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JPMorgan tried to thwart skyscraper project, union official says

June 17, 2012|By Roger Vincent
  • The proposed Century City Center tower.
The proposed Century City Center tower. (JMB Realty Corp. )

Wall Street titan JPMorgan Chase & Co. is trying to torpedo a proposed Century City skyscraper that might compete with nearby office buildings owned by the bank, a labor union official alleged last week.

State Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) intervened on behalf of unions with a letter to JPMorgan Chairman Jamie Dimon, asking him to stop the bank’s asset management office from opposing the proposed 37-story Century City Center project at Avenue of the Stars at Constellation Boulevard.

"JPMorgan Chase received billions of dollars in bailout money and now is trying to kill valuable construction jobs in California," De Leon’s office said.

The bank issued a statement of qualified support Friday for the $350-million project, proposed by longtime Century City landlord JMB Realty Corp., that is wending its way through the city’s approval process.

"JPMorgan Chase is not opposed to the development … as long as it is built within the existing zoning standards that have been agreed to and used for decades in an effort to protect local residential and commercial property owners," the bank said.

Earlier, union leader Robbie Hunter of the Los Angeles/Orange County Building Trades Council said bank representatives told him they would oppose the project, which could create thousands of construction jobs.

The fact that union funds have been invested with JPMorgan made the bank’s move more irksome, Hunter said.

"Our pension money was being used against us," Hunter said. "People are more interested in moving money around than investing in bricks and mortar, and that’s what creates jobs."

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