LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Barrington Plaza Apartments -- which has been the scene of two fires over the past decade, including one that killed a 19-year- old foreign exchange student -- will be closing to all renters and begin vacating occupied units so the high-rise complex can be renovated with fire sprinklers and other safety upgrades, the owners announced Monday.
The move will force hundreds of people to vacate the complex by September.
Located at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Barrington Avenue in West Los Angeles, eight floors in one of the complex's three towers have been red-tagged and out of service since the most recent fire in January 2020. According to the building owners, renovation plans were submitted to the city later that year, but the city's approval was conditioned on installation of sprinklers and other "life-safety equipment" throughout all three towers.
"These fire and life safety improvements cannot be accomplished without vacating all three towers. Barrington Plaza has stopped leasing vacant units, and the fire and life safety improvement project can take several years at a cost of over $300 million," according to statement from the owners.
According to Barrington Plaza, there are currently 577 occupied units in the complex. Current residents were given notice that they need to vacate the building by Sept. 5. However, some residents may qualify for extensions based on their length of residency, their age or if they are legally handicapped. The building owners said they will make relocation specialists available to assist residents with finding new places to live.
"Management will follow all local and state laws relating to removing units, which are subject to the city's Rent Stabilization Ordinance," according to the owners. "The applicable laws for removing the buildings from service include statutory notification periods and relocation payments."
Barrington Plaza was built in 1961, prior to the 1974 ordinance requiring sprinklers in new high-rise buildings.
In October 2013, a fire erupted on the 11th floor of one of the complex's towers, injuring two people, including a young girl, and displacing 100-150 residents. In January 2020, a fire began on the seventh floor, killing a 19-year-old exchange student from France and injuring about a dozen others, including three firefighters and a 3-month-old child.