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Saturday, Jan 28, 2023

Luxury Multifamily Project at Flower Market Is Stalled

A 12-story multifamily development at the site of the Southern California Flower Market has been halted.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge issued a peremptory writ of mandate in June ordering the city of Los Angeles to set aside its approval of plans for the mixed-use project from the Southern California Flower Growers Inc. The plans called for a new 12-story building with 323 luxury multifamily units.

For the project to continue, it will need to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation sued the city in December 2019 over its approval of the development, arguing “the project’s environmental impacts were flawed as to greenhouse gas emissions and noise impacts.”

“This is a welcome victory in the ongoing battle to ensure the City Council adheres to environmental standards and that it protects and actually represents the most vulnerable residents of Los Angeles,” Michael Weinstein, AHF president, said in a statement.

The Southern California Flower Growers' Scott Yamabe said he was “disappointed in the court's ruling” and would work to amend the project and go in front of City Hall in the next few months.

He has been working on the project for six years and estimated it would be eight years before the project was able to break ground.

“There’s no wonder why there’s such a housing shortage,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that groups like the AHF, which has nothing to do with us whatsoever, are able to use CEQA and the California courts to delay projects like ours. If we don’t give them what they want, they hold us up in court,” Yamabe said.

AHF also objected to the project not containing any affordable housing units. Plans did, however, call for moderate-income housing.

“We remain deeply concerned about the City Council fast-tracking luxury developments as well as cutting corners on environmental impact reports, as done here,” Weinstein added.
 “We vow to continue to hold our elected city officials and city departments accountable to ensure they don’t just give away our city to deep-pocketed, money-hungry developers and instead build the buildings and housing that we actually need.”

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been active on the real estate front. Earlier this year, the group purchased a 190-unit multifamily building in the Westlake area for $30 million.

The property, known as the Sinclair, is located at 2208 W. 8th St.
According to CoStar Group Inc., the AIDS Healthcare Foundation purchased the property with the intention to convert it into low-income housing.

In addition to providing medical care to HIV and AIDS patients, the foundation has also launched housing provider and housing advocacy divisions.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has filed lawsuits against other projects in the past as well, slowing down projects like Crossroads Hollywood.

Hannah Madans Welk
Hannah Madans Welk
Hannah Madans Welk is a managing editor at the Los Angeles Business Journal and the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. She previously covered real estate for the Los Angeles Business Journal. She has done work with publications including The Orange County Register, The Real Deal and doityourself.com.

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