April 30, 1997 - From the April, 1997 issue

Inside Planning: TCAC Update, L.A. City Office Consolidation and more!

Briefly

  • Interim Chair of the L.A. City Council’s Charter Commission Linda Griego is passing her gavel to newly-elected Chairman attorney George Kieffer or Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. 
  • Rumor has it that former State Assemblyman Richard Katz is likely to be appointed the next Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration. Rumors also say former San Francisco Port Director and native Southern Californian Miguel Huerta, currently FHWA Associate Secretary for Intermodalism, will be appointed the Administration’s new Chief of Staff. Deputy June Garvey could soon move out of her current position at FHWA to become the new FAA Administrator.
  • Former TPR editor Chris Steins was elected Vice Chair of the American Planning Association’s Technology Division at the APA’s national conference in San Diego in April. 
  • Changes at the Los Angeles Housing Department: Assistant General Manager Anne Sewill is resigning to open a Los Angeles branch office of a tax credit syndication firm. LAHD’s Dan Falcon will serve as Interim Assistant GM while a permanent replacement is sought. 
  • Bonnie Kopp, former Valley planning Deputy for Councilman Marvin Braude, is the new Deputy Division Chief of the Mulholland Division of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. 
  • Century City landmark Fox Plaza, has been put up for sale by owners La Salle Partners of Chicago. The owners say they hope capitalizing on the area’s recovering real estate market. 
  • USC School of Urban Planning and Development Dean Edward Blakely announced in late March his candidacy in the 1998 Oakland mayoral race. Sources say, however, he will remain in his current post indefinitely. 
  • Mayor Riordan’s L.A. Business Team has three new Business Development Representatives. Bernadette Kirkwood, formerly the Community Development Department’s resident BID expert, begins this week, as the L.A. Business Teams South L.A.-area specialist. Former Clinton/Gore Campaign Coordinator Randy Steinbergwill be the representative concentrating on the Northeast Valley. Alex Rosas will move from within the Mayor’s Office to his new post, focusing on the entertainment industry-heavy Fourth Council District. 
  • Trent D. Brooks, President of Bankers Mutual of Newport Beach, was elected to the National Multi Housing Council’s Board of Directors at NMHC’s quarterly meeting in March. The Office of Councilman Mike Feuer, along with consultants Stoorza, Ziegaus & Metzger and David Taussig & Associates, will hold meetings in the Melrose-Fairfax Area within the next 2-3 weeks to discuss assessment alternatives for the neighborhoods proposed BID. 
  • The City of Santa Monica will begin taking applications this month for stakeholders to serve on an 11–member advisory committee that will review the City’s draft “green” development guidelines. A public comment period will follow.

Notes

TCAC Update 

The California Tax Credit Allocation Committee closed its first bi­annual application cycle on March 31. A new lottery-based system for breaking ties between otherwise equally meretricious applicants has replaced an older system some felt was unfair. Only 171 projects applied for tax credits this cycle, dispelling fears that the lottery system would bring about a flood of applications from developers seeking to maximize their odds of winning. The 50 projects from L.A. County represented $31 million of the statewide total of $113 million in requests for federal tax credits—the largest block from any single county.

Unaffordable Housing 

A study released earlier this month by the National Association of Home Builders indicates that four of the five most expensive housing markets in the U.S. are in California. Of the 25 costliest markets, 13 are in the State. Building industry representatives are rallying behind these findings calling for fee reductions, permit streamlining and easing of regulatory barriers to home building. 

L.A. City Office Consolidation

The L.A. City Council approved a motion by Council member Jackie Goldberg earlier this month to consolidate Hollywood-area City offices into a single facility. Similar to moves that have created so-called "Constituent Service Centers" in Van Nuys, San Pedro and South Los Angeles, the Hollywood Center could be operational within two years. Officials say historic properties are among those that will be considered for facility. Three more Service Centers are planned for other City areas. 

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Reuse Planning Takes Off 

With 29 military facilities across California already closed or expected to close in the next few years, developers and investors are beginning to take a marked interest in reuse planning activities by local and county jurisdictions. Reuse planning at local bases such as the Long Beach Naval Shipyard and El Toro Marine Airfield have received extensive attention, and many planning consultants are targeting the wide-open reuse planning market. USC's School of Planning and Development this month rolled out a new impact model geared toward analyzing the fiscal impacts of large-scale reuse. 

Fannie Mae—"House L.A." 

Following a successful 2-year, $3.3 billion initiative to provide affordable housing to 30,000 families, Fannie Mae announced this month a new five-year, $7 billion "investment strategy" to house over 75,000 families. Both initiatives, which subsidize both rental properties and purchases of single-family homes, have come out of Fannie Mae's L.A. Partnership Office in cooperation with the City of Los Angeles, lenders and other stakeholders. 

Prudential Goes Downtown 

HMO Prudential HealthCare unveiled plans to locate a 300,000 s.f. regional health care center in the Wells Fargo-owned Garland Building west of Downtown L.A. Prudential signed a 10-year lease for the property where they expect to employ 1,400 workers, 1,000 of whom will be in newly-created jobs. Prudential's decision represents a victory for L.A. Business Team, charged by the Mayor with recruiting and retaining business in the City.

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