Things are Looking Up at the Jardinette Apartments *Updated 4/21*

C.C. de Vere

C.C. de Vere

· 5 min read
Picture of the Modernist Jardinette Apartments, courtesy of Wikimedia user Junkyardsparkle

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia user Junkyardsparkle)

Remember last September, when I expressed my concerns about the condition and empty state of Richard Neutra's Modernist masterpiece Jardinette Apartments?

There's been some news, and so far, things are looking up.

New owner Cameron Hassid opened the Jardinette's doors to Etan Does LA.

Etan, who recently made a second visit to the Jardinette, states:

The interior walls are ripped down to the studs, to replace rotted 95-year-old framing, improve structural integrity and install new plumbing and electrical lines. Soon, Hassid tells me, workers will start putting up drywall and re-installing doors and cabinetry; replacement steel frame windows are already fabricated and waiting to be installed.

If all goes according to plan, by the fall the Jardinette will look much like it did in 1928. Hassid brought on board Neutra scholar Dr. Barbara Lamprecht to advise on how to reinstate Neutra’s original plans. There is a surprising amount of original stuff still intact, from kitchen cabinetry to bathroom floor tile to the passenger elevator. And while not all of it can be salvaged, Lamprecht’s worked closely with June Street Architecture and LA’s Office of Historic Resources to determine what to keep, what to repair or replace, and which changes should be rolled back.

Some preservationists have questioned the slow pace of this project. I get why you’d be skeptical about the promises of rehabilitation for a property that’s suffered more than half a century of neglect, especially after the last owner went bankrupt after promising to restore it. But from all the evidence I’ve seen, this is the real deal. The money’s been spent. Much of the work is complete.

According to Hassid, the Jardinette will be 100% affordable housing. Crossing my fingers he means it.

To clarify that last point, the Jardinette is still subject to RSO, so I don't doubt Hassid's pledge of 100 percent affordability.

Etan also shared the very good news that 15 units are to be ADA-compliant, with wider hallways, kitchens, and appropriate showers. An additional six units will be outfitted for the visually impaired, with six more units equipped for the hearing-impaired.

In case anyone out there wasn't aware: finding a decent rental in LA is hard enough. If you have a mobility disability requiring a wheelchair, walker, etc., it's MUCH, MUCH harder to find housing. And even when forward-thinking developers or property owners consider disabled tenants at all, those with non-mobility disabilities are often overlooked entirely (and I've heard of Deaf renters requesting to install door alert devices and being denied).

This is also a win for disabled renters. Hopefully more landlords take note.

From the video and blog entry Etan posted, it sounds as though Hassid is doing everything right - repairing and reinstalling whenever possible, reversing non-original work, replacing old pipes and rotted wood, and working with Neutra scholar Dr. Barbara Lamprecht. I do wish more owners of architectural treasures would be that thorough when restoring their properties.

The previous owners also had big plans before going into foreclosure, so I'm not cracking the proverbial Champagne YET, but I have renewed hope for the future of the Jardinette Apartments.

(Friendly note to Etan: I'm no pundit. I'm just an ordinary concerned Angeleno who is far too familiar with how these things almost always end up going. I'm sure I seem cynical, but I've really just been paying attention. Regardless, you've shared an excellent and much appreciated update, and I'll look forward to signal-boosting news of the Jardinette's return.)

Edited 4/21 to add: I received an email from Dr. Lamprecht herself! She told me:

I have been involved with the project since Day One, and by contrast to [the previous owner], Cameron Hassid is a prince. I don’t use that word lightly. Because of the depth of his experience, his resiliency, and his patience … and also because he respects the team. Respect and loyalty beget the same in return. When it’s finally done, the Jardinette will be a jewel, and hopefully populated with people who desperately need housing. This is tiny houses done right, by Neutra with Schindler, with light, cross ventilation, often transitional entrances, everything to confer dignity. We are not through the woods yet, but we are creating a good path.

I am very glad to hear that as well.

5128 Marathon Street, East Hollywood.

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C.C. de Vere

About C.C. de Vere

C.C. is a fourth-generation Angeleno and is horrified at what greed and hubris are doing to Los Angeles.

This website was built by her preservation pals at Esotouric.

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