For Immediate Release
Huge Turnout at City Hall on Behalf of The New Wyvernwood
Support comes from residents as well as community, business, religious and labor leaders
LOS ANGELES (January 9, 2013)—Wyvernwood residents turned out in large numbers at City Hall today to express strong support for the proposed redevelopment plans for the property. Hundreds of resident supporters were joined by community, civic, religious, labor and business leaders from Boyle Heights and throughout Los Angeles to support City approval of The New Wyvernwood.
Speaking at a hearing before officials from the Los Angeles Department of City Planning and other city agencies, dozens of residents – many who have lived at Wyvernwood for decades – called on officials to approve the plan, which will bring new amenities, a safer design, improved open space and a new retail district for the neighborhood. The $2 billion project will also create more than 10,000 construction-related jobs and 2,800 permanent jobs.
Today’s hearing marked the start of the formal city approval process for The New Wyvernwood. Additional hearings will be held later this year before the City Planning Commission, the Planning and Land Use Management Committee of the City Council, and the full City Council.
The four-hour hearing also featured a presentation by Fifteen Group principal Mark Sanders, who provided details on the project as well as the pioneering Resident Retention Plan, which offers unprecedented commitments to current Wyvernwood tenants. These commitments include the guarantee that current tenants will not pay more for their new unit than they would have paid for their existing apartment.
Wyvernwood residents told planning officials that Boyle Heights needs this redevelopment. “The New Wyvernwood will transform and revitalize our community, creating a safer and more comfortable place to live, as well as much-needed jobs and economic development,” said resident Miriam Balam. “I want to see this project happen for my kids, and for their kids.”
In addition to offering testimony, advocates for the project also delivered to city officials some 3,000 signed supporter cards, demonstrating strong backing for the project from throughout the community.
Project opponents, including many people who do not live at Wyvernwood, testified to support the status quo.
“I recognize that everyone is entitled to their point of view, but I think people on the other side need to learn more about the project and recognize that this represents progress for all of us,” said Esperanza Bahena, a long-time resident. “The plan includes extensive protections for current residents, and will create the beautiful homes, parks and retail areas that other neighborhoods in L.A. have enjoyed for years.”
Numerous community leaders testifying in support of the project included representatives from the Boyle Heights Chamber of Commerce, Homeboy Industries, Jovenes Inc., the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council Planning and Land Use Committee, and PUENTE Learning Center.
Local religious leaders, including Monsignor John Moretta of Resurrection Church and Father Richard Estrada of La Placita Church also spoke on behalf of the proposal, as did representatives from citywide groups, including the LA County Federation of Labor, Police Protective League and Central City Association.
In all, approximately 300 supporters attended the hearing, with several dozen urging city leaders to approve the project.
“This first City hearing represented a real milestone for us,” said Juan Bucio, a Wyvernwood resident. “We finally had the opportunity to stand up for ourselves, and tell city officials how the community truly feels about this project. This was a very big day for supporters of the New Wyvernwood, and everyone who cares about the future of Boyle Heights.”
A hearing on the project before the Los Angeles City Planning Commission is expected to be held in March.
About The New Wyvernwood
The New Wyvernwood will transform the aging Wyvernwood Apartments in Boyle Heights into a modern community with attractive housing, convenient retail and office areas and beautiful open spaces. The $2 billion project developed by Fifteen Group will include up to 4,400 apartments and condominiums; 325,000 square feet of retail, office and civic space; and 10.5 acres of parks and other open space. Fifteen percent of all units – up to 660 in total – will be designated as affordable housing. The project is forecast to create more than 10,000 construction-related jobs, with many going to Boyle Heights residents through the Boyle Heights Jobs Collaborative, a dedicated local hire program.