Douglas Emmett to Evict Tenants on LA Westside and Pay $300M for Sprinkler Retrofit


Douglas Emmett, owner of a three-tower apartment complex in Los Angeles with 577 occupied units and a history of damaging fires, is shutting the place down to make safety upgrades.

The landlord will evict all tenants at Barrington Plaza on the Westside and pay more than $300 million to install fire sprinklers. The upgrades, first reported by the L.A. Times, are expected to take several years to complete.

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The development was built in the 1960s at Wilshire Boulevard and Barrington Avenue in L.A.’s Sawtelle neighborhood, and it suffered from recent fires in 2013 and a fatal blaze in January 2020. The structures include 712 units, but eight floors were restricted and are vacant after inspectors deemed them unsafe to occupy.

Douglas Emmett will use California’s Ellis Act to remove the tenants from their rent-stabilized apartments, which is allowed if the property is taken off the rental market. The units will be returned to the rental market when the upgrades are finished, but no completion date has been set. 

Tenants may have as long as a year to move out. Relocation payments for tenants who lived in the building for less than three years will be as much as $9,200 per household. (Almost 75 percent of the residents have been at Barrington Plaza for less than three years.) Elderly or disabled occupants can receive more than $22,000. Specialists will be available to help locate, view, and move into new residences.

Barrington Plaza is exempt from laws requiring fire sprinklers because of its age. But officials recently included updated safety standards as part of the approval for planned repairs from the 2020 fire.

Gregory Cornfield can be reached at