Haunted L.A. Hospital to Get New Life as Affordable Housing

In a deal that might be called spook-tacular, a nearly 90-year-old one-time hospital, which some believe is haunted, will be converted into an affordable rental community for seniors.

Los Angeles—In a deal that might be called spook-tacular, a nearly 90-year-old one-time hospital, which some believe is haunted, will be converted into an affordable rental community for seniors. Linda Vista Community Hospital in the Boyle Heights district of Los Angeles, which closed in 1991, will be transformed into senior apartments in a $40 million adaptive reuse project to begin within weeks.

“The site has basically been vacant for a long time, and it had been the desire of the city and the L.A. Housing Department to convert the building to affordable housing,” Arjun Nagarkatti, president of the Agoura Hills, Cal.-based developer, AMCAL Multi-Housing Inc., tells MHN.

“I believe many developers have tried doing that in the past, but it hadn’t worked out. The last developer was planning a condominium complex, and then the market collapsed.”

According to Nagarkatti, construction on the first phase of the project will begin in June and should be complete within 10 months. Construction on the second phase is slated to begin in February 2013, and is scheduled for completion in April 2014. Phase I of construction will yield apartments for 23 families, while Phase 2 will create apartments for another 80 families, he says.

The hospital was built in the mid 1920s to care for injured and ill workers of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, and additions were made to the building through the 1930s. Later renamed Linda Vista Community Hospital, it was shuttered in 1991 and used as a backdrop for countless movie productions. It even took on the role of an insane asylum in a Duran Duran music video.

The building’s shadowy interior, which retains such unsettling items as steel autopsy tables, baby incubators and what appears to be jail-like holding cells, is enough to conjure apparitions in the fevered imaginings of some who have braved its corridors in recent years. That may be why it has served as the site of more than one televised paranormal investigation.

Converting the historic building to affordable apartments will require surmounting a number of challenges, including a lead and asbestos-removal project that will cost an estimated $4 million. “It’s on the historic register, so maintaining historic tile, doors and windows will be a priority,” Nagarkatti reports.

AMCAL Multi-Housing, Inc. expects a lot of interest from Boyle Heights residents. “They’re already aware of this,” Nagarkatti says. “We presented the proposal, in terms of the architecture and historic preservation, to them.”
Ghost busters and Hollywood movie producers may lament the end of the magnificent antique‘s days as a haunted hospital. But the conversion of Linda Vista into apartments should be a win for everyone else, Nagarkatti says. “We will preserve this building for generations to come,” he reports. “We’re excited for the community, and excited to be getting underway on this project.”