First it was taggers. Now it's parachuters?
The moribund Oceanwide Plaza project, an unfinished development across the street from Crypto.com Arena, became the source of a new headache for Los Angeles officials this week when multiple people used the high-rise as a launching pad for paragliding.
A video posted online shows people BASE jumping from the top of the project. Evidently authenticating the footage, Mayor Karen Bass confirmed to TV station NBC4 that people were seen parachuting off the building.
"I guarantee you tragedy will take place there if that place is not boarded up quickly," Bass told the station. "New fences will be put up, but it'll take a few days. The owner should reimburse the city for every dime."
It's not clear how the city will be able to collect those funds, however. The owner, Oceanwide Holdings, is a publicly traded Chinese company based in Beijing that stopped work on the project in 2019, when it ran out of money.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said Sunday that officers remain at the site as the city attempts to remove the graffiti and secure the property.
"All of this in an effort to avoid a tragic fall or other calamity," Moore wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. "This isn't art. It's a crime."
Six people had previously been arrested on allegations of trespassing in connection to tagging dozens of floors of the skyscraper, according to the LAPD. All six were cited and then released.
Last week, the Los Angeles City Council voted to order the owners of the property to clean up the site. Per Councilmember Kevin de León's motion, the Department of Building and Safety, the Bureau of Street Services and the Bureau of Engineering will order the owners to secure the property and clear debris from the public right of way.
“Our residents and businesses deserve safe and vibrant neighborhoods, which is why I’ve taken action to ensure the Oceanwide property is cleaned and made safe,” De León said during the meeting.
If the owners don't comply by Feb. 17, the city will begin the cleanup process and get rid of scaffolding, barriers and other debris on the sidewalks.
Once one of the biggest real estate development projects in Los Angeles, Oceanwide Plaza was supposed to house hotel and retail space, luxury condominiums and apartments. The skyscraper has remained unfinished since work stopped in January 2019.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.