Developer Must Remove Graffiti From High Rise Or Taxpayers Will Be On The Hook

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The owners of Oceanwide Plaza, an abandoned complex on South Flower Street in downtown Los Angeles, have until Feb. 17 to remove graffiti on the building and put up fencing around it.

The L.A. Department of Building and Safety, the Bureau of Street Services and the Bureau of Engineering would be tasked with removing graffiti, debris and securing the property at taxpayers’ expense if the owners fail to do so.

“The [city] departments will step in to restore safety and compliance and bill the developer,” said Councilmember Kevin de León.

“It’s an embarrassment, but now we have to clean up the mess that was created by others and the negligence of property owners, people that don’t want to sustain investments in the city of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Monica Rodriguez.

About a week ago, people broke into the abandoned building in front of Crypto.com Arena and tagged around 30 floors of the high rise with graffiti. The building is currently owned by Chinese group Oceanwide Holdings Co. Ltd. Construction began in 2015 but stopped in 2019 after funding dried up.

The property developer did not respond to LAist’s request for comment.

According to the motion introduced by council members de Leon and Paul Krekorian, the building has been the site of “trespassing and vandalism” including “trucks ramming into the gates and driving into the building to facilitate copper wire theft and vandalism.”

In January, the city of Los Angeles’ Department of Building and Safety also issued a notice of abatement against the property stating that the condition of the building is “substandard due to inadequate sanitation caused by general dilapidation or improper maintenance.”

The Los Angeles Police Department has arrested six people in connection with tagging incidents at the building.

Art or vandalism?

Videos of artists at work have gone viral on social media and set off a debate.

“One person’s art is another person’s vandalism,” Rodriguez said during Friday’s council meeting and it’s a question people are pondering on social media too.

The Los Angeles Police Department says the building has been targeted for vandalism, burglary, and other crimes. Earlier this week, four people were arrested for trespassing.

What questions do you have about Southern California?

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