A Mounting Tab to Fix King/Drew

The tab for fixing decades of mismanagement and neglect at the troubled Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center is mounting , and officials say it will be months before they know if the money is being well spent, the Los Angeles Times reported. The consulting firm hired to run the Los Angeles County-owned hospital has asked for a $3.4-million increase beyond the $13.2 million it is being given to do the job this year. The new request includes five nurse managers at $36,000 each per month. The firm, Navigant Consulting Inc., said the 25 percent increase reflects additional costs that had been anticipated when the contract was signed last fall.

Wal-Mart's Supercenters Delayed in California
As Wal-Mart Stores Inc. tries to plant dozens of new supercenters in California, lawyers aligned with opposition groups are using California's environmental laws to stall the nation's largest retailer, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. Lawyers have sued more than 30 cities that approved the 200,000-square-foot grocery and department stores, claiming local officials hungry for sales taxes miscalculated the environmental consequences. At least seven attorneys throughout California have filed lawsuits that claim the new stores violate the California Environmental Quality Act. They're delaying the opening of some stores and slowing Wal-Mart's plan to build up to 40 new supercenters in a state that's one of the company's few major U.S. growth opportunities.

Grand Avenue Building Goes Condo
Developer Izek Shomof said he plans to spend $11 million to convert the 130,000-square-foot National building at 609 S. Grand Ave. into 99 loft-style condominiums, the Los Angeles Downtown News reported. Shomof closed escrow last month on the 13-story property, which sits at Sixth Street and Grand Avenue in downtown L.A. Construction could start as soon as next month. Plans by architect Mueller Design call for units ranging from 800 to 1,300 square feet. The specifics of the designs are still being worked out, although Shomof said he has applied for permits. The former office building marks Shomof's first downtown project off of Spring Street, where his developments include the Premiere Towers and the City Lofts.

Trash Companies Beautify Their Sun Valley Properties
Tired of living in the shadow of smelly trash yards, community activists pressured recycling and refuse companies to make multimillion-dollar improvements that will result in cleaner, greener businesses, the Daily News of Los Angeles reported. Three companies in Sun Valley already have committed to landscape their properties and to enclose their trash-sorting operations to cut odors and dust. The activists' effort coincides with a boom in the local recycling business. The city of L.A. is launching campaigns to encourage residents to reuse up to 70 percent of their trash, and recycling companies are expanding to meet the demand.


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