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State Denies Funding for Plummer Park, Affordable Housing

Municipal bonds West Hollywood sold for the development projects are now in limbo.

Plans for upgrades at Plummer Park and an affordable housing project on La Brea Avenue were further delayed when the state denied an appeal for redevelopment funds, West Hollywood officials announced last week.

In March 2011, the city issued $27 million in bonds to finance the $41 million Plummer Park redevelopment plan and $9 million in bonds for the Courtyard at La Brea, 32-unit affordable housing structure that is presently under construction.

Now those debt obligations are in limbo after the California Department of Finance denied redevelopment funds to cover the remaining costs of those projects.

"We're going to have to move forward with other agencies and look at legal means of securing those monies or other legislative opportunities," Weho City Manager Paul Arevalo said at the Dec. 17 City Council meeting.

David Wilson, West Hollywood finance director, said the bonds can't be recalled until 2021, and the Plummer Park and Courtyard at La Brea projects are on hold as a result.

"The state is looking at it in a really simplistic manner," Arrevalo told the council. He predicted the matter would end up in federal court.

The extensive Plummer Park makeover seeks to add new green space, fountains, a subterranean parking lot, new preschool and performance center, according to the city's website.

According to Wilson, the state's denial of funding was primarily based on the fact that the city hasn't awarded any construction contracts for the park project.

"Our argument is we issued bonds, and that we pay back monthly payments of a 30-year obligation," Wilson said.

Arevalo called the funding delay a "continuing saga," as city officials determine their next move toward financing the projects.

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George December 26, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Please leave Plummer park alone with ONLY modest improvements. If this housing development is the one being built where the old Carls Jr. was them I am against that development. Now there is a giant hole there now.I miss my Carls Jr.
Rudolf Martin December 27, 2012 at 01:10 AM
3 words that scare me here, carefully selected by the city manager, are: "Other legislative opportunities".
me December 27, 2012 at 05:39 AM
take a look at this "under the radar" project to add to the eastside mess of new developments!!!!! http://la.curbed.com/archives/2012/12/mixeduse_fakeout_with_formosa_south_at_the_lot_offices.php
me December 27, 2012 at 06:19 AM
and to all of this i say, "another fine mess you've gotten us into city hall".....exactly how much of this fight of yours going to cost the city this time????
Cathy December 27, 2012 at 04:05 PM
@Paul. The La Brea Courtyard, as it is called is the housing project that has been denied funding. It is located between McDonalds, and Lexington. The Monarch project, a mixed use apartment building (6stories) is what is being built on the Carls Jr. Site, in addition, Monarch is also building another mixed use (5 stories) apartment at Fountain and La Brea where John's market was. It seems to me the city should contest the denial of funding for the housing project, as it for low & lower income, and disabled housing. The park on the other hand was never "blighted", (one of the prerequisites for redevelopment funding), nor ever a project, it was a just a plan......
Brian Hamilton December 27, 2012 at 08:03 PM
I agree. Please leave Plummer Park alone, John Heilman and Abbe Land.
Profes Shivers December 27, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Yes--Plummer needs NO big makeover, AND Heilman and Land need to GO!!!
Ali December 27, 2012 at 11:59 PM
That project is not under the radar and it is just an office building on the lot. We knew it was coming when they tore down buildings on the lot to make room for it. Just because Curbed called it under the radar doesn't make it so.
Ali December 28, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Leave the park alone! As far as the low income project, isn't there a better place to put it? Who wants to live on La Brea? It is so noisy, with so much exhaust fumes. That can't be the best place to put disabled people (of which I am one).
Riley December 28, 2012 at 12:28 AM
The east side was in trouble due to neglect, now it is in trouble with over development. Isn't there a happy medium?
joninla December 28, 2012 at 05:01 AM
@Cathy Thanks for for describing the various projects. The REAL issue and purpose for the entire situation, which is now a total mess (a bigger mess for some than others) is as follows: The Carls and Jons Projects are private developments which got approval to build larger, taller, more square footage and less set backs that the fixed zoning would otherwise allow by 'taking advantage' of now ended State Redevelopment laws and money. If a developer would include "new low income units" they would get an exemption from some of the above zoning restrictions. Likewise, creating 'new public parking spaces' (a certain number) gave them another (stacked on top of the others) exemption in the limits the zoning had for the property. THE SCAM - was the City was getting paid off to use City Money and City Land to pay for and build the so called 'low income housing units' and 'New Public Parking Spaces' on Public City Project .... Which would then allow all the increases in the restrictive zoning limits on the carls lot and the jons lot, BUT WITHOUT ACTUALLY HAVING TO INCLUDE THEM IN THE ACTUAL PROJECTS (i.e. all new units would be 100% high end full price and thus full profit units) OR PAY FOR THEM FROM THE PRIVATE DEVELOPERS BUDGET FOR EACH PROJECT, RESPECTIVELY. NET = APPROX 30% MORE PROFIT ON DEVELOPERS RETURNS THAN THE MARKET WOULD OTHERWISE ALLOW. BUT INDEBITING CITY W/$40 MILL, & DESTROYING PLUMMER PARK.
me December 28, 2012 at 05:51 AM
any neglect on the eastside is due to greedy business property owners who didn't keep up their properties because they were waiting to cash-in at some point when they sell or develop they properties (like the trader joes shopping center).....the city has neglected plummer park for many, many years and now they think big money and bulldozers are the answer all of a sudden....i hope they don't get the state money they are seeking
joninla January 01, 2013 at 05:15 AM
It seems to me our highly paid (for his very high level of expertise in money & financing municipalities) HAS MADE A MAJOR MISTAKE. Paul Arevalo's failure to adequately secure the appropriate state financing before indebting the City with the Bond Issue (all all the costs associated therewith such as commissions and fees on close to $40 million dollars in New Bond Issues) is clearly a professional mistake which can not be overlooked. Everyone was ready to boot (or worse) John Duran over a couple hundred dollars of restaurant spending. What about out City Manager getting paid over $300,000 (not sure exact figure) to manage the finances and has now led the city into a giantic pitfall of Projects started but halted and bonds being issued and now needing to be recalled, paid off and all the cost and expense in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Forgetting any 'corruptness' charges people may have, this is about Paul Arevalo TOTAL NEGLIGENCE AND FAILURE TO PERFORM HIS DUTIES AND THE ENORMOUS LOSS TO THE CITY FINANCIALLY! TIME TO FIRE THE INCOMPOTENCE!

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