Retail Rebuttal

Your editorial, ("Stores To A Fault?" July 30) is critical of the convergence of so many new retail developments in Los Angeles. However, you overlook that each of the areas you identified not only has its own distinctive flavor, each has a population close by that will be better served as a result of these developments. Additionally, while each is likely to draw visitors from other areas of the region, each will also serve its local community.

We have also always distinguished our development as having one enormous advantage: the Farmers Market. An L.A. institution for more than 67 years, the Market does more than "maintain the character" of the neighborhood of which it is a part it is a primary source of that character. Indeed, some would argue that the Market is a character. That character has, from the outset, informed the development that will surround it, just as Hollywood's development is informed by the history of that community (witness the incorporation of a new theater for the Academy Awards).

The Grove at Farmers Market will indeed have corporate stores like Nordstrom, the Gap and Banana Republic, among others. To their advantage, they will be neighbors to the more than 70 "mom and pop" shops at Farmers Market. Many of these stores have been around for decades, some are on their third generation of family operators. Others are brand new. From the earliest stages of planning for the Grove, developer Rick Caruso understood that the "anchor" for his impressive plans would be Farmers Market.

So as you admonished, we are more than meeting the challenge of balancing the Market's tradition and history with the style and panache of The Grove. We are committed to that balance. We have been from the beginning.

Hank Hilty
President, A.F. Gilmore Co.
Los Angeles
Lofty Returns

Christopher Keough did a great job in reporting how lofts are leading the way ("Loft Proposal Latest Round in Hollywood Housing Proposal," Aug. 27), but I suggest that the real play here is for-sale lofts, like happened in the South of Market area (SoMa) in San Francisco.

In that regard, I suggest that the tax and financial incentives in play in the Artists District east of Alameda Street and their neighbors to the west in Little Tokyo, Chinatown and Olvera Street will win out.

Is it possible to deduct $60,000 a year in furniture, fixtures and equipment in Hollywood? How about tax-exempt interest on Fannie Mae-guaranteed bonds at 4 percent to 5 percent? How about state and federal wage credits? These are all available downtown.

But best of all zero capital gains for the creative ones who develop "Direct TV" or other goodies (movie scripts, write music or other creative things) in their work/live lofts downtown.

James E. Schneider
Attorney at Law
San Diego

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