Mitsui Fudosan’s DTLA tower project faces renewed opposition

Carpenters union files latest appeal to block the 438-unit 8th & Fig development

Mar.March 07, 2019 06:15 PM
John Westerfield is CEO of MFA and a rendering 8th & Fig (Credit: DLANC)

In January, Los Angeles city officials dismissed an appeal from a labor union to prevent the planned construction of Mitsui Fudosan America’s 438-unit apartment tower project in Downtown.

But that didn’t deter the same opponents, the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, from filing another challenge this week to kill the 41-story project, known as 8th & Fig.

Mitsui Fudosan’s mixed-use tower, which would rise at 732 S. Figueroa Street, and include 7,500 square feet of commercial space, still needs full city approval before construction can begin. It will next be considered by the City Council’s planning and land use committee.

An attorney for the firm that represents the carpenters union confirmed the group filed an appeal this week. Nicholas Whipps with Wittwer & Parkin said the group would continue to contest the project’s approval. He declined to comment further.

The city Planning Commission in January denied appeals from the union and from the Coalition for Responsible Equitable Economic Development (CREED LA), which it says fights to ensure developer pay fair wages.

Labor unions have become increasingly aggressive in challenging development projects. In January, Icon Co. filed a lawsuit accusing the same carpenters union and another one of racketeering and extortion. In that suit, Icon accused the unions of pressuring companies to only hire union labor.

In the 8th & Fig tower, Mitsui Fudosan scaled back the tower in October by about 12 percent, following a city environmental review.

The development cannot exceed 425,000 square feet, and must not be taller than 530 feet. Also, 22 units must be set aside as affordable, or about 5 percent of the total.

Mitsui Fudosan America — whose parent company is Japanese developer Mitsui Fudosan — has owned the site for more than 30 years. It must pay a Public Benefit Payment of $4.3 million for the project, which was expected to be complete in 2022.

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