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Developer of South LA’s 'Wildly-out-of-Character' High-Rise Hit With Lawsuit

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30-story tower part of huge mixed-use development

A massive mixed-user planned for an 11-acre property in West Adams near the Expo Line’s La Cienega/Jefferson station might have hit a major bump in the road. Two groups, Friends of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative and the Crenshaw Subway Coalition, are suing the project’s developers, Carmel Partners, as well as the Los Angeles City Council, over what they’ve deemed an "illegal skyscraper."

They're asking the judge for an injunction to halt the tower's construction, arguing it violates the city charter and the California Environmental Quality Act, which requires cities to assess and mitigate a development's impact on the surrounding area, including on traffic and transportation.

In an interview with CBS LA, Crenshaw Subway Coalition founder Damon Goodmon called the project "wildly out of character" with the neighborhood, and expressed concern for the gridlock that would come from it. "As a community, we would like to see new improvements and investment but not this type of investment," he said.

The tower would be South LA’s first high-rise, soaring up to 320 feet in as many as 30 stories. It would be part of a multi-use complex called Cumulus that also holds offices, commercial space, a grocery store. In total, the complex would have just over 1,200 units of one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

The two groups say the project is in an area where the tallest buildings are only four stories tall.

The Crenshaw Subway Coalition unsuccessfully sued Metro over the Crenshaw Line light rail, which will cut through Leimert Park, Hyde Park, Inglewood, and eventually have a stop that connects to LAX. The coalition had argued construction would ravage businesses along Crenshaw Boulevard. It wanted an underground segment as opposed to above-ground rail there.

Friends of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative is a group described as "supporters of the ballot measure" of the same name. Its spokeswoman is Jill Stewart, who is the campaign director for the Coalition to Preserve LA, the group sponsoring the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative up for vote in November. That initiative seeks to slow down development citywide by requiring city planners to strictly adhere to the city's outdated General Plan.

Construction on the West Adams mixed-user was expected to begin in 2018.