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Crossroads of the World redevelopment will knock down 82 rent-controlled apartments

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The city struck a deal to give some of the tenants new apartments

Two tall buildings are in the distance. In the foreground is a road with cars. there are palm trees and buildings lining the road. Courtesy of Harridge Development Group

The redevelopment of Crossroads of the World—one of the highest-profile projects in booming Hollywood—is poised to bring 950 units of new housing to Sunset Boulevard. But, in order to that, it will bulldoze 82 rent-controlled apartments.

The development plans have been kicking around for three years, but on Wednesday—the day before the city’s planning commission was scheduled to review the project—Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell announced he had struck a deal with the developer to help some tenants who would be displaced by construction.

The agreement will allow remaining tenants of the Sunset Las Palmas apartment building, which sits on the project site, to live in new Crossroads apartments—at the same price they’re paying today.

“I’m confident tenants will be taken care of,” said Samantha Millman, president of the planning commission, which voted Thursday to endorse the project.

Under the agreement, tenants will be charged “rental rates commensurate to their existing rates” for new apartments of a comparable size. Additionally, annual rent increases will be capped at 3 percent per year, similar to the main provisions of LA’s rent stabilization ordinance.

Representatives for Harridge Development Group told the commission that only about 40 residents still live in the Sunset Las Palmas apartments.

By the time the deal was struck, Harridge had already arranged cash buyouts with about half of the building’s tenants.

“It pains me to think about these [rent-stabilized] units coming off the market,” said commissioner Karen Mack. “We’re losing [rent-stabilized] units for middle-class people in Los Angeles. It’s incredible how many people who I talk to who... are having a hard time affording living in the city.”

Under city law, a property owner who knocks down a rent-stabilized building must give tenants money to help pay for relocation costs—but it doesn’t have to offer them replacement units in a new building.

In exchange for building denser than what city codes allow, Harridge will also set aside 105 affordable units for renters with “very low” incomes (this year, the qualifying income limit for a single-person household is $33,950).

“The project could end up with a 105 very-low income units and 40 de-facto RSO units,” said Kyndra Casper, a land use attorney working with Harridge.

But Sunset Las Palmas tenants who meet the affordable housing requirements will get affordable units instead of RSO-equivalent apartments. That could chip away at the number of affordable units that would have otherwise been offered to non-Sunset Las Palmas tenants.

That’s why commissioner Renee Dake Wilson wanted the developer to agree to add 82 more affordable units to the project.

But the majority of the commission didn’t back her up; a representative for Harridge told commissioners: “We’re already going above and beyond what we’re required to do.”

The 1.4-million-square-foot Crossroads Hollywood complex would rise up around two Los Angeles landmarks: Crossroads of the World and the former home of The Hollywood Reporter. The latter will remain intact because local preservationists intervened.

The redevelopment will entail the addition of 190,000 square feet of commercial space and a 308-room hotel on a site roughly bordered by Sunset Boulevard and Selma Avenue, east of McCadden Place.

Commissioner Marc Mitchell called it an iconic site that has largely sat dormant.

“This project is long overdue,” he said

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the number of affordable units that would be provided if Sunset Las Palmas tenants move into the project.