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Memo to Developers . . .

Valley Perspective

April 23, 2000

Developers, take note: San Fernando Valley residents are rallying around the Chase Knolls Garden apartments in Sherman Oaks, slated to be torn down to make way for luxury units.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Feuer has asked the city's Cultural Heritage Commission to consider seeking historic status for the 1940s-era apartments. If such a designation is approved by the commission and the City Council, the developer, Legacy Partners of San Francisco, would have to do an environmental impact report analyzing alternatives to demolition.

Feuer's request has at least delayed eviction for the 260-unit apartment complex's tenants, many of them senior citizens and longtime residents who have found in Chase Knolls not just a place to live but a community.

Whether the apartments will be given historic status--and whether such a designation would save the tenants from eviction in the long term--is a big if.

But this much is clear: Developers may not be moved by the plight of longtime and loyal tenants. But they are moved by market forces. Yes, Legacy Partners purchased the Riverside Drive property and yes, owners have rights. But the the Chase Knolls uprising shows that there's a market here for something other than cookie-cutter development--and something more affordable than "luxury" housing.

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