Pierce Brothers mortuary redevelopment back on track

A 122-unit project had been waylaid after a fire on the property last year
By Dennis Lynch | May 21, 2019 08:00AM

The Pierce Brothers mortuary and a rendering of JAG Architects' previous project at the site

The Pierce Brothers mortuary and a rendering of JAG Architects’ previous project at the site

An affordable housing project long planned for a historic funeral home property near the Los Angeles Convention Center is moving forward, months after a fire engulfed the landmarked property.

A Calabasas developer filed plans on Friday for a 122-unit affordable development at the site of the Pierce Brothers Mortuary at 720 West Washington Boulevard. Long Beach-based JAG Architects started planning an affordable senior project there in 2015 but the project never got off the ground, according to the L.A. Conservancy.

The October fire could have prompted movement on the project. The roof and interior of the 1924 Spanish Colonial Revival funeral home — the first full-service mortuary in L.A. — was destroyed in the blaze. JAG Architects had planned to incorporate the building into a larger development.

In February, local City Council member Gil Cedillo filed a motion to convert the property into a 92-unit affordable housing project with the help of $28 million in federal affordable housing tax credits.

The plans filed Friday call for a three-story building. The developer is boosting the unit count through the city’s Transit Oriented Communities program, which provides density bonuses and other incentives for transit-adjacent developments that incorporate affordable housing.

The developer and representatives could not be reached for comment.

The mortuary building was designated an L.A. Historic-Cultural Monument in 1993, which doesn’t preclude redevelopment, but requires projects undergo extensive review and receive discretionary approval from L.A. city elected officials.

Because the property was heavily damaged by fire, its likely the Pierce Brothers redevelopment will move through approvals quicker

After Pierce Brothers left the property sometime in the mid-20th century, various churches occupied the building. It was abandoned by the time it burned last fall. The property includes a rear parking lot and totals about 1.5 acres.