Lincoln Heights Jail

Los Angeles, USA

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Registration closes on Thursday 21 March 2024 - 5PM UTC

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The jail is located on a brownfield site in Northeast LA, bounded by Ave. 19, active rail tracks and the LA River/Arroyo Seco River confluence.

Built in 1927 as an Art Deco-style jail to hold 625 people, The Lincoln Heights Jail quickly became overpopulated and held nearly 2,800 prisoners by 1950. Due to overcrowding and high maintenance costs the City and County voted to decommission the jail in 1965. 

From 1979 to 2014 the jail housed the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts. In 2016 the City commissioned an adaptive reuse study and awarded an RFP to adaptively reuse the site in 2017.  In 2022 the developers returned the site to the City due to a high amount of environmental hazards and infeasibility.  Currently, there are City facilities located in separate buildings on the property.


The City is experiencing a housing crisis amidst a global climate crisis. LA County contains the nation's largest number of homeless individuals who reside outdoors on our streets.  The City is also mostly comprised of renters, half of which pay more than 30% of their income on housing and are thus housing cost-burdened. Low-cost housing is located far from the City’s job centres and boundaries contributing to sprawl in Southern California where some commuters spend up to 3-4 hours daily commuting into the City for work, leading to an increase in GHG emissions and Vehicle Miles Travelled.  It is imperative that we construct more infill housing close to DTLA. 


Remediation of this site will contribute to positive social, environmental, and economic results. It is part of the overall restoration of a site that is blighted, a safety hazard, environmentally contaminated, underutilized, and incurs significant maintenance with no social or economic benefit.



Approx. site area:

The site is 210,800 SF/ 2 hectares 


Key Information

The surrounding area is densely populated, with a high percentage of Latino and Asian residents. The median household income is among the lowest in the region and ranks in the 100th percentile for CES 4.0 pollution score.


Priority areas & main expectations:

The size and location of the site present a unique opportunity to become a pilot to model “Social Housing” for the local and regional community. It can become a catalyst for economic development and increasing access to natural resources.


I'm interested! What next?
  • Take a look at the Site Form and access the Dataroom to learn more about the site. Both are available under the 'Documentation' tab on this page. 
  • Form your team. Feel free to fill out the Team Up Form to connect with new teammates and bring more diversity & expertise to your team. 
  • Register your team by clicking the button at the top of the page.
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