A new report from the LA city Ethics Commission shows that lobbying firms around Los Angeles are enjoying a very lucrative year thus far. All together, the firms brought in more than $13.5 million in the first three months of 2016. As KPCC notes, that’s not quite as much as the $14 million that the firms received in the final quarter of 2015, but it does put the city on pace to spend more on lobbying in 2016 than in any previous year.
So where is all this money coming from? Well, nine of the 10 biggest spenders were developers—all pushing forward with ambitious and potentially controversial projects.
As construction spending soars to levels not seen in decades, the price of advocating for projects with city officials seems to be going up as well. Here’s a list of the five individual projects that developers have spent the most money lobbying for so far this year.
Project: Crossroads of the World complex
Amount Paid: $220,660
What’s going on:This massive project would completely revamp Hollywood’s historic Crossroads of the World complex, adding eight new buildings including a hotel and two residential towers. It was the most-lobbied project during the first quarter of 2016 by a pretty wide margin.
Project: Palladium Towers
Amount Paid: $198,566
What’s going on:This project would give the Hollywood Palladium a makeover and add pair of mixed-use residential towers next door. It’s been incredibly controversial from the get-go and plans for the project served as an inciting spark for the fiercely anti-development Neighborhood Integrity Initiative. For now, all the lobbying seems to have paid off; in March, the city council approved height district and zoning changes needed to allow the project to continue.
Project: 8150 Sunset Boulevard
Amount Paid: $166,715
What’s going on:In 2015, Frank Gehry signed on to help redevelop the former site of the famous Garden of Allah on the Sunset Strip. Gehry was brought in after residents cried foul over initial plans for the project, and it seems developer Townscape Partners is sparing no expense to make sure the new plans won’t have to be scrapped as well.
Project: Alexan South Broadway
Amount Paid: $132,006
What’s going on:The Alexan South Broadway is actually planned for the northwest corner of Hill and Ninth Streets and will bring 305 luxury apartments to Downtown—some of them as small as 400 square feet. Residents of the neighboring Eastern Columbia Building, however, are worried that the tower will block views of that building’s iconic clock and have started a petition to halt the project. Fighting against that kind of local resistance can be pricey.
Project: MLS Stadium
Amount Paid: $126,696
What’s going on: Demolition will soon begin on The Los Angeles Sports Arena, and replacing it will be a 22,000-seat stadium for the brand new Los Angeles Football Club (who are using the word “football” to describe what Americans usually refer to as soccer). With a strict timeline in place (the team expects the stadium will be complete by 2018), lobbying fees will likely help to ensure the project stays on schedule.