Was stimulus money awarded for a completed Hollywood project?

I have been under the impression that  “stimulus money” was being provided for the sole purpose of job creation. As I drove to a dinner meeting last night I heard a radio commentator report that the Obama administration has just provided $10 million in “stimulus” money for the “W” hotel on Hollywood and Vine Streets in LA.

Juice readers will recall my posts of our  successful efforts in saving Bernard Luggage from an eminent domain “taking” located right in the heart of this CRA/LA redevelopment project area. Amazing. I just spoke to Bob Blue, owner of Bernard Luggage, who confirms that the construction project is basically completed.

Hello. We currently have an 18.7 percent unemployment rate in the construction industry. However, the W and the adjacent Legacy apartment project is completed.
This redevelopment project does not warrant or deserve $10 million dollars in stimulus money.

The 305 room hotel is scheduled to open January 15, 2010. They also have 143 condo’s for sale of which one was just purchased by a member of the LA Lakers. These units sell for $600-700,000 to over one million dollars each. In fact the “W” even has a heliport on the roof for quick getaways.

Bob informs me that CRA/LA has already committed $6.5 million to Legacy Partners for subsidizing the 20 percent of their 375 apartments that are dedicated for affordable, low income families.

We read of phony job numbers yet this one is close both in distance and real involvement based on our legal and grass roots protests and picketing.

Following is part of yesterday’s LA Weekly commentary on this gift of public funds. The full story link is provided below:
“But Hollywood’s two biggest stimulus-money recipients, the very rich Legacy Partners Hollywood & Vine and the nonprofit Swansea Park Senior Apartments, are not creating any jobs with their federal stimulus funds.

Legacy Partners is the developer of the massive W Hotel project at Hollywood and Vine. The W project, which has been attacked for a deal in which the city allowed it to include very large billboard spaces, is nearing completion and does seem like a shovel-ready project. Yet according to the White House, the $10 million investment will create zero jobs.

Legacy Partners did not respond to interview requests regarding its take of federal stimulus funds in the amount of $10.2 million.”


Juice readers. What’s your take on the selection, distribution and justification of stimulus funds?

About Larry Gilbert