Maybe you’ve heard about the impending move of Honda of Downtown Los Angeles to a gigantic new five story building on Martin Luther King Blvd. at Hoover. Building projects of this size don’t happen in Los Angeles without a lot of involvement of the relevant Council District, which in this case is CD9, repped by Alleged bigamist Curren Price.1 The various negotiations and agreements are typically formalized in a development agreement between the City and the developer, and this is no exception. You can read the whole thing here, although it’s a heavyweight 35MB PDF download, so click with care.
And one of the typical elements of these development agreements is a statement of the public benefits that are expected to result from the project. These typically include financial contributions to this or that cause favored by the Councilmember, introduced by the phrase “Additionally, as consideration for this Agreement, Developer agrees to provide the following…” In this case, there are two of these (found on page 7 of the agreement, here’s a PDF of just the relevant page, also find a transcription after the break).
The first is $100,000 for present and future employees of Honda of DTLA to attend LA Trade Tech.2 The other contribution to the putative public benefit is $50,000 to pay a BID consultant for the formation of a new business improvement district in CD9. CD9 presently has three BIDs, which are the Figueroa Corridor BID, the Central Avenue Historic District BID, and the shadowy South Los Angeles Industrial Tract BID, so this would make a fourth.
Originally I thought that this new dealership would be located in the Figueroa Corridor BID, but a glance at their map reveals that the north side of MLK is the BID’s southern boundary, which is why, I suppose, that a new BID is necessary. Anyway, there’s no real moral to this story, although I admit it’s pretty jarring to see the formation of yet another damn BID pitched as a public benefit.
That principle, however, is even written into the Property and Business Improvement District Act of 1994, specifically e.g. at §36601(e), which claims implausibly that ” Property and business improvement districts formed throughout this state have conferred special benefits upon properties and businesses within their districts and have made those properties and businesses more useful…” so I guess it’s no surprise that Curren Price thinks BIDs are good. Anyway, it is always useful to have more information about how and why the LA City government forms new BIDs and pays its BID consultants. Turn the page for a transcription of the relevant parts of the development agreement.
Transcription of part of page seven of the development agreement:
2.3.1. Public Benefits. This Agreement provides assurances that the Public Benefits identified below will be achieved and developed in accordance with the Applicable Rules and Project Approvals and with the terms of this Agreement and subject to the City’s Reserved Powers. Additionally, as consideration for this Agreement, Developer agrees to provide the following:
(a) LATTC – Scholarships: Prior to the issuance of any Building Permit for the Project, the Developer shall deposit $100,000 into an escrow account which shall be dedicated to providing scholarships to residents of Council District 9 to attend Los Angeles Trade Technical College (“LATTC”). The Developer shall, in its sole and absolute discretion, select the individuals who the Developer provides the scholarship. The scholarships are intended to be for the benefit of current and/or future employees of the Honda of Downtown Los Angeles Dealership. The Developer shall provide documentation to the Department of City Planning evidencing the establishment and deposit of funds into this escrow account. If at the end of the Term of this Agreement, all of the funds have not been distributed for scholarships, the escrow account shall require that the remaining funds shall be deposited into the Council District 9 Public Benefits Trust Fund No. 48X.
(b) Business Improvement District: The Developer shall provide a financial contribution of $50,000 towards the formation of a Business Improvement District (“BID”) in Council District 9. The City Clerk shall be authorized to accept funding from the Developer as matching funds for the consultant study and deposit said funds in the BID Trust Fund 659 for the CD 9 BID. Prior to the issuance of a Building Permit for the Project, the Developer shall make the financial contribution to the BID and shall submit documentation evidencing payment was made, and the City Clerk shall submit a letter to the Department of City Planning, acknowledging the receipt of said funds.
Image of Curren Price is via Wikimedia with all rights and privileges appertaining thereto.
- You can read the technical details in the associated Council File 16-0960 and its (so far) three supplemental files: Supp. 1 changing some technical zoning requirement, Supp. 2 reducing public hearing notice time, and Supp. 3 accepting $50,000 for new BID development.
- This is intrinsically interesting, but it’s a little off my beat. It seems to be $100,000 flat, not annual. It’s not clear what the scholarships will cover, but in-state tuition at LATTC is about $1,200 per year and total costs are estimated at between $7,000 and $20,000 per year depending on whether the student lives with their parents or not. Thus we’re looking at a total of between 5 and 50 scholarships depending on the terms. It’s also a little weird that the scholarships are restricted to LA Trade Tech rather than college in general, but as the agreement states that the money’s intended for present and future employees of the car dealership maybe this makes sense?