Proposed Hollywood Condo Complex Has Low Income Units Overlooking A Pool The Poor Can’t Use
Last week, Think Progress reported on a 33-story luxury high-rise being erected in New York City will have a separate “poor door,” for low-income tenants.
The move is reportedly a common practice in NYC. The Gothamist reports that, as a part of the city’s Inclusionary Housing Program, the developer, Extell Development Company, is seeking millions in credits and can pay;
“…for the whole low-income housing section of the building, but get the bonus of more floor area, which they then add to their market rate units. They are able to completely cover their costs for all the low-income housing and sell the bonus floor area to another building within a half-mile of the site.”
But because the developer considers the low-income units a separate “segment” of the building, they claim that zoning laws require the separate entrances. The resulting outcry – which the NY Post referred to as “class doorfare,” now puts the plan in jeopardy, as the Department of Housing Preservation and Development currently is taking a second look at the proposal.
Now it seems that something similar is taking shape in the West.
Townscape Partners of Beverly Hills and Angelo Gordon & Co are looking to double an already massive 90,000 square foot office space on Beverly Boulevard that used to house the famed ICM Talent Agency.
In the West Hollywood project, the developer is seeking similar ways of avoiding contemporary zoning requirements – in part because the age of the current building exempts them from density restrictions – but also by adding a very small number of affordable housing units for low-income renters. And, like the New York City project, the proposal also segregates the low-income renters from the attractive amenities.
In an aggressive move, Townscape Partners sent letter to the city, warning that;
“Under applicable state law and the city’s municipal code, the city may not deny the project, since it qualifies for a density bonus and provides affordable housing.”
Citing environmental concerns, local residents are already objecting to the project. The city’s Community Development Department is also pushing back, saying;
“the current configuration has the affordable units looking down on a pool they are prohibited from using. This very obvious delineation of amenities runs contrary to West Hollywood’s policies of inclusiveness and equal access for all … Housing staff remains unable to support the proposed project because there would be separate amenity areas for the affordable housing tenants and the market-rate homeowners.”
Townscape’s cozy relationship with the West Hollywood City Council certainly wont hurt their chances - Wehoville reports that;
“Townscape was a major donor to opponents of the successful campaign to establish term limits for West Hollywood City Council members in 2013, giving $2,500 to that effort. Its principals, John Irwin and Tyler Siegel, and members of their families donated $1,500 to Councilmember John Duran’s re-election campaign last year and $500 to the campaign of Councilmember Jeffrey Prang.”
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