In November 2019, the South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission dealt what appeared to be a fatal blow to the District Square development, granting appeals by the Loretta Higgins Mueller Trust and the Crenshaw Subway Coalition which sought to block construction of the 577-unit apartment complex at Obama and Crenshaw Boulevards.
Charles Company, the West Hollywood-based company behind the project, responded several months later by suing the City of Los Angeles, arguing that the rejection of the project had violated the state's Housing Accountability Act. While that assertion failed to persuade the Area Planning Commission, it does seem to have taken purchase in court.
In a decision issued on October 20, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James C. Chalfant ordered the City to overturn the denial of District Square and approve the project within 45 days. Consideration of the court-ordered action is scheduled to occur at the November 17 meeting of the Area Planning Commission.
The vote to grant the appeal of District Square in November 2019 came weeks after Los Angeles City Councilmember Herb Wesson had announced his opposition to the project, while simultaneously calling for the creation of anti-displacement zones near large real estate developments. Wesson, who at the time was campaigning for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, had previously helped Charles Company secure more than $26 million in loans for the construction of a shopping center on the property.
Despite the opposition of elected and appointed officials to the project, a representative of the Los Angeles City Attorney's office had urged Commissioners to not reject the project, noting that the City lacked a legal rationale for doing so.
The move to deny District Square also came in the wake of legal troubles for Arman Gabay, a principal with Charles Company, who was arrested in 2018 on charges of bribing a Los Angeles County employee while seeking to secure a lease at a different property in Hawthorne.
- District Square (Urbanize LA)