In 2016, the Los Angeles Superior Court shuttered its Mental Health Court at 1150 N. San Fernando Road, relocating operations to the Metropolitan Courthouse just south of Downtown. Five years later, local officials are exploring what to do with the property beneath the crumbling empty building.
According to a motion introduced on June 9 by Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo, the California Judicial Council, which owns the courthouse, has indicated interest in facilitating the redevelopment of the land. The proposed arrangement would require that the City and County of Los Angeles coordinate with the Judicial Council to acquire the courthouse site, which has been identified as surplus property.
"These unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures," writes Cedillo. "Urgent and immediate action is necessary to pursue this valuable opportunity to repurpose a vacant courthouse into a thriving community."
Cedillo's motion, which has been referred to the Housing Committee that he chairs, requests a report from the Housing and Community Investment Department on how to acquire the former courthouse, including any relevant legislative or policy issues for making the transfer as a donation to the city. Additionally, the motion also instructs HCID and the City Administrative Officer to report on the feasibility of developing the site with affordable or permanent supportive housing.
Construction of affordable housing at the Mental Health Court property would follow the construction of several income-restricted apartment buildings at the Taylor Yard to the north. Those developments are part of the larger Taylor Yard Transit Village, which has transformed a former rail maintenance facility into a mix of multifamily housing and public open space.
Empty courthouses have recently been targeted opportunity sites for new housing in several areas of Los Angeles. The former San Pedro Courthouse is poised to make way for 300 apartments under a deal approved earlier this year by the County Board of Supervisors, while the shuttered West L.A. Courthouse has been incorporated into a proposed mixed-use project from AvalonBay Communities and Abode Communities.
- Glassell Park (Urbanize LA)