661 W. Broadway a sore spot for residents
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Shokrian strongly denied claims that he has neglected the property. “There is not a day that I don’t have maintenance people to work on electrical or plumbing issues,” he said. “These units, most of them are Section 8, and they have to be inspected once a year by the agencies. They look at any violation and want them taken care of before the lease can be renewed.”
Other residents called on Shokrian to improve the property instead of building condominiums, which they fear could be turned into rental apartments. Shokrian said he intends to sell the units, and that the new development will increase property values and add to the tax base.
“We need some of the investment to come back to be able to do more projects,” he told the board. “We cannot build and keep them.”
The zoning board approved the condo project with the condition that the property be demolished within 30 days of vacancy and that the landlord would not renew any leases or take in new tenants.
Tenant William Johnson said he hopes he can stay in the area. “There are definitely… people who are going to be displaced. All of these units are going to be emptied, and not many of us are going to be able to stay in Long Beach,” he said. “They haven’t said anything about where they’re going to try to move the people. That puts people in an awkward position because you’re putting us out with nowhere to go.”
Shokrian said that tenants would receive help relocating when their leases expire. “We are providing them with all the assistance they might need,” he said. “If there are other locations in Long Beach, we may help them to move.”