More important to Mayor Hahn, however, and critical to her appointment, is the sense that Janis-Aparicio and LAANE have carved out a new path for activists. By engaging developers early in the process and establishing public priorities, they gain living-wage and other concessions and avoid last-minute conflicts that can drive costs up. “Uncertainty is the enemy of investment,” Deputy Mayor Kevlis said in an interview. “Rather than get blind-sided late in the game, groups like LAANE are getting in up front.”
That endorsement was echoed by Cliff Goldstein, a partner in J.H. Snyder Co., developers of NoHo Commons, a $220 million redevelopment project in North Hollywood. Goldstein said LAANE was instrumental in developing a “community-benefits package” that includes a day-care center, a health clinic and living-wage guarantees, all before the project was presented for government review.
“These are not the first things a developer focuses on,” Goldstein acknowledged. But adopting the package simplified the approvals process. “As a developer we’re looking for a win-win,” Goldstein said. “It‘s self-interest. We’re being realistic.”
Kevlis expects that Janis-Aparicio will institutionalize that sort of deal making at the CRA. “The overriding goal is to improve the quality of life,” he said.