The skyrocketing demand for real estate in Venice, both residential and commercial, is helpfully illustrated by scores of tiny, rundown houses selling for millions and tech companies like Snapchat and Google snapping up thousands and thousands of square feet of space, pushing out smaller tenants and companies in the process. The Washington Post took stock of the hypergentrifying scene in Venice these days and found that old-timer locals have no nice words for their new tech neighbors and the many ways that their arrival is changing the 'hood (one fellow has even switched to Bing!). But after seeing how Snapchat, perhaps the most space-gobbling tech company in Venice, treated a do-gooder neighbor, it seems like those long-time residents have good reason to be haters.
Lauri Burns is the founder of a youth shelter called the Teen Project, a nonprofit that provides housing to young homeless people (there are a lot in Venice). Formerly located near the Snapchat headquarters on Market Street, Teen Project was booted out when the company rented up more space for their growing team. It didn't seem to bother them that they were taking space from a youth homeless organization. Burns says that Snapchat "shoved us right out and treated us like redheaded stepchildren."
Snapchat, for its part, said in an email to the WP that the company "strive[s] to be great neighbors within the community where we live and work." What does that look like in practice? Shortly before the move, a Snapchat exec approached Burns, saying he'd "noticed one of her homeless clients sweeping the street with an old broom, so he offered to buy the organization a new one."
The only help the homeless organization (for a while, ironically, homeless) has gotten recently has been from two "often-demonized" neighborhood real estate agents. Carl Lambert, helped the Teen Project find a new property near its old place and got its rent waived. Tami Pardee donated $17,000 to the organization—an amount that helped house 16 homeless young people—in the wake of the death of a homeless man who was shot by police on the Venice boardwalk.
The TP founder "speaks highly" of the agents and their contributions, but has no love for Snapchat, which so far has donated one computer and one vacuum to the nonprofit. They are still waiting for their broom.
· How Snapchat tech titans are harshing the mellow in Venice Beach [WP]
· A Partial List of Venice Businesses Potentially Pushed Out By Unstoppable Snapchat [Curbed LA]