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The Real Deal Los Angeles

LA blocks Jamison’s proposed mixed-use tower in Koreatown after outcry

Company founder, David Lee, had allegedly threatened to use assault rifle against opponents
By Hannah Madans | March 19, 2018 03:15PM

3700 Wilshire Boulevard and Dr. David Lee

UPDATED, 4:23 p.m., March 20: The city has halted Jamison Services from building a controversial 500-unit mixed-use tower in Koreatown, which would have demolished an existing office and one of the area’s few remaining green spaces.

In February, Jamison founder Dr. David Lee allegedly threatened a parks group opposing the 36-story proposed residential and commercial development, saying he would use his AR-15 rifle to shoot anyone who stepped on his land.

Now, the Los Angeles City Council has approved a measure making Jamison’s existing office building at 3700 Wilshire Boulevard — which includes Liberty Park — a Historic-Cultural Monument.

Jamison cannot raze the building or the demolish park pending a review by the Cultural Heritage Commission. A Jamison representative said the company would continue to operate the office building, but would not comment on further plans. The park is considered part of Jamison’s property.

The 11-story office building, called Wilshire Park Place, was built by Beneficial Insurance Group in 1967 and served as the company’s international headquarters.

The 2.5-acre Liberty Park — which has a replica of the Liberty Bell — was dedicated for public use when the site opened, according to MyNewsLA. The park was designed by landscape architect Peter Walker.

Jamison has become one of Koreatown’s biggest multifamily developers, with numerous constructions in the pipeline and under its belt.

Save Liberty Park, a community advocacy group that opposed the project, was happy with the decision.

“It’s not something that we want to lose because we are never going to get that green space back,” Save Liberty Park’s Annette Van Duren said. “The Koreatown area has less green space than anywhere else in the city and there are no plans for public parks in Koreatown that include a significant amount of grass and trees.”

Lee allegedly told Save Liberty Park members during the contentious February meeting that if he didn’t get to build, he would use an assault weapon to shoot people on his land.

Following the alleged incident, Lee issued a statement, which read in part: “comments by me were misunderstood by valued friends and to those individuals I sincerely apologize.”

Van Duren said Lee had not reached out to the group to apologize. “He wasn’t misunderstood,” she said. “He repeated it many times. There was no misunderstanding and he has not reached out to us at all.”

The Los Angeles Police Department was investigating but said it did not have any updates.