Developer Asher Luzzatto drops mayoral bid

Offered end to commercial zoning as campaign centerpiece, leaves field as Caruso gears up

Asher Luzzatto with Los Angeles (Asher Luzzatto, iStock)
Asher Luzzatto with Los Angeles (Asher Luzzatto, iStock)

Asher Luzzatto, a local real estate investor and developer, has dropped his campaign for mayor of Los Angeles, just a few months after his initial announcement.

“I wish my policies found a larger audience,” Luzzatto said in an email. “In the end, I decided that I could not sacrifice precious time with my one year old daughter for a campaign where I was yelling into a void.”

Luzzatto, who is president of Fairfax-based development and investment firm Luzzatto Company, announced he was running for mayor in November and planned to fund the campaign largely on his own.

Luzzatto Company, a 14-year-old family investment firm, has worked on a number of major creative office and mixed-use developments, including the 80,000-square-foot Expo Station in Santa Monica that is fully leased to University of Southern California’s cancer treatment center.

The company is currently working on a 94,100-square-foot office in West Adams, which is set to be the future headquarters of fast casual salad chain Sweetgreen.

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Most of his policy proposals were related to housing and development. He wanted to eliminate all commercial zoning, clear red tape around redevelopment and pump millions into redeveloping areas of South Los Angeles around Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

Luzzatto also wanted to address California’s housing crisis by converting vacant or underutilized industrial space into homeless shelters.

His big ideas were not enough to tackle a pool of prominent and already well-known challengers. The roster of political pros includes Rep. Karen Bass, Los Angeles City Council members Joe Buscaino and Kevin de León, and Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, the only candidate who has already won a citywide office seat.

And real estate developers may be more likely to support Rick Caruso — the billionaire and real estate magnate who declared his candidacy last month, vowing to “clean up L.A.” Caruso has said his company will not launch any new real estate developments in Los Angeles if he is elected mayor, adding he will put his existing holdings into a blind trust.