(Hello Beverly Hills Courier readers! Confused by allegations that Metro controls editorial decisions here at Streetsblog? To help clear things up, we’ve compiled a list of the connections between Streetsblog and Metro right here.)
The headline was breathless, as many headlines in the Beverly Hills Courier often are. “Courier Exclusive Report: Century City Subway Station $38.7 Million Payoff to JMB,” blared last week’s lead story. Even by the sensationalist standards of the Courier, this one seemed a big story.
The gist of the Courier’s big scoop: Metro is planning to spend $38.7 million dollars more to purchase property for a Constellation Avenue Station on property owned by JMB Realty than it would for property located literally across the street. Of course, as is often the case, the story isn’t factually accurate.
From the Courier Exclusive:
Although the disclosure is difficult to read, it appears that Metro will pay $38.7 million more for JMB’s property at 10131 Constellation Blvd. than a comparable site underneath Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, 2025 Avenue of the Stars.
The story plays right into the Courier’s narrative about the Westside Subway alignment. JMB Realty and its ties to Mayor Villaraigosa have long been the culprit when discussion of why the Subway will probably go under Beverly Hills High School to a station at Constellation Ave and Avenue of the Stars rather than Santa Monica Boulevard adjacent to a golf course.
We should note that either of the stations discussed in this story would require tunneling under Beverly Hills High School. The purpose of the article is not to demand a station re-route, just to smear Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Metro and JMB Realty by claiming that the realty company will receive nearly $40 million more than the Hyatt across the street would if the station were built on its property.
This “payoff” seems the perfect story to continue the narrative of a realty giant colluding with a big city mayor to blow up Beverly Hills High School.
Except, of course, the story isn’t actually true. As a matter of fact, the station on JMB owned property is actually $38.7 million less expensive to build than the one in front of the Hyatt according to Metro’s environmental documents.
Confused by the difficult to read document as many people are when confronted by hundreds of pages of government-speak, the Courier makes some pretty large assumptions that there are no differences in the cost between the two stations other than the real estate costs. Using advanced research techniques commonly known as “reading the next page after the chart” Streetsblog was able to get to the bottom of why the Subway will cost 4,241,525,000 with a station on one side of Constellation and another $4,280,252,000 on the other. Hint: it has nothing to do with the funds Metro would have to spend to buy property from JMB Realty. Read more…