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Rich Developer's Wilshire-Vermont Towers Need $17 Million of Your Money

An artist's vision of the towers.
An artist's vision of the towers.
J.H. Snyder

Who wants $17.5 million in public money? Why we all do, of course.

But we're going to guess that the people who gave $100,000 to L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's pet causes, including his last school board committee, will be in line way ahead of us.

Even though the city and state are in dire financial straights, somehow we'll have the extra 17 mil or so for wealth developer J.H. Snyder to grab (we're guessing):

According to Curbed LA the Community Redevelopment Agency is slated to vote Thursday on whether to put the cash toward Snyder's twin-tower residential development at Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue in Koreatown.

Now, wait a second, you say. Why does a rich developer (behind such L.A. landmarks as Museum Square, home of the Screen Actors Guild, the high-end office complex Water Garden II in Santa Monica and, of course, West Hollywood Gateway, home to the most chi-chi Target in town) need our money?

Well, you see, a long time ago some politicians said community redevelopment was good for, well, the community. You could tear down blight and plant the seeds of regrowth for the people.

Of course, this has been twisted until we hardly see these projects benefiting anyone but well-connected, for-profit developers. And again, we're hurting here. Libraries are closed on Mondays, police hiring is in limbo, potholes are eating your wheels.

Jerry Brown, for one, wants to shut the CRA business down and seize those funds. L.A. leaders are trying to shelter local redevelopment cash before Brown can get his hands on it.

Snyder reportedly wants to break ground in summer. The K-town project would include 464 units and cost the company a total of $150 million. The towers would reach 25 and 30 stories.

Now, who needs that cash more: J.H. Snyder or the people of California. You decide. (Wait, actually you don't decide).

Added: Our editor points out that this is the same J.H. Snyder that was a partner in plans to redevelop the ailing Valley Plaza mall in North Hollywood. Now that was a project that could have used some serious community redevelopment.

Senior partner Jerome H. Snyder told the Daily News that the company "decided not to go forward" after a big payment was due on the property. He says he's still trying to work out a deal with the bank that now owns the property, however.

Maybe the CRA should tie any Wilshire-Vermont fun money to the successful turnaround of Valley Plaza. Eh?

[@dennisjromero/djromero@laweekly.com]


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