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LA Times Profiles the Alexandria, Brady, and Celia

By Eric Richardson
Published: Sunday, May 22, 2005, at 09:11AM

There's a long article in the LA Times today featuring the Alexandria Hotel. "At the Corner of Have and Have-Not" talks about the Hotel's glamorous past and its present state at a low-rent residential hotel in the midst of Downtown development. The piece features a bit on Brady, Downtown's "most devoted gadfly and promoter." It also not only mentions Celia's blog at 5thandspring, but the online edition even links to it. They must be going tech savvy with this new redesign.

I have some issues with the text of the article that I don't really have time to get into right now, but I do want to point out a few things that stuck out to me.

Martin Yacoobian Jr., the owner of the Hotel, is portrayed as wanting to keep the Alexandria as low-rent housing. I've never had a problem with that. But it seems to me that if he were really interested in the building or the neighborhood he would put some work into the restoration of the Hotel's ground floor features. Charlie O's, their bar on the corner of 5th & Spring, has an amazing location. It's huge inside. And yet it sits there entirely underutilized, serving a small clientelle and closing early in the night. It's long been my contention that revitalized ground floor spaces such as Charlie O's would serve as ideal points for the residents of the old and new Downtown to break down some of the area's balkanization.

"It's truly the classic example of the haves and have-nots," says activist Pete White, founder and co-director of the L.A. Community Action Network, which monitors tenants at downtown residential hotels. "It's really like drawing a line in the sand. The last bastion of hope [for affordable housing] is Spring Street."

This I just don't see. Spring has the Alexandria, and? What? I can't think of any other affordable housing up or down the street.

Last month, the Midnight Mission, which has served the homeless from its 4th and Los Angeles site since 1922, moved to a new building a few blocks away at 6th and San Pedro streets. Locals hope the derelicts and drug dealers move with it.

So the drug dealers and derelicts are operating out of the Midnight Mission now? I seem to understand that the Mission does a great job of helping those who come to it turn their lives around. I don't think they're responsible for the "drug dealers and derelicts" on Main and Los Angeles.


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