Lead Story West Edition

Development opponents settle lawsuits

SOUTH LOS ANGELES — The multi-use $1.2 billion development known as The Reef will be moving forward.

Last week, Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price announced that two lawsuits holding up the project had been settled out of court.

“I grew up in the Ninth Council District, and for far too long the community has been overlooked and disregarded,” Price said.

“The Reef represents a significant investment in our community without any public money or subsidies. We have not seen that show of confidence in South L.A. in decades.”

The Los Angeles City Council approved the project last November, but community activists believed that it didn’t have enough affordable housing for low-income residents in the area.

“Initially, it was required that only 5 percent of affordable housing was only in the apartments,” said Cynthia Strathmann, executive director of Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), one of the organizations that filed a lawsuit.

“We’ve agreed to increase the number of required affordable units in the project from approximately 25 to approximately 70.”

The other organization that filed a lawsuit, Golden State Environmental Justice Alliance, could not be reached for comment.

A statement released by SAJE adds that the requirement secures those units as affordable housing stock for more than 50 years, representing an investment worth approximately $20 million.

The agreement also requires that dependent students seeking to rent affordable units include parental income on applications, an important failsafe to ensure that low-income families can access those units, given the project’s proximity to the University of Southern California.

“Speaking generally and not in regards to this specific project, housing is a human right,” Strathmann added.

“If we want to tackle the affordability crisis in this city we need to prioritize building affordable housing instead of working to ensure that developers turn a profit.”

The development would convert a parking lot and warehouse in the existing Reef space just south of the Santa Monica (10) Freeway in the 1900 block of South Broadway.

When complete, it will include shops, a hotel, and 1,444 residential units that include affordable housing, condominiums, apartments and live/work units.

“Most importantly, it will create more than 3,000 good-paying jobs, with a 30 percent local hiring agreement,” Price said, “as a part of a wide-ranging community benefits package that includes job training, youth and recreational programming.

“The Reef will contribute $18 million for affordable housing.”

The project became a campaign issue during Price’s re-election campaign earlier this year.

Adriana Cabrera, who ran against Price in March for the 9th District seat, said she decided to run against Price after hearing about the project last year.

“Last year I was in search of a one-bedroom apartment to rent in South Central,” Cabrera said. “I spent months looking for an affordable place.

The news of the settled lawsuits isn’t the only recent developments in The Reef project.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the owners of the project — renamed Broadway Square Los Angeles — are looking to sell the property or find a partner to help them develop it.