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Daily News Takes Yet Another Snipe at Downtown

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, May 04, 2006, at 11:28AM

It's almost entertaining to watch the Daily News talk about Downtown. They really don't like us. They hate the attention Downtown gets, and they aren't shy in finding a negative angle on any story about the redevelopment taking place. Consider this editorial running today. It's a little scattered, but largely it's saying the City's motive in appealing the recent sidewalk-sleeping decision isn't predators, it's clearing the streets for redevelopment.

In support of the point they throw this out there (emphasis mine):

City leaders are also backing plans that would cost tens of millions of dollars to build homeless shelters throughout the county. That is, anywhere but downtown.

Then there's the city's commitment to a $100 million fund to subsidize the cost of building affordable housing because Los Angeles' overheated real-estate market has priced many out of living in the city.

What's hard to understand, then, is why city officials have turned a blind eye to the thousands of renters being thrown out of their affordable apartment units that are being converted into condos because big profits can be made in that same overheated real-estate market.

City leaders have generally been content to do nothing about this trend, but recent publicity has forced the council to announce that it will hold "hearings" on the matter.

Where? Where were these thousands of people living? What buildings threw them out?

I assume they mean that SRO's are going condo. Last August I linked to a Housing Department report on SRO's. That report cited a loss of 1,087 SRO rooms. Just under half of that was the closing of the Clark Hotel, with 513 rooms. That property is being rehabbed for hotel use, not condo. The controversial conversion of the Bristol Hotel, which closed 103 rooms, is for boutique hotel use.

The only condo conversion the report listed was that of the El Dorado Hotel. The Frontier Hotel is undergoing a gradual conversion, but that's to rental lofts.

The Alexandria Hotel, long rumored for loft conversion, is in fact going the other direction. They're adding a affordable covenant to the building while at the same time upgrading and doing a full rehab.

So have some units been taken off the SRO market? Sure. Many needed to go off, since they weren't really fit for occupancy. But have thousands of people been displaced, particularly for condos? I can't see the numbers backing that up.

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