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What's bugging you? Unfinished construction

January 26, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Do you have an eyesore in your neighborhood? Eyewitness News viewers say abandoned buildings are bugging them. So how do you get rid of these problems?

It looks like an abandoned forest of concrete and metal: huge pylons shooting up from the ground and rebar rusting in the sun.

A dream of fancy homes has become a nightmare for some Eagle Rock residents.

"On your website it says 'What's bugging you?' And I thought, 'You know what's bugging me? These unfinished and abandoned construction sites,'" said Eagle Rock resident Harry Lentz.

Lentz has lived in Eagle Rock for 37 years.

"It's an embarrassment to our community," said Lentz.

The site on Colorado Blvd. has been unfinished for several years. The builder defaulted and now it's owned by a bank.

"There'd be graffiti and then there'd be the attempt to paint it over, which only leaves strange-looking rectangles, and it was very unpleasant then," said Lentz. "And people had access to walk into it and out."

"Our inspectors have received phone calls wondering if the project is going to move forward or if it's going to stay like that any longer. We just don't know," said David Lara, spokesman for the L.A. Dept. of Building and Safety.

It's a sign of the times in the bad economy. And there are other unfinished projects in Southern California.

The city of Los Angeles says it is doing what it can to make sure they get completed.

"The property is unique. It's a 17-unit live-work loft, so it's not quite commercial, it's not quite residential. It's a hybrid of the two," said Kristina Kaminski, the realtor trying to get the Eagle Rock property sold.

"It's very tough for commercial financing, especially with a unique project like this. Most banks are not lending on speculative type of properties," said Kaminski.

What can you do if there is a property like that in your neighborhood? All cities and counties have rules that owners must follow to make sure the property doesn't cause problems for other residents. In Los Angeles it's the Department of Building and Safety.

"It's probably very frustrating for the local neighbors seeing that. Probably many of them consider it as an eyesore. But we'll try to take actions necessary to prevent that. And just making sure that the property is clean and secure," said Lara.

The good news about this property is that it's reportedly in negotiations to be sold and completed. Officials say instead of an eyesore it will then be a benefit to the community.