• A Chinese firm started to build a massive tower plaza in Los Angeles but ran out of funds in 2019.
  • The Oceanwide Plaza towers are now mainly used by graffiti artists and base jumpers.
  • LA’s City Council estimates it’ll take $2 billion to buy the property and complete the project.

The Los Angeles City Council on Friday agreed to spend $3.8 million to fence and begin cleaning up an abandoned real estate project that has been mainly used by graffiti artists and base jumpers since a Chinese development firm abandoned the build in 2019.

A city-council member, Kevin de León, said in a recent council meeting that the nearly $4 million sum was just the beginning of a massive financial undertaking in the city, the Associated Press reported.
The original project, named Oceanwide Plaza, was expected to cost its developer roughly $1 billion. But de León said that conservatively it would probably now take a new developer about $2 billion to take control of the abandoned three-tower complex and complete it, the AP reported.

China Oceanwide Holdings, the Hong Kong-based real estate developer behind the build, is being liquidated after running out of funds to complete the project nearly five years ago. The towers are near the Crypto.com Arena, home of the LA Lakers, and the location of this year’s Grammys.

Foto: Mario Tama/Getty Images

China Oceanwide Holdings did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Since the project was abandoned, the unfinished towers have become an attraction for graffiti artists, who have tagged the visible portions of the 53-story towers, as well as base jumpers who have parachuted from the building.

“I guarantee you tragedy will take place there if that place is not boarded up quickly,” Mayor Karen Bass told a local TV station recently, as noted by the Financial Times. “The owner should reimburse the city for every dime.”

Some have argued the unfinished mixed-use building — located less than two miles from LA’s Skid Row district, where about 6,000 homeless people live — should be converted into low-income rental units to address Los Angeles’ housing crisis, but such a conversion would take years.

“In terms of it being a near-term solution for the housing crisis that we have, I think it’s unrealistic,” Financial Times reported Donald Spivack, a former member of LA’s Community Redevelopment Agency, said of the project. “It’s not something where you could go in there, do a little patchwork, and open it up in six months. I don’t think that’s at all possible.”

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