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Business Group Pitches Plan to Assist Homeless

Central City Association, which represents property owners and businesses in downtown Los Angeles, has put forth its recommendations on what needs to be done to address homelessness, especially around Skid Row.

Carol Schatz, the association’s chief executive, said the increase in homelessness has become the No. 1 concern among downtown property owners and businesses. Her group has called the situation a tipping point for the city.

“Our members are concerned and asked CCA to provide the city and county with direction,” she said. “For example, some downtown residents, especially those with children, are thinking about leaving the area because of the worsening situation. Even many long-term residents who pioneered the (downtown) renaissance over 10 years ago are saddened and shocked about the conditions on the street.”

Previously, the association has focused much of its advocacy on enforcement of anti-encampment laws and building more housing for the homeless. Its seven-page briefing paper issued last month said more – much more, in fact – needs to be done.

“CCA offers these recommendations because the homelessness crisis has become an emergency,” the briefing paper says.

Proposals include more funding to convert existing drop-in centers to temporary shelters and detoxification centers, creating a city general manager position tasked with ending homelessness in Los Angeles as well as establishing a tax exemption for multifamily development projects with affordable housing components in new and existing buildings.

In addition, Schatz emphasized that the association wants a more regional approach to the problem. Rather than opening additional facilities offering homeless services downtown, she said such centers should be spread throughout Los Angeles County.

“Homelessness can no longer be ignored or dealt with by building only permanent supportive housing, shelters and transitional housing in the downtown area alone,” she said.

Beer Bar on Tap

Mikkeller Bar, a specialty beer-focused brand with pubs across the globe in such cities as Copenhagen, Denmark; Bangkok; and Tokyo, will soon open its eighth outpost, having selected a former tire store in South Park that has been vacant for seven years.

The bar’s owner, Chuck Stilphen, signed a 10-year lease for 7,600 square feet of space at 1000 S. Olive St.

He’s planning an extensive renovation of the shop. The grand opening is slated for fall of next year, as long as the bar can secure electrical and plumbing permits from the city by then, said Stilphen.

The new location will have at least 50 tap handles, a full bar and a kitchen serving pub grub. Mikkeller’s only other U.S. location is in San Francisco.

“We tend to have (rare) beers other people don’t have,” Stilphen said.

Though he considers Los Angeles more of a cocktail-focused city, Stilphen said he wants to capitalize on what he sees as a burgeoning craft-beer scene.

“We poked around in Hollywood but were drawn to downtown,” he said. “I like that all the buildings down here, instead of being done over in the ’80s to some (unattractive) design, were just neglected from the ’20s. The architecture is incredible. I just like the whole vibe.”

The South Olive building was built in 1916.

Stilphen, who is still working with design teams on renovation plans, said he wants to keep the shop’s 20-foot ceilings intact.

Derrick Moore and Amit Parekh of Avison Young’s downtown office represented both the tenant and landlord, PSP Investment Group, in the lease transaction.

Downtown’s PSP tasked the brokers with securing a very cool and hip food concept for the space, Moore said.

When Mikkeller Bar is complete, more than 1,000 new residential units will be scheduled to have opened within walking distance of the business.

Going Wild

A new feat of technology wizardry for fans at Staples Center was inspired by the frenzied crowds at European soccer matches.

This season, fans attending Los Angeles Kings and Los Angeles Clippers games can download an app called Fanpics, enter their seat number and receive pictures of themselves cheering on their team sent to their smartphones.

The snaps are taken during the game by 12 cameras throughout the arena that capture 500 fans every half-second.

The idea for the app came to 27-year-old Fanpics Chief Executive Will Dickinson as the London native watched his favorite soccer team, Chelsea F.C., battle Bayern Munich in a Champions League clash. He had a light-bulb moment as he saw the crowd going nuts after a goal in the final minutes.

“Wow, if you’re able to capture that moment, what it means is a lifelong memory,” Dickinson recalled of his epiphany.

Dickinson said the San Diego startup is in talks with additional National Basketball Association and National Hockey League teams and he estimates that the new cameras will be in 30 venues by the end of next year.

Staff reporters Howard Fine, Hannah Miet and Natalie Schachar contributed to this column. #DTLA is compiled by Managing Editor Omar Shamout. He can be reached at oshamout@labusinessjournal.com.

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