Lawsuit targets redevelopment of Amoeba Records

LOS ANGELES — Two community organizations are suing the city of Los Angeles over its approval of a development that would replace the Amoeba Music building in Hollywood.

Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said his organization filed the petition along with the Coalition to Preserve L.A. in hopes of forcing the city to “revisit and overturn City Council’s fast-track approval of the razing and redevelopment of the Amoeba Music site” at 6255 Sunset Blvd.

“We believe that the city has shown deliberate indifference to the serious negative impacts and resulting gentrification that this luxury project will have in Hollywood and along Sunset Boulevard,” Weinstein said.

Calls to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and GPI Cos., the project developer, seeking comment were not immediately returned. GPI managing partner Cliff Goldstein told the Los Angeles Times the groups’ concerns have already been considered by the city.

“It is a project that we’re proud of,” Goldstein told the paper. “It’s new housing that is near transit. No housing is being taken away. … And not only is housing badly needed in the city, this project provides some additional benefits in the sustainability area.”

The planned building would provide 200 housing units in a 26-story, 7,000-square-foot building. Ten of the units, or 5%, are slated for affordable or “very low-income” households.

According to the lawsuit, “The project fails to provide an amount of affordable housing that would allow the city to comply with the requirements of the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan. The redevelopment plan requires that 15% of residential units built in the area be affordable units. To this point, the city has failed on an area-wide basis to provide the required number of affordable units.”

The City Council approved the project June 25 and denied appeals filed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and the coalition.

The foundation also contends the city hasn’t thoroughly examined the historic properties of the Amoeba Music building, such as murals inside and outside the site and its connection to iconic musicians. Paul McCartney performed there in 2007, resulting in the album “Amoeba Gig.”

An application to place the Amoeba Music building on the city’s list of Historic-Cultural Monuments was filed July 23 by the organizations.

“We … believe that the city is giving short shrift to the historic significance of Amoeba by completely ignoring the rich and lengthy culturalhistory associated with this iconic corner of Hollywood,” Weinstein said. “Approvals through the Historic Cultural Monument nomination process too often rely on the architectural provenance or significance of a particular building rather than its cultural importance to the community. And there is no doubt that Amoeba has been a cultural touchstone in Hollywood.”

Weinstein has been a vocal opponent of what he calls the overdevelopment of Hollywood and gentrification.

Properties that are added to that list have to go through more scrutiny for renovations and major changes.

Amoeba Music officials have said they plan to reopen in a new location, but that location has not yet been announced.

Amoeba Music was founded in Berkeley by former employees of nearby Rasputin Records. A San Francisco store opened in 1997 and the Hollywood store opened in November 2001, almost instantly becoming a Hollywood landmark.