LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A downtown Los Angeles building that houses artists’ lofts and offices has been cited for more than three dozen fire safety code violations, a CBS2 investigation has discovered.
The citations were documented by fire inspectors in August, who found dangerous electrical wiring, illegal construction work and other fire hazards.
Inspectors said the space had been converted into apartments “without the required permits and approvals.”
Four months later, no corrective actions appear to have been taken.
On a recent visit, CBS2’s David Goldstein found that many who work and live in the building are unaware of the fire code violations.
“I’m not aware of any of this. It does make me a little uncomfortable,” a resident said. “Especially since I just moved in.”
Many of the violations cited by inspectors mirror those reported to have been found at the Oakland warehouse that caught fire Friday night, killing 36 people.
For example, inspectors cited the loft and office building’s wooden staircases as being a fire hazard. Inspectors also noted a lack of required portable fire extinguishers, fire alarms, smoke detectors and emergency signs. The property was also found to have insufficient access to fire escapes.
The building, located at 931 and 937 Pico Boulevard, is owned by developer Morad Neman, who was ordered after the August inspection to stop renting the space for residential lofts.
Neman owns other property in downtown Los Angeles, including the site of a former carwash near LA Live that he bought in 2014 for a reported $25 million. Later that year, he was arrested in a federal money laundering sting. Neman also plans to redevelop the carwash site into a mixed-use project, Urbanize LA reported.
Neman did not return a request for comment.
A Facebook page for the property at 937 Pico Boulevard suggests it was formerly a factory that was later remodeled into lofts that were used for film and photography shoots.
“Everything from the staircases to the reclaimed wood trim has been handmade for the space,” the Facebook page says. “Spike Jonze, Snoop Dog, Microsoft, Samsung, Milk, Google, The League and Sony are among the many who have filmed in the units.”
LA City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office says it has filed a complaint against Neman seeking to make him comply with the fire code.
A court hearing is scheduled for January. Until then, there is little the city can do.