Earlier this month, the city of Los Angeles released a list of thousands of apartment buildings that are considered unsafe in the case of a major earthquake, requiring the buildings to be retrofit or demolished. Although many of the building listed were located in West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley (mostly in the west Valley), Pacoima has only five buildings listed.
All five buildings have apartment units and are along or near Van Nuys Boulevard. In total the identified buildings hold 87 units. Two buildings hold about 25 units each, and one of the buildings is the Coral Bells Motel.
At sight, one can can understand how these multi-story buildings are dangerous; usually a
second floor is being help up by whimsy posts or columns. There is no need to imagine what would happen in case of a major earthquake; many of the building that collapsed in the 1994 earthquake were built in this fashion.
This style of building were popular after World War II, when Los Angeles sprawled to West LA and the Valley, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times. These apartments accommodated the evolving angeleno car culture, usually offering parking spaces on the first floor.
In an interview with KPCC, the mayor’s chief resilience officer, Marisso Aho, said the building owners were notified in March and have seven years to comply to an earthquake retrofit order, which has an estimated cost of $5,000 per unit in each building. Building owners must also notify their tenants, who, in most cases, will be able to stay in their units during the retrofitting process.