The following statement is released on behalf of Downtown Crenshaw in response to the breaking news that New York City-based real estate company LivWork, who is in multiple business dealings with Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and CIM Group, has entered an agreement to purchase the Crenshaw Mall.
In short, the mall has not yet been sold and we will continue to organize and strategize to buy our Crenshaw Mall, stabilize it and redevelop it into a 21st century sustainable urban village, known as Downtown Crenshaw.
"We have felt for some time now that the sales process was being conducted out of customary real estate industry practices. To recap, in late July Downtown Crenshaw was informed that we could submit a bid to purchase the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, but that we would have to prepare a competitive offer having just 5 weeks of access to voluminous sensitive financial data regarding the mall. We thought that was not reasonable or fair, given that the confidential data had been made available to large developers like CIM Group 13 months prior. When we submitted a reasonable request for a 60-day extension of the offer due date, it was inexplicably denied.
"Despite the time constraints, the Downtown Crenshaw team jumped through all of the hoops to craft a viable people-centered plan with the community, and assembled a development dream team. The Downtown Crenshaw development team includes the global firm that raised the most amount of capital for real estate in the world last year, the biggest names in socially responsible investing, developers with extensive experience on large mixed-use centers and community-driven projects, and two award-winning architecture firms, who designed America's two most iconic African-American structures in the 21st century. We displayed that we have capacity to raise the capital, the expertise to build the project, and most importantly that we had the support of a broad cross-section of the community. With over 12,000 petitions signed, the support of over 350 community groups, faith leaders, business leaders, former elected officials, tenants groups and residential associations, and regular weekly meetings with hundreds on Zoom and thousands more on Facebook Live, this has proven to be more than an effort to buy a precious piece of real estate. It is a movement for community empowerment.
"After we submitted our offer, we made it to the second round and received an interview. But thereafter we were denied the opportunity to submit a customary best and final offer.
"The bottom line is that this battle is not over. It is simply the latest in the saga to wrestle control of the Crenshaw Mall out of the hands of those who would do the Crenshaw community harm and into the hands of the community. We’re going to focus our energy on continuing to organize the people, further strengthening our offer and the people-supported plan, and dealing directly with the pension funds and elected officials.
"We don't imagine the community or Black people across America will respond any more favorably to Kushner’s intimate business partners at LivWork purchasing this iconic Black center of commerce, than they did to the possible purchase by Kushner and Trump’s business partners at CIM. LivWrk is now the third company that has signed an agreement to purchase. The previous two backed away, because the people spoke. We encourage the people to raise their voices again, and the pension funds and elected officials to listen. The Crenshaw Mall belongs in community hands."