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A 15-story hotel could help L.A.'s mayor fight homelessness

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass’ homelessness team is looking to purchase a 15-story hotel in the city’s Westlake neighborhood, the latest big expenditure planned as part of her “Inside Safe” program.

(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

In a memo sent to the council’s Budget, Finance and Innovation Committee, Bass and her team acknowledged they are seeking to acquire the 294-room Mayfair Hotel, which served for two years as interim homeless housing before closing its doors last summer. The building has been listed for nearly $70 million in recent months.

Bass and her team declined to say how much the city has offered, saying the price will be revealed when the transaction goes before the city’s municipal facilities committee next month. They said the hotel would serve as a critical tool in the city’s fight against homelessness, helping to reduce the leasing costs associated with Inside Safe, which has moved about 1,200 people off the street and into hotels, motels and other facilities.

Under the proposal, the city would provide an array of services on the Mayfair’s ground floor — substance abuse counselors, mental health clinicians and public health workers, Bass said. “There’s no shortcut to do this. You can warehouse people in a shelter if you want, and they’ll stay there for a couple of days and they’ll be right back out on the street,” Bass said. “We have to think outside of the box, and maybe a little bit outside of the boundaries of what the city is normally doing.” A broker representing the Mayfair referred questions to Alex Moradi, an executive with the ICO Group of Companies. Moradi did not respond to several requests for comment. However, Bass’ homelessness team confirmed that the city signed a nonbinding letter of intent with Mayfair Lofts, the hotel’s owner, three weeks ago. That company is affiliated with ICO, according to information provided by the county assessor’s office. Bass has asked the council to allocate $250 million for Inside Safe, which has targeted encampments in Hollywood, Venice, South Los Angeles and other parts of the city, in next year’s budget. That figure does not include any money that would be needed to purchase the Mayfair. If the sale goes through, the cost of Inside Safe could exceed $300 million for the coming budget year.

David Zahniser


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