Thursday, April 1, 2010

Goldman Weasels Its Way Into Los Angeles Politics and Comes Out Smelling Millions Richer

Financial regulations have never stopped Goldman Sachs, so why should zoning regs.

Admittedly in a Private Property Society, private property owners would be free to do whatever the hell they damn well pleased on their own property. But in a world of government created power centers, it's only those who know how to influence the power centers, that have freedom, while the rest of us schmucks can just sit and watch from the outside.

At the start of the 21st century, Goldman Sachs has been the slick operator that finds the way to capture government officials for its own benefit. The latest example of this comes out of Los Angeles.

Last Friday,  the Los Angeles City Council voted  12 to 2 in favor of a change in zoning laws that handed the Goldman additional development rights on 111 acres of property it co-owns at Playa Vista.

According to LA Weekly:

The vote allows Playa Vista's final build-out phase to dispense with land-use rules that permitted just 100,000 square feet of commercial space — about the size of a single Costco warehouse — to allow about 2.6 million square feet of luxury housing, a smattering of senior housing and about 341,000 square feet of retail, offices and public buildings — significantly more square footage than is contained in Chicago's 92-story Trump International Hotel and Tower.

In pure dollar terms, the new rights substantially boost the value of Goldman Sachs' property — by $145.6 million, according to land-use consultant Bill Christopher.
After this play, expect more out of Goldman in terms of using and abusing the city. They appear to have dug their tentacles into the city big time. How deep?

The land which Goldman owns jointly with Morgan Stanley Real Estate Funds and union pension funds is known as Playa Vista. The president of Playa Vista is Steve Soboroff.

According to LAW, Soboroff participated in a "kitchen cabinet" that recommended Austin Beutner as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's new jobs czar, the new ultimate power position in Los Angeles.

Bottom line, Goldman's man in  L.A. was directly responsible for putting the city's new power player into his new position.

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