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Tue, Apr

Developer Checks Out of Villa Carlotta Hotel Conversion Plans … Victory for Community

LOS ANGELES

DEEGAN ON LA-Breaking News-Audible gasps, in the Department of City Planning hearing room Wednesday, greeted the surprising news from Vila Carlotta developer CGI Properties that it was withdrawing its application to turn the historic Franklin Avenue apartment house into a hotel.

“This is what’s achievable when you have representatives in office that are responsive. David Ryu (CD4) was engaged, and he kept his word” exclaimed Sylvie Shain, the last evicted tenant of the Villa Carlotta to move out—-just a few weeks ago. 

Shain, the leading figure in the long fight against converting the historic structure, with its star-drenched history of tenants and “bohemians”, was nearly speechless when reached by CityWatch on-set at her production job following the unexpected announcement by the developer.

Sarah Dessault, chief-of-staff for Councilmember David Ryu (CD4) provided this statement to CityWatch: “Councilmember Ryu's goal is to create and preserve great neighborhoods and protecting Villa Carlotta and its rich history is an important part of that effort. (Photo left: Councilman David Ryu with CES executive director Larry Gross.)

“We are grateful to CGI for their decision to withdraw their application for a zone change. They listened to us and to the community and are working to restore this cultural monument. 

“Working closely with Larry Gross and the Coalition for Economic Survival and the tenants throughout this process has invigorated the Councilmember's work to protect tenants rights and prevent displacement.”

The Hollywood United Neighborhood Council was also against the hotel conversion, and made that known last week. They stressed, in their board decision, that affordable housing should be prioritized over hotel conversions.

Unknown is what’s next for the building, that will continue to undergo renovations by the developer, or whether Shain, and all the other tenants that were evicted through use of the Ellis Act, would be given the right to return which is conditionally embedded in that state law. 

The Wallace Neff designed Villa Carlotta was built in 1926, in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, is a standout piece of architecture in the neighborhood known as Franklin Village. Tenants for the first fifty years of operation read like a who's who of the movie and music worlds.

For now, one Hollywood dream has come true, and a Councilmember that ran on a pledge to listen to the community has delivered on his promise, which is good, all around.

(Tim Deegan is a long-time resident and community leader in the Miracle Mile, who has served as board chair at the Mid City West Community Council and on the board of the Miracle Mile Civic Coalition. Tim can be reached at [email protected].)

-cw 

 

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