South LA Community Group Loses Crenshaw Mall Bid Despite Making Highest Offer

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A South Los Angeles community group has lost their bid to purchase a mall in Crenshaw even though they placed the highest bid.

According to LA Eater, Community group Downtown Crenshaw Rising (DCR) placed a bid of $115 million on the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, locally known as the Crenshaw Mall.

Last spring, their offer was overlooked, and instead, L.A. Based developed Harridge Development Group, which received financial backing from Russian American billionaire oil tycoon Leonard Blavatnik, was approved.

The DCR says that Harridge Development Group has a “troubling history of giving campaign donations before City Hall approval,” and that the company has been “sued for violating tenant rights and sued for violating civil rights.”

The attempted sale of the Crenshaw Mall has not been an easy one.

In 2020, development company Brooklyn-based company LivWrk, affiliated with former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, placed a bid to acquire the mall.

“The right to self-determination for L.A.’s Black community is being thwarted by a Donald Sterling-like developer, financially backed by a ‘crony of Putin,’ orchestrated by the bank friends of Donald Trump, operating under the authority of public pension funds. How in the world is it possible that a Black community can come together to raise a historic amount of money, submit the highest bid, assemble a world-renowned development team and still not be awarded the right to buy our mall? This is deep old-fashioned racism and an international scandal that should enrage the public,” said Rev. James Thomas of the NAACP.

The mall’s current owner and brokerage firm, DWS, a global financial services firm affiliated with Deutsche Bank, rejected the LivWrk bid. The DCR’s activism also compelled local development firm CIM Group to withdraw its $100 million offer in June 2020.

The DCR wants the mall to remain in the hands of the community. They are now taking action to stop the mall’s sale — organizing simultaneous protests in New York and L.A.

“This is a genuine coming together to show how through collective ownership and solidarity economy principles we can uplift, not uproot our Black community,” said Damien Goodmon, Crenshaw-area resident and DCR Board Member.

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