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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 9, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 32
AHF sues city of Los Angeles, multiple developers over fair-housing violations in Hollywood
Section One
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AHF sues city of Los Angeles, multiple developers over fair-housing violations in Hollywood

LOS ANGELES (August 8, 2019) - The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) will host a press teleconference on Thursday, August 8 at 3:00 pm PT to announce its filing Thursday of a lawsuit in Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles (case # TBD) against the City of Los Angeles, the LA City Council, and property developers of numerous luxury residential/commercial/entertainment projects within the Hollywood area. The Hollywood development projects targeted in the lawsuit include: Sunset Gordon Tower, Palladium Residences, Crossroads Hollywood, and a luxury housing tower planned for the site of Amoeba Music.

The AHF's legal action asserts violations of both federal and state housing laws intended to eliminate barriers to minority housing and integrated communities. The AHF's lawsuit seeks to enforce the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA) and California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), asserting [that] the various Hollywood developments singled out in the AHF's lawsuit were approved '...without providing adequate measures to ensure that the [p]rojects would not displace protected minorities.'

It its lawsuit, the AHF also asserts: 'The City's approvals of the [p]rojects turn a blind eye to the imminently foreseeable effects of constructing a large number of new, market-rate housing in this community. The influx of new, more affluent residents will have a ripple effect of displacement on the existing residents, who will see increased rents and increased property values that put pressure on existing, lower-income residents who are already struggling to make ends meet. This influx of wealthier residents into what have been historically low-income neighborhoods, and the demographic, cultural, and economic changes in those neighborhoods, is known as gentrification. Frequently, those who are pushed from their neighborhoods are people of color.'

Studies show that market-rate housing development is linked to the mass displacement of neighboring low-income residents. In its lawsuit, the AHF offers a prime example of such low-income and minority displacement: Crossroads Hollywood, which will demolish over 80 existing rent-stabilized apartments, displacing a decades-old, tight-knit community of largely low-income, predominantly Latino residents.

On that point, the AHF's lawsuit noted: 'The City's own data, as well as the factors that the City has identified as relevant to displacement potential, and the work of academics looking more broadly at other cities, make clear that displacement may be a result of development even if the new development does not directly displace any individual by removing existing housing from the market. Here, by contrast, the Crossroads Project will in fact displace current residents.'

[Also:] 'Approximately half of all Latino renter households are rent-burdened, spending over 30 percent of their household income on rent. The disparities between non-Hispanic whites' and Latinos' capita income is significant, showing that Latino residents will more likely be impacted and displaced by the [p]rojects. The median per capita income of Latino renters is only $17,241, compared to $36,403 for non-Hispanic whites.'

In its pleadings, the AHF also asserts that the developers' pursuit - and the city's fast-track approval - of so many variances, exceptions, zone changes, and general plan amendments for these large-scale luxury developments and related amenities in Hollywood - without sufficient affordable housing - violates both the federal and the state housing acts. The AHF is also seeking a preliminary injunction or administrative stay to prevent construction on the parcels in question from starting, including any demolition of existing structures and/or other site preparations.

In May of this year, Judge Beckloff of the LA Superior Court decided that similar fair housing claims regarding the project planned at the Crenshaw Mall could proceed.

Hollywood projects in development targeted in the AHF's lawsuit include:

The Sunset Gordon Tower on Sunset Boulevard, a 22-story, almost entirely market-rate apartment complex by development company CIM that has been sitting vacant for three years after a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge retroactively invalidated the project's construction permits.

The Hollywood Palladium Residences, by developer Crescent Heights, twin 28-story towers that will house 730 residential units, with only 5% of units set aside for people making up to 150% of median income.

Crossroads Hollywood, by Harridge Development Group, which would demolish over 80 units of current rent-stabilized housing. The project is set to include 905 apartments and condos in three high-rise buildings, 308 hotel rooms, [and] 190,000 square feet of retail space. The developer has been granted 22 liquor licenses across the project - nearly one each for every new affordable apartment created.

An as-yet-unnamed 26-story, 200-unit luxury residential and commercial development that provides almost no below-market housing by GPI Companies for the site of Amoeba Music on Sunset Boulevard.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.2 million individuals in 43 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific region, and Eastern Europe. To learn more about the AHF, please visit www.aidshealth.org or www.facebook.com/aidshealth, or follow @aidshealthcare on Twitter.

Courtesy of AHF

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