Support the Beacon Tower in DTLA (Opposed by the owners and tenants of 353 S. Broadway)
This petition had 268 supporters
In the last few weeks there have been articles about a few downtown residents opposing a proposed new building at 4th and Hill, a transit-oriented development directly above the Pershing Square Metro station called The Beacon. We, as DTLA residents and friends of downtown, want to clearly state that we strongly support the Beacon tower and more specifically support density in DTLA, and believe that preserving views from a business or residence should not take precedence over the need for new housing—especially when many of those new homes are reserved for low income residents in our community. No building should ever be stopped, or even delayed, simply because the view from someone’s window, rooftop garden, or pool will change. The region’s housing shortage is too severe, and the costs of downsizing good projects like The Beacon are too great.
The Beacon is a proposed 33-story tower on the northeast corner of 4th and Hill Street. It would contain 428 units and would be the first ground-up tower to use the greater downtown housing incentive ordinance to develop a mixed income project. At a time when Los Angeles has a MAJOR housing shortage, buildings that provide housing at all income levels are exactly what we need. A smaller project, as opponents of the Beacon tower propose, would mean fewer market-rate and affordable units.
The majority of the opposition has been organized by the occupants, designers, and investors of 353 S. Broadway, a 6-story building immediately east of the proposed development, along with the local anti-development group, Society for the Preservation of DTLA (SP-DTLA). They have thrown out many different reasons for opposing The Beacon, but their complaints ultimately boil down to several full time residents and ~20-30 business occupants losing their western views of the downtown LA skyline.
Opponents originally complained about:
- An increase in traffic. (This building is 428 units in DTLA, where a lot of the people can walk to their jobs, and is on top of a busy Metro station.)
- Elimination of 130 public parking spots. (Public parking actually does add to traffic by encouraging people to drive downtown rather than take transit. These spaces will be gone, and will be compensated by improvements to the Pershing Square Metro station.
- Incompatibility with the mass and scale of buildings in the historic core. (The Beacon is literally across the street from the high rises of Bunker Hill and one block away from a proposed 34-story building. It will serve as a great transition from the Historic Core to Bunker Hill.)
- Threats to the suppliers and vendors of Grand Central Market. (Grand Central Market has its own access half a block north of the Beacon tower. Even if alleyway access is an issue, it shouldn’t require downsizing this project.)
- And the best one of all: Society for the Preservation of DTLA has expressed concern about the cancer risk of building housing over an exhaust shaft from the Pershing Square Metro station. (Metro, of course, runs electric cars and produces no actual carcinogens.)
The following are actual, published quotes from the people who oppose this project:
Harry Chandler, Jr., penthouse occupant of 353 S. Broadway and scion of the Chandler family, which owned the Los Angeles Times:
"Obviously the character of the historic core is such that there's been decades and decades of height limits that have kept it charming. The last thing we want is to turn it into a high-rise city and take out all of the parking and charm."
Cedd Moses, owner of 213 Hospitality Group and operator of a planned bar in 353 S. Broadway:
“It’s just too big and would have a negative impact on the businesses around it. I’m pro-development. We want new projects and welcome new tenants, but not when it negatively impacts the neighborhood.”
This project would actually supply 86 units that his bartenders and waitresses could afford to live in, and ~600 new customers within walking distance for all surrounding businesses. The Beacon will be great for downtown residents and businesses.
Alex Hertzberg, CEO of SP-DTLA, a local anti-development group, and downtown LA condo owner:
"We don’t need more rental units, I’ll tell you that much. Those statistics are predicated on the existing [housing] inventory. But we’ve had eight solid years of construction, so we don’t know what effects that inventory will have."
Increasing the supply of housing is exactly what Los Angeles needs in order to stop the housing crisis and stop rents from increasing 5 to 10 percent each year. The “effects that inventory will have” are to stabilize or even lower rents in DTLA. Mr. Hertzberg is concerned that there will be an oversupply of housing in downtown, but an oversupply is only bad for developers—tenants will benefit as landlords are forced to offer cheaper rents in order to fill up their buildings.
David Gray, architect and owner of 353 S Broadway:
“Nobody who I am aware of has approved a nine-story podium. It would be very easy for them to put it underground.”
The Beacon was unanimously approved by the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council—a group of downtown stakeholders elected by DTLA residents to represent their interests—because the podium is wrapped with apartments, making it feel from the outside just like any other building. The parking can’t be built underground because it is directly on top of a subway station. If Mr. Gray is looking for a project that has an approved nine-story podium, all he has to do is look across the street to 4th and Broadway, where there is a similar 11-story podium (also unanimously approved by the neighborhood council).
The people opposing the Beacon tower at 4th and Hill do not represent the majority, or even a strong minority, of DTLA residents. They are opposing the tower for their own personal benefit, at the expense of benefits for all of downtown LA and the region as a whole. We are signing this petition because we strongly support increased density in DTLA, building new workforce and affordable housing, welcoming 600 to 700 new residents who will support our local shops and restaurants, and dramatically improving a space in downtown that is currently home to nothing but a parking lot and a desolate subway exit. No building should EVER be stopped or delayed simply to protect the views of a few privileged residents and business owners, and so we urge the city’s decision-makers to dismiss these petty concerns and approve this important downtown LA development as soon as possible.
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