The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is moving forward with the second phase of restoration on the nineteenth-century Southern Pacific train depot in North Hollywood, officials said Friday.
Construction crews removed hazardous lead paint, asbestos and other materials from the station last year and will now spend the next 10 months completing a seismic overhaul and adding new plumbing and electrical systems.
"Today, we kick off the restoration construction work on this historic train depot, and this major undertaking has been a long time coming," Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said in a statement. "But once we complete the work, the public will have an opportunity to step back in time to the nineteenth century and revisit a vanished era in our transportation history."
The depot sits near both the Metro Orange and Red Line's North Hollywood stations, and was constructed by developer Isaac Lankershim in 1896.
It was crucial to commercial development of the San Fernando Valley and was used to transport goods from nearby farms, canneries and a packing plant. It also served as the depot for the passenger-carrying Red Cars until 1952.
Metro acquired the property in 1990, but multiple earlier plans to rehab the facility stalled due to funding shortfalls.
The current project has a $3.6 million price tag, and is being funded primarily by a half-cent sales tax increase approved by voters in 1990. The city of Los Angeles has kicked in a little less than a third of the total cost, $1.1 million.
The project was greenlighted as part of Measure R, which authorized $40 billion for mass transit expansion across the county.
"The preservation and integration of historic structures into new mobility is important so we are preserving our past and advancing into the future with this project," Metro board Chairwoman Diane DuBois said in a statement.
The building will be refitted with new siding, eaves, windows and doors during this stage of renovation. A small park will also be built on the site and the symbolic train tracks will be restored during a third phase.
Metro has not decided on final plans for the site, but plans to lease the depot to business tenants.
"It'll be available for tenants for mixed use or retail leases," Metro spokesman Rick Jager said. "There has been some talk of a rail museum on the site, too. The short answer is that it hasn't been decided, but the goal is to get the building up to code so that it can be leased."
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