Residents of Sycamore Square neighborhood gathered on the third floor roof deck of The Mansfield, the nearly complete apartment building at 5100 Wilshire Blvd which the association honored last Sunday at their annual meeting. Before the official start of the meeting, residents were invited to tour three apartments in the building. (Naturally, we took the tour and have posted some photos below, but more photos and details can be found on The Mansfield website.)
Conrad Starr, SSNA President, opened the meeting and introduced CD4 Council Member David Ryu, who applauded the association which he described as “super collaborative” adding, “it was such a pleasure to address the group.” Ryu commended the neighbors for their efforts to collaborate with the developer, Korda Group. He said The Mansfield should serve as a showcase for other developers on how collaboration improves the project and gains valuable community support.
“I always make sure they [developers] talk to the community, first and last,” said Ryu. He praised the association’s commitment to finding solutions that work for their neighborhood as well as the developer, noting that has been especially challenging since there are several large projects underway in their small neighborhood bounded by Wilshire Blvd. on the north, Citrus Ave. on the east, Olympic Blvd. on the south and La Brea Ave. on the west, including the construction of the new Purple Line Metro station at Wilshire and La Brea. Ryu introduced, Rob Fischer, his field deputy who also has a background in planning, and his planning deputy Emma Howard, who was not there, work closely with him to come up with solutions for projects that win the support of the community.
Ryu said by “starting locally and working collaboratively to fix divisions with our neighbors, we can contribute to the positivity needed in the country.”
Moving on to address a range of other issues, Ryu said construction on the Purple Line is a little behind schedule, but overall the project is on track for completion. He committed to keeping the community updated on this project. One resident asked Ryu to address improving accountability from his staff, citing the lengthy delay in the repair of a pothole in the neighborhood. Ryu asked that residents give his office 24-48 hours to respond to questions and urged residents call or email him directly instead of posting to social media sites. He reminded residents that he doesn’t have access to Nextdoor.com; though his office can post announcements, they cannot read posts.
Addressing another concern raised by a resident about cut through traffic, Ryu said GPS apps like Waze have not responsive to city requests and, unfortunately, he expected the traffic that cuts through neighborhoods to continue. However, Ryu said was pleased to report that more police will be on the streets, thanks to the efforts of Police Chief Michel Moore, who shifted more than 200 offices back to patrols. Wilshire Division has an additional 8 officers, said Ryu. He also spoke about the increased involvement of neighbors in community volunteer patrols who augment LAPD patrols.
Finally, Ryu said he was pleased to report the City’s department of Urban Forestry has added 70 new staff members to work on the sidewalk repair program mandated by the court settlement that will require removal and replanting of street trees around the city. The program is starting first in areas adjacent to city land, then moving to heavily used commercial areas, then finally to private residential neighborhoods.
Following Ryu’s presentation, Miracle Mile resident Kari Garcia and La Brea Hancock resident Tammy Rosato, who serves on the LAPD Wilshire Division Community Police Advisory Board, and along with her husband, Frank, chairs her neighborhood’s Neighborhood Watch Crime & Safety and Emergency Preparedness Committee, spoke to residents about organizing a neighborhood watch program to help residents reduce property crime in their neighborhoods.
Garcia described her efforts to organize residents in the 55 blocks of the Miracle Mile neighborhood. She explained how the effort has made the community feel safer and more prepared in the event of a disaster. She asked for a show of hands of everyone who knew their immediate neighbors and how to reach them in an emergency. Though many residents raised their hands about knowing their neighbors, far fewer knew how to reach them in the event of an emergency. Garcia said LAPD offers help and support to any neighborhood who wants to organize.
Conrad Starr, SSNA President presented Aaron and Robert Korda of the Korda Group, the family owned construction company who developed the Mansfield at 5100 Wilshire Blvd, and architect Shahab Ghods of Plus Architects with the first-ever “Sycamore Square Exceptional Architecture Award.”
“This award shows the neighborhood’s appreciation for new architecture that is compatible with our neighborhood, which has a high concentration of 1920s and 1930s houses, duplexes, and apartments. The Mansfield is proof that when developers and the community come together around a project, the result can be quite stunning,” said SSNA President Conrad Starr.
On behalf of the family, Robert Korda, expressed their appreciation to the association and the family’s commitment to being part of the neighborhood for many years to come. He also thanked the staff of the CD4, especially Renee Weitzer, for their assistance during the development of the project which started in 2013.
Following the award presentation, the association conducted annual elections. Board members Joshua Kirchmer and Conrad Starr were reelected for the 2018-2020 two-year term. David Zadick was elected to for his first two-year term. Board members Steven Senigram and Daniel Brook, elected last year for the 2017-19, are continuing their two-year terms. The meeting concluded with the highly anticipated raffle drawing.