By Nick Antonicello
Daniel Saparzadeh, who heads Hypericum Properties that owns the struggling structure at Lincoln & Flower that is showered in garbage and filth went on the record in an interview regarding the conditions around his properties and how the current homeless crisis has been long ignored by city officials and in particular the CD-11 Council office which is headed by the outgoing lame duck incumbent, Mike Bonin.
Saparzadeh, who is originally from Iran vented his frustrations with the current crisis conditions at Flower and Lincoln where he has a tenant that has spent close $2 million dollars in renovations inside, but if you were to see the property from the outside, the structure would appear abandoned and uninhabitable! For the current situation is not only scary, but is costing owners like Mr. Saparzadeh the ability to offer his tenant reasonable and safe accommodation to say nothing of his vacant parcels that also are fenced off because the danger the encampments pose for his properties and the surrounding tenants and homeowners who are exhausted by this 5-year homeless crisis that is not being addressed by anyone!
I asked several pointed questions in a frank interview with Daniel in the third of a series of stories on the conditions at Flower Avenue & Lincoln and just what will it take to get something done!
Here is the interview:
How long have you owned the property on Lincoln and Flower?
We purchased the properties in 2012.
How is the tenant at the Lincoln Blvd location operating daily and how do they access the property given the current condition? How many employees are inside that structure?
With a great deal of difficulties. Every time he and his employees and contractors want to get in and out of the property, it is a huge ordeal.
On one hand they are scared of getting in any altercations with the homeless for the fear of their life safety since many are on drugs and who knows how they would react and on the other hand, they don’t want to be labeled as heartless people abusing the least vulnerable so they are stuck between the rock and the hard place with no good options. They (the homeless) routinely break in and steal things from the building and on some occasions have set the building on fire. They even climbed up the roof and took residence there as well!
What are your plans for the vacant lot behind the Lincoln Blvd structure?
We are planning to build single family houses but not until we have a street where people want to move in and set roots.
Would you want to buy a house on Flower Ave right now?
How long has this situation been festering at Flower?
Around 5 years .
Has LA Councilmember Mike Bonin or his staff been helpful or cooperative in any way?
Zilch, nothing. He (Bonin) actually encourages homeless encampments.
What has the LAPD been able to do to assist with the encampments?
Minimal. They don’t believe it’s their responsibility and in some ways I feel they are not given the power or the mandate to deal with the situation. Where are they going to take these people once arrested or rounded up? They just can’t drop them at the City Hall nor can they be taken to jail without a due process which is not going to happen under Gascon (LA County District Attorney George Gascon).
Who have you contacted regarding the sidewalk situation on Lincoln as well as access on Flower?
Everyone in the city that we could talk to but mainly our missing Council member Mike Bonin and his office.
Do you plan on retaining or selling the properties?
We are hopeful that with the new incoming Mayor we would implement a change of course and address the homeless situation so we can go back and live our normal lives.
What has been the economic cost to you as the owner?
Six years of lost income or approximately $30,000.00/month or $2,160,000.00!
What would you estimate the monetary losses based on the current conditions due to the encampments?
These properties were purchased at substantial costs and with the current situation, we will have to dump them at less than half of what we paid for them.
How expensive is it to develop and manage commercial/residential properties in LA?
Very expensive and it takes forever. The City of Los Angeles will send you through the ringer for each and every little detail and at every corner they milk you in exorbitant fees. And now, all the employees at the Buiding and Safety Department are working at home because of COVID-19, so getting hold of someone is difficult.
Feel free to add any additional points regarding this situation at Flower & Lincoln:
The homeless situation is a pot of gold for the city. They ask for more and more money and the homeless population seemingly keeps getting larger and larger every month.
Nick Antonicello is a longtime Venetian that has covered the issue of homelessness and the encampment crisis on the streets of Venice for several years. Have a take or a tip on the issue of these encampments in Venice? Contact Antonicello via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org