By Edwin Folven, 6/17/2010
Work has started again on a development on La Brea Avenue known as The Madrone, after it sat unfinished for nearly two years while the property was in foreclosure.
The project was acquired recently by Resmark Equity Partners, which plans to continue building the half-finished housing and retail development. Calls and e-mails to Resmark were not returned, but the company has indicated that the project is moving forward, according to Renee Weitzer, chief planning deputy for Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge, 4th District.
The six-story building will feature 180 units constructed over 13,700 square feet of ground floor retail space. The project was started in 2005 by the Los Angeles-based company, John Laing Urban, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. Resmark recently acquired the property and finalized funding to complete the project, which is located on La Brea Avenue, just south of Hollywood Boulevard.
Weitzer said LaBonge supports the project. She added that the unfinished development has been an eyesore on La Brea Avenue for a long time, and the councilman is eager to see it completed.
“They started building the project and then stopped it and filed bankruptcy when the economy went boom, and they couldn’t complete it,” Weitzer said. “Unfortunately, it looked horrible this whole time.”
Weitzer said the first order of business is to reopen the sidewalk on La Brea Avenue, which has been closed since the project began several years ago. She said Resmark has applied for the necessary permits to build just the sidewalk, and LaBonge’s office is helping to expedite the process, although no reopening date has been established. Resmark is also planning to build apartments at the site, instead of condominiums as originally planned, but that would not change the entitlements, according to Weitzer. Resmark has also expressed an interest in renaming the project.
Michael Vargas, a Hawthorn Avenue resident who lives a half block from the The Madrone, said the unfinished project has been a concern in the neighborhood.
“I’m glad to see something is going to happen there,” Vargas said. “It has looked bad for a long time. It’s covered in graffiti and there were some issues with the homeless going in there. I hope it is completed soon.”
Weitzer said the project will make a good addition to the area because it will provide new necessary housing and new retail options.
“We did support it because it’s on La Brea, and we felt that it’s a needed asset in the area,” Weitzer added. “Now that Resmark has taken ownership, we expect it will move forward without any more problems.”