AHF Files Suit Over Luxury Development that Would Raze Amoeba in Hollywood
AHF seeks writ of mandate in Superior Court asserting CEQA and other serious planning and zoning violations by the City of Los Angeles in its fast track approval of GPI Companies’ planned development at the Amoeba Music site in Hollywood. AHF and the Coalition to Preserve LA also filed a comprehensive Historic Cultural Monument application for the building with the city.
The 26-story development would include 200 luxury apartments with just 10 units—or only 5%—set aside for very low-income tenants rather than the 15% required under the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan.
LOS ANGELES (July 24, 2019) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) filed for a Writ of Mandate Monday in Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles (case # 19STCP03103) against the City of Los Angeles and 6400 Sunset LLC over violations of several laws regarding the city’s fast track approval of GPI Companies’ luxury development project planned for the site of Amoeba Music in Hollywood.
In its application to the court seeking a writ to halt or delay the project that would replace Amoeba, AHF is asserting: Violation(s) of California Environmental Quality Act, Community Redevelopment Law, Planning and Zoning Law and Los Angeles Municipal Code regarding the development in Hollywood. AHF’s petition for writ asserts:
“Instead of conducting environmental analysis of the proposed Project as required by the CEQA, the City relied upon a Sustainable Communities Plan Exemption (“”SCPE””) from CEQA. This exemption was inapplicable because the criteria to qualify for such an exemption were not met. The proposed Project would demolish a cultural resource, the Amoeba Records building, that substantial evidence showed would be eligible for listing on the California register of historic places because of its culturally significant murals associated with significant artists. Furthermore, the City failed to comply with the procedural requirements required for utilizing a SCPE because it failed to circulate a draft of the sustainable communities’ environmental assessment for a period of 30 days.
And in a separate filing yesterday, AHF and the Coalition to Preserve LA also submitted a comprehensive Historic Cultural Monument nomination for the Amoeba Music building and site with the City of Los Angeles. The nomination puts a strong emphasis on the cultural aspects of the history of the building and the murals inside and outside of the building. The nomination goes into great detail about the rich music, art and cultural history Amoeba has built upon and created. It asks that the murals, street art and neon art be preserved at the current location of Amoeba Music.
AHF’s petition for writ also focused on the small number of low-income apartments designated in the project in violation of the requirements of the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan. AHF asserts here:
“The Project fails to provide an amount of affordable housing that would allow the City to comply with the requirements of the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan. The Redevelopment Plan requires that 15% of residential units built in the area be affordable units. To this point the City has failed on an areawide basis to provide the required number of affordable units, falling short in production of low- and moderate-income units by 331 units in 2008 and worsening that shortfall ever since. Its approval of the Project worsens that shortfall by providing fewer affordable units than would be necessary to meet areawide affordable housing goals.”
“Because the City failed to provide adequate environmental review with full disclosure of the Project’s extensive adverse impacts, reviewable by the public, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act, and it violated Planning and Zoning Law and Community Redevelopment Law requirements for consistency of the Project with the Community Redevelopment plan and provision of affordable housing, the City’s approvals of the Project must be set aside as an abuse of discretion.”
“We filed seeking a writ of mandate to revisit and overturn City’ Council’s fast track approval of the razing and redevelopment of the Amoeba Music site in Hollywood after exhausting our administrative means to halt or delay the proposed development,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AHF. “We believe that the city has shown deliberate indifference to the serious negative impacts and resulting gentrification that this luxury project will have in Hollywood and along Sunset Boulevard. We also believe that the City is giving short shrift to the historic significance of Amoeba by completely ignoring the rich and lengthy cultural history associated with this iconic corner of Hollywood. Approvals through the Historic Cultural Monument nomination process too often rely on the architectural provenance or significance of a particular building rather than its cultural importance to the community. And there is no doubt that Amoeba has been a cultural touchstone in Hollywood.”
Negative impacts of the planned development include:
- Dramatically increased traffic and other burdens on city infrastructure
- Destruction of an irreplaceable historic and cultural monument associated with events of ‘national, state or local history’ including wall murals and the razing of an iconic Los Angeles edifice “… associated with the lives of important personages.”
- An insufficient number of low-income apartments included in the development—10 units or 5%– rather than the required 15% at a time when a homelessness crisis roils Los Angeles, with 36,300 homeless found in the city itself in the 2019 count.
The project was approved by vote of the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday, June 25, 2019.
The development will include 200 new luxury apartments with 10 units set aside for very low-income tenants (despite a 15% requirement under the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan). It will also include 7,000 square feet of retail space and 277 parking spaces in a podium along Sunset Boulevard.