Prank Or Protest? Graffitied LA High-Rise Sparks Housing Crisis Debate

Key Takeaways:

– Inman is hosting upcoming real estate events including Connect Miami, Luxury Connect, and Inman Connect Las Vegas.
– Los Angeles is facing a housing affordability crisis, with some areas experiencing luxury while others suffer from a weakening social net.
– Graffiti artists tagged an empty luxury high-rise development in Los Angeles, sparking a conversation about affordable housing.
– The artists’ work was shared on social media platforms and received support from users calling for attention to affordable housing issues.
– The LAPD arrested two individuals involved in the tagging and will remove the graffiti.
– The artists also tagged another luxury development, highlighting ongoing concerns about the city’s empty buildings and homelessness crisis.
– Filmographers captured the artists’ work and emphasized that the city belongs to everyone, not just developers.
– The LAPD is continuing to investigate the artists’ activities.

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The crisis ruled the headlines once again when a group of 12 graffiti artists tagged 27 floors of Oceanwide Plaza, an empty, three-tower luxury high-rise development towering over the Crypto.com Arena, the site of last weekend’s Grammy Awards.

The billion-dollar plaza was supposed to be a mixture of residential and commercial spaces, including a luxury hotel. However, the developer, Oceanwide Holdings, ran out of money in 2019, according to reports by The Hollywood Reporter and The LA Times

“The measures will be implemented immediately and the graffiti will be removed,” the Los Angeles Police Department said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The LAPD arrested 35-year-old Victor Daniel Ramirez and 25-year-old Roberto Perez for their part in the tagging.  Local news outlet KTLA5 said both men were given citations for trespassing on private property and released. The other artists involved in the tagging are still unknown.

LA Councilmember Kevin de León, who represents downtown, will spearhead efforts to get the graffiti removed. “Los Angeles should not be an open canvas [for] budding artists,” he told KTLA5 in a statement over the weekend.

Although the tags will be erased in the coming weeks, they’ve been immortalized on X, TikTok and several other social media platforms by users who lauded the artists’ work. The artists haven’t stated their motives; however, much of the public believes this is elaborate protest art.

X user @PaperFrank’s post of the building garnered more than 5.6 million views, 18,000 likes, 4600 retweets, and more than 200 comments from users who called for city, state and local legislators to turn their attention toward affordable housing.

“Three skyscrapers have been left empty in a state with a homelessness crisis,” wrote user @FrenchFlower. “If you ever need an example that poverty is manufactured, remember this, share this, be radicalized by THIS.”

“Love it. And yes, it is a symbol of a greater problem,” added user @prettylittlenerd. “All those vacant buildings in a capitalist world with people who can’t afford to live in the city they work for or are unhoused in.”

Other commenters marveled at the coordination needed to quickly tag so many floors and said the new art might attract a new group of developers who will keep the art — and the high prices.

“I could see them leaving it and using this ‘urban art’ to sell the condos,” wrote user @Phillystunna221.

Filmographers Michael Lopez and Juan G., who captured the artists at work via drone, told The LA Times it was a “once-in-a-lifetime moment” and should remind Angelenos the city ultimately belongs to them.

“You’re never going to see something like this again,” G said. “The rules are going to change. The security is gonna come in here hard. But to have been a part of that? To see this up close? It’s a once-in-a-lifetime moment.”

“All of this doesn’t just belong to the developers,” Lopez added. “It belongs to all of us.”

The LAPD said the artists’ work isn’t done yet. The group tagged the 30th floor of an in-progress luxury development. The artists escaped the construction site by car and were pulled over for failing to yield to an officer. They were questioned, cited and released.

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Property Chomp's Take:

Graffiti Artists Bring Attention to Los Angeles' Housing Crisis

In recent years, Los Angeles has become synonymous with its housing affordability crisis. As luxury developments continue to rise, the city's homeless population has also grown, shining a light on the growing wealth gap. This issue was brought to the forefront once again when a group of graffiti artists tagged 27 floors of Oceanwide Plaza, an empty, three-tower luxury high-rise development in downtown Los Angeles.

Oceanwide Plaza was intended to be a mixture of residential and commercial spaces, including a luxury hotel. However, the developer, Oceanwide Holdings, ran out of funds in 2019. The empty building has since become a stark reminder of the city's housing crisis. The graffiti artists took advantage of this opportunity to make a statement and draw attention to the issue.

The group of 12 artists tagged the building, which towers over the Crypto.com Arena, the site of last weekend's Grammy Awards. Their actions have sparked a debate about the city's housing crisis and the lack of affordable options for its residents. While the artists' motives remain unknown, many speculate that it was an elaborate protest art.

The graffiti has garnered significant attention on social media platforms, with users praising the artists' work and using it as a catalyst for discussions about affordable housing. One user's post on X received over 5.6 million views, with thousands of likes, retweets, and comments calling for action from city and state legislators.

However, not everyone sees the graffiti as a negative. Some commenters marveled at the coordination and creativity required to quickly tag so many floors. They even suggested that the artwork could attract a new group of developers who appreciate the urban art and are willing to address the housing crisis.

The Los Angeles Police Department swiftly arrested two individuals involved in the tagging, while the other artists remain unidentified. The LAPD plans to remove the graffiti, but it has already been immortalized on social media platforms.

LA Councilmember Kevin de León, who represents downtown, has taken the lead in efforts to remove the graffiti. He believes that Los Angeles should not be an open canvas for budding artists. While the graffiti will be erased in the coming weeks, the debate about the city's housing crisis and the need for affordable housing will continue.

This incident serves as a reminder that the housing crisis is an ongoing issue that requires attention and action. It highlights the need for city officials, developers, and community leaders to come together to find solutions that address the growing wealth gap and provide affordable housing options for all residents.

As the graffiti artists' work sparks conversations and debates, it is crucial to keep the focus on finding long-term solutions that ensure everyone in Los Angeles has access to safe and affordable housing. Only then can the city truly thrive and address the pressing issue of homelessness.

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