Extra! Extra! Medical landlord G&L Realty Corp. says that medical offices in Beverly Hills provide a tremendous fiscal benefit to Beverly Hills. I’m guessing that whoever wrote the op-ed in the Oct. 4 issue (“Reviewing the Medical Reports”) that was signed by G&L principals Dan Gottlieb and Steve Lebowitz made a typo. What they probably meant to say was: Medical offices in Beverly Hills provide a tremendous fiscal benefit to G&L.

Let’s look beyond that little typo to the conclusions drawn by Gottlieb and Lebowitz, who ultimately seem to be saying, “What’s good for G&L is good for Beverly Hills.”

Their criticism of former City Manager Rod Wood and his Business Journal op-ed (“A Healthy Prescription?”) in the Sept. 13 issue rests on their interpretation of several “studies,” including one which they commissioned themselves. It should be noted that Wood’s op-ed was specifically in reference to ordinances being considered by the city to limit the explosion of medical office space, which already takes up more than 21 percent of the city’s limited commercial space. (In Los Angeles, medical office space amounts to about 5 percent of all commercial space.)

Wood’s point was that Beverly Hills needs to resist the shortsighted conversion of office space to medical in the longer-term interests of our community.

Gottlieb and Lebowitz argue that a study commissioned by the city showed that 9 percent of business license taxes are generated by medical uses. In their own more recent study, this amount decreased to 8.2 percent, while medical office space in the city is expanding, not contracting. Twenty-one percent of our commercial space is generating 8.2 percent of revenue. From a pure business perspective, it doesn’t seem like the most efficient use of limited commercial space. For that matter, it doesn’t seem like a great return on investment from any perspective.

Gottlieb and Lebowitz’s argument that medical uses are more important to the city than entertainment companies simply shows how narrow the blinders were adjusted when their op-ed was written. The image, cachet and lifestyle that have made Beverly Hills an internationally recognizable brand of its own have everything to do with the historical and ongoing connection with the entertainment industry. While there may be a limited number of people who use our hotels for plastic surgery, more come to Beverly Hills to enjoy our lifestyle. Our cachet is “Come to Beverly Hills and see a star – eat where the stars eat and shop where the stars shop.” It’s not: “Come to Beverly Hills to see a sick person – or the latest advances in plastic surgery.”

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