Residents fear relocation from historic Rossmore apartment building

| March 4, 2020 | 2 Comments

DOMOS co-founder Daniel Alexander speaks to the GWNC Land Use Committee to discuss his company’s by-right renovation plans for an apartment building in Hancock Park.

More than 30 residents were in attendance for the Feb. 25 Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council’s monthly Land Use Committee (LUC) meeting to discuss plans to renovate an apartment building at 410 N. Rossmore Ave.

Residents say the building’s new owner, Atlanta-based Domos Coliving, intends to convert the rent-controlled apartments into coliving units.

Domos co-founder Daniel Alexander told committee members that his company’s first priority is to upgrade the fire and life safety systems in the building. In regard to further planned changes, Alexander said that Domos is in the process of selecting an architect to develop the design for the building and that plans will be forthcoming.

Alexander explained that coliving, or “professionalized roomating” as he called it, was not a “solution” to the affordable housing crisis, but it does provide “an option” for those who need it. Domos expects to offer leases to 200 people in a building where 54 currently live, he said.

When asked to elaborate on a construction schedule, Alexander explained that the company is still six to eight months away from phase one, adding that he expects construction to last as long as three years.

Speaking for residents, Debbie Chesebro told LUC members that she “took exception” to Alexander’s presentation: “If they were concerned about life safety, they would have fixed our heat by now. Multiple people in the building have not had heat since January,” she claimed.

According to Chesebro, 42 out of the 54 tenants in the building have signed a petition saying that they do not want to live in coliving units. Additionally, Chesebro alleged that the relocation company hired by Domos is giving tenants incorrect information in an effort “to trick people” out of rent controlled leases.

Alexander told LUC members that he and his colleague, Richard Loring, the design and construction manager for the project, recently sent letter invitations to all residents to come meet with the two of them (not the relocation company) at the building to discuss the project, but no tenants came to talk because others had advised the tenants not to participate.

Following the meeting, Loring confirmed to the Chronicle that Domos is committed to creating enough one-bedroom units within the new floor plan to accommodate all current residents wanting to return to the building after renovations are complete. Loring acknowledged that “improvements can be made in our outreach efforts,” but he noted that Domos has indicated an openness to meet with the two spokespeople the residents have nominated as representatives.

The Chronicle reached out to Chesebro for more information on the allegation that some residents are living without heat in the building, but Chesebro declined to comment, saying only that residents are forming a “press outreach department” and that a formal statement will be released at a later date.

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Category: Real Estate

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  1. Cinzia Zanetti says:

    I am a 30 year resident of 410 N.Rossmore. Domos did not send an invitation to a meeting with them. That is inaccurate. Daniel Alexander and another Domos associate were secret guests at a cupcake meet and greet with the management co. and specifically Amelia in the mgmt office. I walked into her office and was surprised to see the Domos reps there. Point #2 : The one bedroom units. Under RSO law, tenants come back to the SAME unit. The letters that we received from Domos on our doors always had false urgency re Safety and the meetings they encouraged us to take were with the Relocation firm parked in an office on the first floor.

  2. Steven A. says:

    Dispense with the “affordable housing” pitch. To turn 78 single units, many of which currently rent for under $2k, to 200 single BEDROOMS for the same price, is nothing less than a scam. The only homework Domo seems to have done is to qualify for government welfare under the “Opportunity Zone” loophole afforded by recent federal legislation that was allegedly meant to address not only affordable housing but neighborhood improvement in impoverished areas. However, many developers find poverty-adjacent neighborhoods instead, like Larchmont, where the profits will be far greater.

    Ms. Chesebro’s allegation that Domos and its representatives are giving false information in some cases, is an understatement. The only entity here that seems to be above board is the management company, Alliance. They are making an effort to maintain the building, but it took several calls to City officials to get things moving.

    I recently sat down with a rep from LACAL, the entity negotiating cash-for-keys buyouts. The offer was low–not much incentive to uproot my living after 19 years here–so in an effort to increase the buyout, the rep tried to convince me to claim dependents that I don’t have, because “No one will check,” and/or claim a disability that I don’t have. I spent about 5 minutes convincing her that I know better than to lie when entering a contract, else that contract is nullified and I lose whatever buyout I have negotiated. The only mystery here is: are they amatuers, overtly crooked, or just wholly unprepared?

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