Why is Hugo Soto-Martinez Allowing Demolition of 7 RSO bungalow court units at 5212 Melrose With NO Replacement Project?

C.C. de Vere

C.C. de Vere

· 2 min read
Screenshot of video clip showing the 7 heavily vandalized bungalow units at 5212 Melrose.

(Image courtesy of Esotouric. View the full clip here.)

Quick recap of the 5212 Melrose situation:

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 Ellis Acted the tenants (which is illegal while a building is in REAP).

5212 Melrose was put into REAP on 7/31/2017.

I couldn't tell you why it was put into REAP, but the only permit on file after that date was for some electrical work. Properties that go into REAP are usually in very poor shape; I would normally expect to see multiple permits filed.

One wonders if repair work was done at all. Those of you familiar with the Lourine Court saga know that LAHD is not at all trustworthy.

Regardless, the owner Ellis Acted the tenants less than a year later, in June of 2018. When a building is in REAP, it's illegal to do an Ellis Act eviction.

5212 Melrose was not removed from REAP until 2022.

Under AB 1218, demolished protected units MUST be replaced with a new project. That's not what's happening here. There is NO replacement project approved for the site. But, it's slated for demolition anyway.

Hugo Soto-Martinez's office has the power to intervene. His planning director, Emma Howard, is reportedly acting as though the wrongfully-invoked Ellis Act has somehow tied their hands.

See, here's the thing: Hugo was elected by constituents who were fed up with Mitch O'Farrell's shenanigans, which included being paid off by a developer. It REALLY isn't a good look for him to pander to them, so why allow this extremely questionable demolition to proceed?

The case of 5212 Melrose raises so many questions - why is this happening? Why not sell the property or restore and re-rent it? Why did the city allow the Ellis Act evictions to take place despite the property being in REAP? What is REALLY going on?

C.C. de Vere

About C.C. de Vere

C.C. de Vere is a fourth-generation Angeleno. She 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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