In win for affordable housing, CIM Group, the developer of the Sunset Gordon Tower, agrees to make its 45 below market rate units in the complex far more affordable to lower-income Angelenos
LOS ANGELES (March 11, 2021) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and the Coalition to Preserve LA (CPLA) are claiming a victory for affordable housing in the never-ending battle to preserve, create and secure affordable housing in Southern California, one of the most rent-burdened areas in the country. The two nonprofit groups reached a legal settlement this week with the developer of Hollywood’s Sunset Gordon Tower, a 22-story apartment complex in the heart of Hollywood.
Under the settlement, 5929 Sunset (Hollywood) LLC (a project of CIM Group), agreed to lower the affordability levels of the 45 rent restricted units that are set aside in the 299-unit building. They also agreed to provide AHF and CPLA copies of reports they are required to send to Los Angeles Housing & Community Investment Department (LAHCID) with the affordability levels so there may be a third-party mechanism to ensure oversight and accountability.
“This is a welcome victory in the ongoing battle to try and preserve and create affordable housing solutions across Los Angeles,” said Michael Weinstein, president of AHF. “Given the dire state of housing affordability today, we thank 5929 Sunset LLC for its flexibility and for significantly reducing income thresholds tied to area median income for the 45 units set aside as affordable housing at Sunset Gordon. We remain deeply concerned about gentrification and its impact on long-established communities, particularly low-income and communities of color. Nevertheless, this settlement allows both sides to claim victory, as the project may now also move forward to completion and occupancy.”
Under the legal settlement reached earlier this week, income thresholds for the 45 affordable apartments will be lowered as follows:
- Very-low Income tenants: the maximum allowable income for 15 units drops from 50% of Area Median Income (AMI) to 40% of AMI. So, for example, these units must be affordable to an individual making $29,320 per year as opposed to the prior limit of $36,650 per year.
- Moderate Income tenants: the maximum allowable income for 15 units drops from 120% of AMI to 80% of AMI so, for example, these units must be affordable to individuals making $58,640 per year as opposed to the prior limit of $87,960.
- Work Force Income tenants: the maximum allowable income for 15 units drops from 150% of AMI to 110% of AMI
Background on AHF and CPLA’s Legal Action Against Sunset Gordon
In July 2019 and then in December 2019, AHF filed writs of mandate against the developer of Sunset Gordon Tower, the City of L.A and its Community Redevelopment Agency, challenging Sunset Gordon under California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and under the Hollywood Community Plan and Redevelopment Plan for its inadequate affordable housing.
A prior lawsuit by La Mirada Homeowners Association vs the prior developer
In February 2012, the developer demolished the buildings on the site, which included the Old Spaghetti Factory and its significant architectural components. In May 2012, the La Mirada Homeowners Association sued, and the judge issued a writ of mandate revoking the approvals and enjoining further action at the site until a full environmental impact report (EIR) was completed and the approvals were redone.
January 15, 2019: The Coalition to Preserve LA, which AHF funds, gets involved:
The Coalition to Preserve LA filed writ petition for violations of CEQA and the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan. The lawsuit challenged the new approvals. The court granted CPLA the ability to file an amended writ with additional causes of action stemming from actions of the Director of Planning and the City Council from July – September 2019. CPLA filed this amended writ in September 2019. This amended writ added causes of action relating to the improper delegation of legislative approvals for the project to City staff and the failure to abide by the Hollywood Community Plan’s requirements for affordable housing percentages, as well as the City’s failure to make findings about those percentages areawide.
As part of the settlement agreement, AHF and CPLA will dismiss their lawsuit and not continue to pursue an appeal.