-unit apartment building, over two levels of commercial and parking space.  

The Boulevard Sentinel recently called Imad Boukai, the Orange County businessman who owns the property, to ask about what is going on. The calls were not returned.

Public records at the L.A. Department of Building and Safety indicate the Boukai had made some corrections to his development plan as recently as December 2018 and is awaiting clearance from the Building Department on a number of uncleared items.

Among the items not yet been cleared as of late April are construction near power lines, building over three stories and excavating more than five feet deep. Items that have been cleared include bicycle parking and sewer availability.

The Building Department would not comment on the outlook for a permit to build the project.  Neither would the owner. 

Lincoln Heights Parking Lots to Housing?:

A plan by the City to build housing on five public parking lots in Lincoln Heights is “in a holding pattern,” according to Channa Grace, head of W.O.R.K.S., one of the affordable housing developers hired to do the job.

The hold comes after a year in which the project developers held six public meetings to address protests from residents who said their community was being unfairly singled out. The developers explained that the project would be a mix of affordable housing and permanent supportive housing for homeless people. They also sought input from community members on what they would most like to see in the new developments.

It turns out, however, that the City must still work out complex zoning and financial issues to allow for the envisioned apartment buildings to be built on the properties.



Highland Park Veterans Memorial Square:

Last year, when Councilmember Gil Cedillo wrested money to renovate the square from the Mayor’s approved city budget, the goal was to complete the job in February 2019.

A spokesperson for Cedillo now acknowledges that was too ambitious because city agencies and contractors just don’t move that fast. At this point, it would be a stretch to get it done by Memorial Day.

The benches around the square have been removed and the area has been fenced off, though it’s unclear if those steps have been taken in order to build new seating options or simply to dissuade the area’s homeless population from congregating and sleeping there.











Share the News

1 thought on “Private Property, Public Space: An Update

  1. I found it interesting how you mentioned how controversy arises when you don’t obtain a proper building permit before you begin the project. My wife and I are in the process of retiring and we want to make sure we do everything in our power to seamlessly integrate our large home into our neighborhood. Because we don’t want to deal with negativity and rumors, I will keep this in mind as we search for planning permits near us so we can outline how our home will look!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.