L.A. Releases Addresses of 13,500 Apartments Likely to Need Earthquake Retrofitting

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L.A. Department of Water and Power workers install an earthquake-resistant water pipe in Northridge in January. (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

Neighborhoods in the San Fernando Valley, Hollywood and the Westside will feel the biggest impact from Los Angeles’ new law requiring the retrofitting of wood-frame apartment buildings to better withstand a major earthquake, according to a Times data analysis.

City inspectors spent about two years developing a list of 13,500 so-called soft-story buildings that will probably need seismic strengthening. These apartments, which feature flimsy first floors that often serve as parking spaces, became popular after World War II as Los Angeles was spreading north into the Valley and west toward the ocean.

But they’ve also proved to be vulnerable to violent shaking. Buildings collapsed in the 1989 Loma Prieta and the 1994 Northridge earthquakes, including one apartment building where 16 people died.

Los Angeles building officials sifted through tens of thousands of city records and walked block-to-block to identify these structures. Owners of each building have been put on notice, and a number of them have already begun the retrofitting process. The retrofits can cost as much as $130,000, which has sparked concerns from owners and residents feeling the pressure of rising rents and a housing crunch.

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Click here to see the list on LATimes.com.