LA City Council demands owner clean up graffiti-covered downtown high-rises

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Saturday, February 10, 2024
LA City Council demands cleanup of graffiti-covered high-rises
Los Angeles is demanding that the owner of a heavily tagged high-rise project clean up the property - or the city will do it and send them the bill.

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The city of Los Angeles is demanding that the now-bankrupt owner of a heavily tagged high-rise project clean up the downtown property - or the city will do it themselves and stick them with the bill.

The City Council on Friday passed a resolution calling on the owners of Oceanwide Plaza to start removing the graffiti that now covers much of the 27-story complex, as well as removing the scaffolding blocking the sidewalks and securing the property from additional vandalism.

Construction on the three-tower complex halted in 2020 as the Chinese developers went bankrupt. In recent weeks, taggers have gained access to the property - some of them reportedly coming from out of town - and have spray-painted graffiti on the exterior of nearly every floor.

The council resolution gives the owners until Feb. 17 to start the cleanup.

"In the event that they don't do it, we'll do it for them and we'll stick them with the bill," said City Councilman Kevin de Leon.

Four people were arrested for trespassing at the complex earlier this week.

The abandoned and graffitied high-rises in downtown L.A. have become a magnet for taggers. Meanwhile, city officials are preparing to order the owners to clean it all up.

Other advocates in Los Angeles say the current council motion doesn't go far enough. Some suggest the city purchase or take over the property, perhaps to use as housing for the homeless.

"Exploring receivership is one of those options the city really needs to pursue," said Nella McOsker, president of the Central City Association of Los Angeles. "Every available tool they have."

But de Leon says such an undertaking would be far too expensive for the city. He estimated it would cost at least $500 million just to purchase the unfinished project as-is, and perhaps another $1 billion to complete construction.