The Los Angeles Tenants Union sued a development group Friday over a planned Hollywood complex, contending the $1 billion mixed-use project will force people out of their rent-stabilized apartments.
The lawsuit filed against Harridge Development Group in Los Angeles Superior Court alleges the planned Crossroads development — which includes 950 residential units, a 308-room hotel and 190,000 square feet of commercial space in nine buildings — would displace people who have lived in the area for years.
“The city did the right thing when they approved the project with a condition that said that the tenants are not allowed to be displaced into homelessness,” said Susan Hunter, the caseworker for the Hollywood branch of the Los Angeles Tenants Union. “Harridge has tried to force the tenants to sign an agreement that absolves Harridge of all the responsibility of housing these tenants in the future project.”
Calls and emails to Harridge were not immediately returned.
The project is planned for a location near the former The Hollywood Reporter building on the 6700 block of West Sunset Boulevard.
Crossroads is slated to demolish 82 apartments that are under the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance. Under that ordinance, the union contends, the developers are required to give the tenants a chance to move in where their old residences stood.
Attorney Tyler Anderson, who is representing three current tenants and the union, said the lawsuit’s intent is to guarantee the tenants a place to live in the new development and cap their rent at what it is Friday. Some of the tenants are paying about $1,100 a month, according to the lawsuit.
Del Richardson and Associates, a relocation assistance firm, has set up an office in the current apartment complex and has contacted tenants on a “daily basis,” Anderson said.
Anderson said tenants are “consistently being pressured” to accept some kind of buyout deal and were not provided information about their rights to refuse offers from the developer.
According to the union, when the development was approved by the Los Angeles City Council in February, there was an agreement in place to give the tenants the right to be able to continue living in that location.
“Instead, what Harridge Development Group did is they issued a highly conditional agreement that basically robs the tenants out of their rights,” said Dont Rhine, a union member and community organizer. “What happens to them between the moment they vacate and if they return is not specified. A plan would specify where the tenants would go. At the moment, no such plan exists.”
Although about 100 units in the new development will be set for affordable housing, the union said that doesn’t guarantee the tenants would be able to return.
Danny Hernandez, an 11-year tenant of the current apartments, said he would not be able to afford to live in Hollywood if an agreement to allow his return and current rate of rent is not established.
About 50 families would be affected by the development, according to the union.