Finally, Some Good News

C.C. de Vere

C.C. de Vere

· 4 min read
Screenshot of previous blog entry on Yamashiro, with BUSTED stamped over an antique photograph of the historic palace.

Hey, remember when I exposed Yamashiro's illegal Airbnbs?

Yeah...after twenty years of misusing the RSO apartments on the property as tourist rentals, the owners might actually face a consequence.

Per Capital and Main, the "Hollywood Hills Hotel" is one of four recently cited by LAHD and ordered to stop renting to tourists. That brings the total number of cited hotels to 21.

Of course, a citation isn't the same thing as enforcing RSO law. And the owners can appeal the citation (although 16 of the 17 previously cited hotel owners lost their cases). But it's a start.

And that's not the only good news this week.

The 90-year-old LA County General Hospital complex in Boyle Heights, which has been mostly empty for about 20 years, is slated for adaptive reuse. The Board of Supervisors picked Centennial Partners to turn the buildings and surrounding land into more than 800 rental apartments (with 30 percent designated as affordable), a hotel, retail, community services, office space, and more.

Supervisor Hilda Solis, along with many people in the gentrifying Eastside community, would like more than 30 percent of the units to be affordable. So would I. But we don't know how much money Centennial will need to spend to bring the aging, not-yet-retrofitted building up to code, and that will affect what else they can work into the budget.

I am hopeful that they'll find room in the budget for more affordable units (especially since many residents of Boyle Heights and neighboring Lincoln Heights can't realistically afford market-rate rent on new apartments). We'll see.

Still, this is a BIG win. A long-empty 19-story building on a whopping 25 acres will be put to good use - and add hundreds of units of housing without displacing anyone.

Remember when I wrote about the Morrison Hotel, emptied and illegally gutted by a ghoulish developer? Yeah, the developer defaulted on a massive loan, abandoned their plans for a luxury tower, and sold the building at a loss to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Renowned rock photographer Harry Diltz (who took the Doors' famous "Morrison Hotel" cover photo) and Doors drummer John Densmore even joined AHF for the big announcement.

The poor mistreated Morrison is going to need a lot of work, but it's going to be returned to its rightful use as very low-income housing instead of becoming another boring overpriced hotel in a city that already has over a thousand hotels.

And finally, some innovative news out of my native San Fernando Valley: there are plans to build a new Mercedes-Benz dealership with 130 apartments on the upper floors. The property is just a few doors down from the existing Mercedes-Benz dealership and has hosted a used car dealership for years.

I do have a few thoughts on this. For starters, as someone who works in the automotive sector, anyone who moves into those apartments should invest in a good air purifier. I have an air purifier running 24/7 in my office. There's a reason for that. Between regular Ventura Boulevard traffic, customer traffic, tenant traffic, and truck traffic (for car deliveries, parts deliveries, gas deliveries, tow-ins, etc.), the air is NOT going to be clean. Of course, in all fairness, the air along Ventura Boulevard is never clean anyway (I'm allowed to say it; I'm a Valley kid).

Second, only 26 of the 130 proposed units will be deed-restricted affordable housing...but it IS in fabulously snooty Encino, so this isn't surprising. At least it's getting those 26.

Third, as a historian, I am already cringing at the thought of seeing the 12-story tower peeking through the tree canopy across the street at Los Encinos State Historic Park (aka the last remaining piece of Rancho Los Encinos) - one of the few places in the city that still feels like going back in time.

Having said all of that, the Mercedes-Benz tower will accomplish the very rare feat of adding 130 new housing units without displacing ANY residents, and that's a BIG win.

C.C. de Vere

About C.C. de Vere

C.C. is a fourth-generation Angeleno and is horrified at what greed and hubris are doing to Los Angeles.

This website was built by her preservation pals at Esotouric.

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