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Miracle Mile Project : Tenants Battle Against Time and Evictions

January 27, 1985|MATHIS CHAZANOV | Times Staff Writer

Some of the tenants of eight apartment buildings to be demolished to make way for a Miracle Mile office complex are trying to delay the $150-million Wilshire Courtyard project or win a financial settlement.

A spokesman for the developer, however, said that she has met with "nothing but total cooperation" from the residents, some of whom have already moved.

About 80 people lived in the eight buildings.

"It's understandable that people would like more time, but basically everybody I've dealt with has been very agreeable," said Judy Walker, property manager for Wilshire Courtyard.

She said she has met with several tenants from the buildings along 8th Street and Curson and Sierra Bonita avenues and hopes to have met with all of them by Monday night. All are required to leave their apartments by March 15, she said.

Some Quite Old

"The only problem is that some of these people are much older, and it's very, very difficult for them to find a new place and just to move in general. I'm providing every assistance I can for them," Walker said.

This includes a payment of $1,000 per person, or $2,500 for those over 62, listings of available apartments and a driver to help look for new lodgings, she said.

Kirk Honeycutt, a spokesman for the unhappy tenants, said, "We want this thing delayed and we want more hearings. It's being rushed through by (Councilman John) Ferraro and (developer Jerome H.) Snyder. We feel it's going to have a tremendous impact on the rental market. I've looked around and there's nothing around here I can afford."

Honeycutt said he and some neighbors have approached the Santa Monica Coalition for Economic Survival, a group that has been active in rent-control struggles, to ask for legal aid. He said they have gathered 30 signatures on a petition to delay the development.

The 980,000-square-foot project has won the approval of the city Planning Commission.

A spokesman for Ferraro, who represents the area, said it should come before a City Council committee next month, with approval by the full council expected within 60 days.

Although the Wilshire Boulevard portion of the property is zoned for commercial development, approval by the city is required to extend the complex into the area now classified as residential.

Larry Gross, coordinator of the Coalition for Economic Survival, said it was too soon to say what steps, if any, could be taken on behalf of the tenants.

"This is a matter of great concern in the light of the housing crisis in the city," he said. "Some affordable housing is going to be demolished here, and people who have lived in these apartments for many years face dispersal. That's unconscionable."

While the tenants basically do not want to move, he said, "they definitely want more time and they would like more money."

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