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L.A. City Hall is Giving $39 Million of Your Cash to Chinese Developers

L.A. City Hall is Giving $39 Million of Your Cash to Chinese Developers
401(K) 2012/Flickr

L.A. has the worst roads in the nation, a parking-ticket army gone rogue, and a housing crisis that has middle class families scrambling to afford even a crappy apartment to rent.

But the L.A. City Council, as always, seems to think that giving your hard earned money to rich people is the solution to many of our problems. The rallying cry of L.A. city leaders is jobs! Maybe they'll hire you. If you like to clean hotel rooms.

See also: California Report Confirms That Tax Giveaways to Hollywood Are a Waste

Yesterday the council voted unanimously to start the process of giving a Chinese developer $39,190,000 in city money, including a significant break on L.A.'s hotel tax:

The developer, Shanghai-based Greenland Group, wants to build a 19-story hotel (called Metropolis) as well as a 38-story residential high rise next to L.A. Live, where the 174-room Courtyard and 219-room Residence Inn L.A. Live just opened.

This is also adjacent to already existing JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels.

See also: Los Angeles Corporate Welfare: Ritz-Carlton and AEG 

But City Council members Jose Huizar and Mitch Englander argued in their proposal to give your money away that "in order to become a competitive West Coast convention center city" even more rooms are needed.

The tax breaks would apply for 25 years.

The developer told the city it would face a finance gap of up to $92 million and would thus need the help to get these towers built.

Interestingly, Bud Ovrom, executive director of the L.A. Convention Center, which is now operated daily by the folks who developed Staples Center and LA Live (where all those Marriott hotels reside), appears to be against the tax giveaway.

In a spring memo he said this about the Greenland proposal:

I am not sure why the City would need to invest any money in it. They knew what they bought when they bought it and they surely based the value they paid on what they knew they were getting. If the City does not provide any subsidy, they will probably still build exactly the same thing.

By the way, he said the city's tax giveaway to the JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels at LA Live was totally worth it. Very interesting.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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