Los Angeles’ ‘graffiti towers’ see scaffolding removed

City crews took a first step Friday toward securing an unfinished complex of downtown Los Angeles skyscrapers that were vandalized with graffiti and used for dangerous social media stunts after the developer ran out of money.

Workers began removing scaffolding protecting a temporary walkway that officials said helped intruders enter the property.

“They managed to hide inside the walkway area and tunnel their way out by making holes in the fence,” said police Sgt. Gordon Helper said.

The next step will be to install better fencing at the project, which is drawing significant police resources and where city leaders fear someone could die, especially after videos on social media showed people BASE jumping – skydiving from the towers .

“We can’t let anyone here get hurt or injured or even die,” Helper said. “We don’t want that to happen here.”

The towers were supposed to house a hotel and luxury condominiums, but the project stalled in 2019 when the Beijing-based developer ran out of money, the Los Angeles Times reported. Dubbed locally as the “graffiti towers,” they are a project of China Oceanwide Holdings, a real estate developer that is in liquidation (i.e. liquidated) in Hong Kong, according to a January filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

Oceanwide first announced the ambitious project in downtown Los Angeles in 2015, a time when it was aggressively expanding in the United States, only after Donald Trump’s election in 2016, and Xi’s backlash Jinping to it, to dramatically change each country’s political climate for heavily indebted Chinese conglomerates. In San Francisco, for example, Oceanwide was planning a billion-dollar development that would have become the city’s second-tallest building, but shortly after breaking ground in 2016, it was left unfinished in the same way as the graffiti towers of Los Angeles.

The extent of the tagging and vandalism has begun to attract attention in recent weeks, becoming a civic embarrassment in a high-profile area that includes the Crypto.com Arena, home to major sports teams and events such as the Grammys , as well as the Los Angeles Convention Center. and the LA Live restaurant and event complex.

City councilor Kevin de León, who represents the area, said a builder is needed to complete construction. He said at a recent board meeting that conservative estimates would take $500 million to purchase the property and $1.5 billion to complete it. This week he also presented a motion, the Financial Times reported, in which he called Oceanwide Plaza a “black eye on an otherwise vibrant part” of downtown Los Angeles. He said it goes beyond graffiti and stunts. like skydiving, as the bandits began stripping the building of its copper wire.

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