9/16/09
Councilman LaBonge Hosts Western Avenue Walk-through
By Rainer Standke

On September 10th, Councilmember Tom LaBonge invited representatives of neighborhood organizations and stakeholders to a walk-through of the west side of Western Avenue between Franklin Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. The participants of the walk-through included representatives from Immaculate High School, several Neighborhood Councils, The Los Feliz Improvement Association, The Oaks HOA, and several City departments such as the LAPD, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), the City Attorney’s office and the MTA.

The area on Western Avenue has recently became the focus of concern because of a vacant motel that has attracted homeless people and drug dealers. The property belongs to the CIM Real Estate Group which took a long time before finally demolishing the building just last week. A September 2 story in L.A. Weekly casts a harsh spotlight on the maneuverings.

The CRA made an effort to buy the property, but their proposal was declined by the CRA board. CIM is said to have given up on plans for development and to be looking to sell.

Not surprisingly, given the current business climate, there are no immediate plans for any development on the west side of Western. However, Tom LaBonge pointed out that the northwest corner of Western and Hollywood is the last ‘un-developed’ corner at a subway station in Los Angeles. So it is not un-reasonable to expect that at some point some re-development will ensue on a block that is currently home to a former bank building, as well as the offices of Childrens Hospital L.A., a hardware store, a group home housing parolees and the mentally ill, a Rite Aid drug store, a flower shop, an adult video store and other businesses. How soon that might occur seems largely dependent on the recovery of the economy at large. Mr. LaBonge indicated that the corner area could support a multi-story structure, and should include an entrance to the subway station. He also seemed interested in what the community at large thinks should happen in the area.

If you have ideas for the future of this block of Western Avenue, you are welcome to share them with the Council office. The ways to contact Councilmember LaBonge’s office are listed on his website. His field representative covering the Oaks is Mary D. Rodriguez.

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