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CES In The News
CityWatch LA
Tuesday March 24, 2009

Tenants Persist: Save Homes

Larry Gross

Yet another victory was recently achieved when a large condominium conversion was turned down in the San Fernando Valley resulting in tenants saving their homes and affordable housing being preserved. Coalition for Economic Survival (CES) tenants at the 104-unit rent controlled Grand Villas Apartments (formerly Magnolia Park Apartments) in Sherman Oaks has been fighting to keep the roof over their heads for some 15 years now.

They have fought major rehabilitation evictions, capital improvement rent pass-throughs, reduction of services, environmental hazards and the latest battle, an attempted condominium conversion. Their commitment and determination has outlasted 3 different owners who ended up selling the property in frustration of not being able to displace tenants and jack up rents.

The current owner, Brian Dror, is a notorious developer speculator who has brought numerous apartments in L.A., which he converts, displaces tenants and pockets big profits. He began his quest to convert the building to condos about two years ago.

In December 2007, Dror’s original application before the Area Advisory Agency was denied due to problems with the required tenant notices. As he left the hearing, which was held just prior to the holidays, he made a call on his cell phone and in a voice loud enough for tenants attending the hearing to hear, he spitefully told the person he called to prepare the eviction notices. Luckily, he never followed through with it. But, he did re-file the condo conversion application.

Another Planning Department Advisory Agency hearing on the new conversion application was held last month. Just days ago, the Advisory Agency released its decision that firmly denied the condo conversions.  (Larry Gross is the Executive Director of the Coalition for Economic Survival. He can be reached at ◘

Vol 7 Issue 24
Pub: Mar 24, 2009

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