Verizon Wireless tower at Casa del Mexicano

Official statement regarding construction update on Verizon Wireless Tower at Casa del Mexicano

April 30, 2021

In 2015, ELACC entered an agreement with Verizon Wireless to install a cellular tower in the parking area of Casa del Mexicano, a beloved historical landmark of the Boyle Heights Community. Only after the proposal was unanimously approved by the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council, did ELACC agree to sign the agreement. The agreement has allowed us to properly preserve the property and restore it as a community-serving space. Over the eight years since we first acquired the site, Casa del Mexicano has hosted dozens of public events and provided space for impactful resident-driven projects, including a community garden. 

Last year, Verizon began preparing the lot for the tower. Construction on the site was quickly halted after neighbors, including gardeners, disrupted the construction. While we are sensitive to the concerns of our community, our organization must abide by the terms of our lease agreement and allow Verizon to begin construction.

Construction of the tower will begin on May 11, 2021 during the hours of 7am – 4pm and is expected to be completed in 4-6 months. Due to safety concerns, only Verizon’s hired construction crew and approved Verizon and ELACC representatives will be allowed to enter the lot. Our tenants that operate their businesses inside of Casa del Mexicano will still have access to the building but not the parking lot.   ­

Unfortunately, this means that the community garden and the surrounding lot will be temporarily inaccessible to the gardeners and other community members starting today and will remain closed until construction of the tower is complete. Verizon has confirmed that the garden will be protected and watered while construction is occurring. Gardeners will be allowed to return to the garden once construction is completed. Community members currently gardening at the site will have until May 7, 2021 to remove any belongings before it becomes unavailable. ELACC is working with the gardeners to coordinate access to the lot. 

We are saddened to share that the garden will be temporarily inaccessible until construction of the tower has been completed. We understand the importance of providing a space for our community to create and cultivate a thriving and beautiful garden for everyone to use and we will be bringing the garden back as soon as construction is completed.

We are determined to provide alternative spaces for the gardeners and other community members to cultivate land away from the construction site. Our Lorena Terrace property will soon be the home of another community garden. We are working closely with Eastside residents to develop community gardens at two other ELACC sites: our proposed affordable housing development adjacent to Mariachi Plaza, and Rosa de Castilla, currently under construction in El Sereno. If anyone would like to join this group, we would be happy to make an introduction. 

For over 25 years, our non-profit organization has been devoted to building healthy communities and advocating for continued social and economic justice on behalf of families across the Eastside. Like you, we believe that everyone deserves to live with opportunity, dignity, and autonomy and we have fought hard, alongside our community, to create a more equitable Eastside. ELACC is honored to have played a key role in preserving Casa Del Mexicano and we look forward to welcoming back the group of gardeners later this year.

We will release any new information surrounding the construction of the Verizon tower at Casa del Mexicano as it becomes available. For more information regarding this project and to contact us with any questions or comments, please visit elacc.org/casadelmexicano.  You may also contact Verizon Wireless directly at VerizonSoCal@verizonwireless.com, call (949) 933 – 4667, or visit their website at https://improveyourwireless.com/boyleheights/

Frequently asked questions regarding Verizon Wireless Tower

Verizon Wireless has approvals to install and construct a cellular tower at the parking lot of Casa del Mexicano. The City of Los Angeles approved for a 51’-5” clock tower to be constructed.

The City of Los Angeles granted the required permits for the Verizon cellular tower in April 2019.

In 2015, ELACC was approached with a proposal from Verizon Wireless to install a cellular tower in the parking area of the historic Casa del Mexicano, which we had recently begun to steward on behalf of the Boyle Heights community. On January 28, 2015, Verizon Wireless’s proposal to build the tower was approved by the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council. Only after the proposal was unanimously approved, did ELACC agree to sign the agreement.  At the time, we were looking for opportunities to maintain the property, which came with significant debt and was in need of expensive repairs to make it safer for community access. Verizon’s offer allowed us to move forward with plans to preserve and improve the building and provide much-needed services to the community. Verizon’s timeline for construction was not fully determined at the time of our agreement, and throughout the following years, residents continually requested that we expand programming at Casa del Mexicano.

In 2019, ELACC sent a letter to Verizon requesting a pause on their construction planning until they host a community town hall to address the concerns community residents have raised about the cell tower. In June 2019, ELACC held a community meeting, with Boyle Heights residents and gardeners, where concerns were raised about health and safety. Further, ELACC leadership has been in frequent contact with representatives from the community garden to communicate the state of the project and relay any important information. While we are sensitive to the concerns of our community, our organization must abide by the terms of our lease agreement and allow Verizon to begin construction.

Construction of the tower will begin on May 11, 2021 during the hours of 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.

4-6 months after the construction start date.

As part of the work on the property and due to safety concerns, the garden and surrounding lot will be temporarily inaccessible to community members and gardeners. ELACC has written confirmation from Verizon that the garden will be protected and watered by the construction crew and representatives. Gardeners will be allowed to return to the garden once construction is completed.

We are working with a group of Eastside residents to develop a community garden at our Lorena Terrace property and at two other ELACC sites: our proposed affordable housing development adjacent to Mariachi Plaza and Rosa de Castilla, currently under construction in El Sereno. 

We will be updating our website with any future updates regarding this project. 

You can send ELACC an email at contact@elacc.org or contact Verizon Wireless directly at VerizonSoCal@verizonwireless.com or call (949) 933 – 4667. You can also visit their website at https://improveyourwireless.com/boyleheights/ for more information.

Project Timeline

2014

  • Verizon and ELACC begin communicating about potential plans regarding the tower. 

2015

  • Los Angeles City Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council Board Meeting unanimously approves the proposal to build the tower.  
  • ELACC signs the agreement with Verizon Wireless to build the tower. 

2017

  • LA City Planning approves Verizon’s project.

2019

  • ELACC sends a letter to Verizon requesting a pause on their construction planning after hearing community concerns about the tower.
  • ELACC holds a community meeting with Boyle Heights residents and gardeners, where concerns were raised about health and safety.

2020

  • Verizon prepares the lot for construction but halts after their work was interrupted by concerned residents. 
  • ELACC is in communication with community members who oppose the tower, and for over a year tries to work toward a compromise. 
  • After consulting with our attorneys, ELACC must abide by the terms of our lease agreement and allow Verizon to begin construction.

2021

  • Construction of the cellular tower resumes on May 11, 2021, and is expected to be completed 4-6 months after the construction start date. 

Contact and media information

To download our official press release, please click here. For media inquiries, please contact Abigail Wood at awood@elacc.org. To contact us with any other questions regarding this project, email us at contact@elacc.org.