Preserve LA's Little Tokyo! sign now

The Los Angeles Little Tokyo community is deeply disappointed with the secretive sale of the New Otani Hotel and Weller Court by the East West Development Corporation/Kajima Corporation to the 3D Development Corporation, who last year also bought the Miyako Hotel and the Japantown Mall in San Francisco Japantown.

Along with the sale of the Japanese Village Plaza, the recent deals highlight the decades of hard work by an organized community to preserve a valuable and vibrant Little Tokyo. These decades of work dedicated to building the Little Tokyo community not only benefit community members but also investors and business owners at-large.

In the 1970s, the New Otani Hotel was built with substantial taxpayer subsidies as part of a redevelopment project. The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) used eminent domain to purchase the Weller Street block, evicting many family-owned businesses, cultural and community organizations housed in the Sun Building, and tenants living in residential hotels. At this time, Kajima representatives promised to be responsible, contributing members in the Little Tokyo community. We believe the way they conducted the recent sale to 3D Investments is contrary to the spirit of this original commitment.

With only three Japantowns remaining, the critical importance of maintaining Los Angeles Little Tokyo as a vibrant, historic cultural neighborhood is evidenced both by the actions of community members as well as the state government through the passage of Senate Bill 307. Therefore, when a company decides to purchase a main commercial and gathering area of Little Tokyo, they should also take the initiative to develop the properties in a responsible manner with community input.

The Little Tokyo Community Council, created in 1999 by community leaders to represent the neighborhoods stakeholders, has built a strong track record of working with developers and community members to craft mutually beneficial solutions that enhance development and improve the character of the community. This democratic process helps ensure that 100 years of history is sustained and revitalized for future generations.

We demand that Kajima/EastWest Development,3D Investments, and American Commercial Equities engage in meaningful dialogue with the Little Tokyo Community Council and community stakeholders. A dialogue that will result in real partnerships and solutions that meet the Little Tokyo communitys vision for the future. Given the successful resolution of similar issues with the actions of 3D Investments in San Franciscos Japantown, we are confident that such solutions and partnerships can be attained.

Little Tokyo is our home. Little Tokyo is our history. Little Tokyo is our future. And the people who share that home should have a say in what happens to it.

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Catherine EscobarBy:
LGTBIn:
Petition target:
Councilwoman Jan Perry, Kajima Corporation, 3D Investments, and American Commercial Equities

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