Crossroads of the World redevelopment will raze 82 rent-controlled apartments

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The redevelopment of Crossroads of the World—one of the highest-profile projects in booming Hollywood—is poised to bring 950 units of new housing to Sunset Boulevard. But, in order to that, it will bulldoze 82 rent-controlled apartments.

The development plans have been kicking around for three years, but on Wednesday—the day before the city’s planning commission was scheduled to review the project—Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell announced he had struck a deal with the developer to help some tenants who would be displaced by construction.

The agreement will allow remaining tenants of the Sunset Las Palmas apartment building, which sits on the project site, to live in new Crossroads apartments—at the same price they’re paying today.

“I’m confident tenants will be taken care of,” said Samantha Millman, president of the planning commission, which voted unanimously Thursday to endorse the project.

Under the agreement, tenants will be charged “rental rates commensurate to their existing rates” for new apartments of a comparable size. Additionally, annual rent increases will be capped at 3 percent per year, similar to the main provisions of LA’s rent stabilization ordinance.

Representatives for Harridge Development Group told the commission that only about 40 residents still live in the Sunset Las Palmas apartments. By the time the deal was struck, Harridge had already arranged cash buyouts with about half of the building’s tenants.

Under city law, a property owner who knocks down a rent-stabilized building must give tenants money to help pay for relocation costs—but it doesn’t have to offer them replacement units in a new building.

Harridge will deduct the replacement units from the 105 affordable units it had already agreed to set aside for renters with “very low” incomes (this year, the qualifying income limit for a single-person household is $33,950).

That means if all 40 tenants elect to take the new apartments—and do not qualify under the income limits for affordable housing—the Crossroad project will have 65 units of affordable housing.

“It pains me to think about these [rent-stabilized] units coming off the market,” said commissioner Karen Mack. “We’re losing [rent-stabilized] units for middle-class people in Los Angeles. It’s incredible how many people who I talk to who… are having a hard time affording living in the city.”

She wasn’t the only commissioner not totally satisfied with the agreement. Commissioner Renee Dake Wilson wanted the developer to agree to add 82 more affordable units to the project.

But the majority of the commission didn’t back her up; a representative for Harridge told commissioners: “We’re already going above and beyond what we’re required to do.”

The 1.4-million-square-foot Crossroads Hollywood complex would rise up around two Los Angeles landmarks: Crossroads of the World and the former home of The Hollywood Reporter. The latter will remain intact because local preservationists intervened.

The redevelopment will entail the addition of 190,000 square feet of commercial space and a 308-room hotel on a site roughly bordered by Sunset Boulevard and Selma Avenue, east of McCadden Place.

Commissioner Marc Mitchell called it an iconic site that has largely sat dormant.

“This project is long overdue,” he said

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