By Jim Smith
It’s been more than six years since the biggest eviction in Los Angeles history drove more than 80 residents of Lincoln Place Apartments out of their homes early on the morning of Dec. 5, 2005.
The apartment complex located behind Ralphs and Ross, with nearly 800 units, is the largest in Venice.
Thanks to corporate owner, AIMCO (Apartment Investment and Management Company), the 40 acres of garden apartments have stood empty as greedy owners squared off against tenants and the community.
A years-long battle for justice, which gained support from Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, but not the Mayor, finally resulted in AIMCO dropping its plans to raze the apartments and build 1,000 condominiums in their place.
A combination of court decisions and direct action ended with the corporate owner agreeing to restore the evicted tenants to their homes and to rehab all apartments, which will ultimately be available to rent.
The empty apartments will be renovated over several years with the same exteriors, but with upgraded interiors.
New tenants will have to pay market rates, but increases will be regulated by rent control and the Housing Dept. Returning evictees will pay the same rents as in 2005.
At least 64 evicted families will reoccupy their homes in April. They will be grouped in apartments behind Ross.
“We’re looking forward to reestablishing our community,” said Sheila Bernard, President of the Tenants Union. “We’re hoping Lincoln Place will do for new residents what it did for us, that is, give them a sense of belonging.”