We Need Housing, Not More Hotels

C.C. de Vere

C.C. de Vere

· 3 min read
Picture of tagged bungalow court with overgrown, trash-strewn green space. Photo courtesy of Esotouric.

Did you know, dear readers, that there are over 1,000 hotels in Los Angeles? It's true.

There are well over 100,000 hotel rooms in Los Angeles.

That's quite a lot.

We used to have quite a lot of naturally occurring affordable housing.

Used to.

One of the most endangered types is the bungalow court, once ubiquitous in Los Angeles. Since the 1970s, developers have been making them disappear for newer, pricier buildings.

In fact, a friend of my grandmother's was repeatedly displaced from a series of bungalow courts.

My friends at Esotouric tugged my sleeve over to 5212 Melrose Avenue, badly neglected and kept empty for years.

They've detailed the entire appalling business, but here's my TL;DR version:

A Las Vegas carpetbagger bought 5212 Melrose in 2016, pushed a plan to convert the bungalow court to a boutique hotel (replacing one of the original buildings with a tower), and planned to get rid of the low-income immigrant elders who had lived there for years. The carpetbagger hired new lobbyists, let the building fall into such poor condition that it went into REAP, and tried to Ellis Act the tenants (which is illegal while a building is in REAP).

LAHD GM Ann Sewill recommended removing the property from REAP in 2022. Regular readers might recall that Ms. Sewill was an ingredient in the Lourine Court case. Lourine Court came out of REAP despite the MANY violations NEVER being fixed. So I rather doubt that 5212 Melrose was in ANY condition to come out of REAP, and Hell will freeze solid before I trust anything that comes out of Ann Sewill's mouth.

There have been no substantial updates since October 2022, the bungalow court appears empty, and although ZIMAS notes the Ellis Act filing from 2018, it doesn't appear on the Ellis Act eviction map. Huh.

As of December 29, the bungalow court was wide open, tagged, filled with trash, and vulnerable to arson. By January 8, it had been surrounded by demolition fencing - which had already been heavily tagged.

It is outrageous that seven affordable units have been kept empty for years, all in the name of a hotel that was never approved and that no one asked for in the first place.

We have enough hotels. We need to put housing first.

Enough carpetbaggers have made money off of Los Angeles. It's high time to put Angelenos first.

I will be telling Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez as much myself, and I hope you'll do the same (Councilmember.Soto-Martinez@lacity.org; 213-473-7013).

Here's a radical idea for all you would-be hoteliers out there: Instead of taking away desperately needed housing, why not buy an existing hotel (NOT AN SRO) and remodel it to your liking? Fewer pesky building permits, no pesky zoning variances - just repair, remodel, and rebrand. Other hoteliers have done this very successfully.

5212 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood.

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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