Union appeal puts 120-key Olympic Boulevard hotel on ice

A local hotel workers union says the city failed to properly study and mitigate environmental impacts

Oct.October 17, 2018 03:15 PM
Unite Here 11 members marching on May Day 2017 and 2870 Olympic Boulevard (Credit: Molly Adams via Flickr)

A local union put the brakes on a Pico Union hotel development project with an 11th hour appeal to the city of Los Angeles on Monday.

The UNITE HERE Local 11 union claims in the appeal that an environmental impact analysis for the planned 120-key hotel at 2870 W. Olympic Boulevard does not comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA.

The 130-page appeal claims there were numerous failures in the Mitigated Negative Declaration, a document prepared by the city that outlines the mitigation measures taken to address environmental impacts.

The appeal requires a City Council review, which could delay the project for months. If the mitigation declaration is not appealed, the project can move forward. Monday was the last day in the 21-day appeal period following the project’s approval.

In the appeal, the union faulted the mitigation declaration for its lack of adequate noise data and said it failed to properly evaluate greenhouse gas impacts.

The six-story hotel would replace a parking lot, auto repair shop and offices. It would be 80 feet tall and include around 6,100 square feet of retail space for a restaurant. There would also a 104-vehicle underground parking lot.

UNITE HERE Local 11, based in Santa Monica, represents 29,000 workers in hotels, restaurants, airports, sports arenas and convention centers in Southern California and Arizona, according to its Twitter page. A representative could not be reached for comment on the appeal.

The union has faced off against Anbang in court before, when the union fought to stop the Chinese developer from converting the Loew’s Santa Monica Beach Hotel into condos. Its also accused Onni Group of illegally running Level Furnished Living building in Downtown L.A. as a hotel.

The union’s appeal of the Olympic Boulevard project claims that members of the union live within a mile of the project site and would be directly affected by any negative environmental impacts. It also claims that the union is “committed to the assurance of responsible development,” in Los Angeles.

Some critics of CEQA claim that the appeal process has been weaponized by various parties, including preservationists and unions seeking to derail projects using non-union labor. David Lo, who owns the Olympic Boulevard site, could not be reached for comment on the appeal.

Lo purchased the property in 2013 for $4.4 million, according to property records. He filed for the hotel project in 2015 and the plan was approved in late September. The property last sold in 1989.

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