It's not clear whether all the attention being given to Hollywood and Western is warranted (the neighbors will certainly say it is), but right now it seems the entire city has fixed a beady eye on this corner, site of three derelict, CIM-owned properties. Following news that the developer agreed to tear down the buildings, here's what's happened in the last week: Lawyers from the City Attorney’s office, the LAPD, and CIM vice- president of development Philip Friedl toured the property together, two women--the same team who led the media push--made and released a homegrown news video about the site, and a handful of reporters have visited the property. On the property this afternoon, we ran into David Vaccaro, principal inspector for the Department of Building & Safety, who was sniffing around the site, carrying a camera (it wasn't entirely clear what he was doing). And Almeido Arechiga, supervisor for construction company Marcor, was also on the site, leading a crew and preparing, he said, for demolition of one of the three properties (the massage parlor) tomorrow. (Asbestos removal work, the last barrier before the actual structures come down, is currently underway.) This place is hopping!
Meanwhile, what’s next? In one scenario, there could be a lot finger-pointing between all these parties, and questions raised about why these derelict buildings were left standing.
In an interview this morning, Assistant City Attorney Tina Hess stressed that her office was made aware of the site by citizens' complaints, not Building & Safety, which, in an ideal world, would have been the department to pass on the case. Giving a cursory look at the permitting history, Hess believes that CIM and Building & Safety did everything in a timely matter to help the properties come down. “I think everyone has done what they should have done."
Still, she added that she believes that CIM could have maintained the properties better than they did. “I would say that clearly CIM should have done more to keep those properties secured,” said Hess. Referring to the numerous people who have been sleeping and loitering on the property, Hess said: “A dozen people clearly residing in one of the properties, that should never happen, particularly with a company like CIM."
"It's a huge corporation, it's typically a responsible neighbor in Hollywood, I suspect they may have dropped the ball.”
While CIM executives didn't return an email request for more information about the site, it's likely they're none too pleased with whatever CIM manager was in charge of this property. And who wants to take the blame on this one? Despite all the media attention, the tour from the city attorney's office and the LAPD, AND more security barriers and locks placed on the site, people are still breaking into the area, according to Arechiga.
He told us that when he arrived at 6:30 am today, he woke up six people in the house. “Everyday they come in the nighttime to sleep,” he said. Last Thursday morning, he said he stumbled upon 18 people sleeping in the house (the three properties: There's the house, the massage parlor and the Bon Air hotel). If the massage parlor does come down tomorrow, that'll be one less place to sleep.
· Hollywood Eyesores Are Coming Down, Says CIM [Curbed LA]
*First three photos via Cindy DuHaime; following photos taken by Curbed today