Community wins fight over Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza

Downtown Crenshaw plans Juneteenth march

OW Staff Writer | 6/18/2020, 11:48 a.m.

A diverse coalition of housing justice organizers, community organizations, business and civic leaders, and former elected officials has pressured CIM Group, a real estate development company, in an epic fight over control of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. CIM Group has agreed to terminate its purchase agreement.

On April 29, CIM Group announced it had entered an agreement to purchase the historic Crenshaw Mall, the economic anchor of the Black Los Angeles community, which had been quietly put up for sale in 2018. CIM intended to redevelop it into an office campus, like the Westside Pavillion. After an intense six-week community opposition campaign, in the late hours of June 14 CIM announced their decision to back away on their Instagram page:

“CIM has concluded that the community, the mall, and CIM are best served by us stepping aside.”

“This is a tremendous Black victory and a testament to the power of our community,” said Damien Goodmon, executive director of the Crenshaw Subway Coalition.

After the proposed purchase was announced, Goodmon spearheaded the strategy and campaign attack CIM Group and the entity selling the mall by highlighting the role of public pension funds the investors involved in the sale, and brought together a powerhouse team of community-centered developers to compose an alternative proposal for the community to buy the mall and to launch a fund to buy properties around the mall. That alternative plan and process, dubbed Downtown Crenshaw quickly earned the support of over 150 community organizations and leaders and generated over 10,000 signatures in just 14 days.

“Once it became clear that we were going to apply a lot of pressure on the chief investors of CIM, the public pension funds, by exposing how their treacherous business relationship is harming the very public whose money is being used, I think CIM had to reassess the deal,” said Jackie Ryan, the former president of the Leimert Park Village Merchants Association.

Black Lives Matter-LA, Crenshaw Subway Coalition and Downtown Crenshaw are leading a Juneteenth Caravan/March on the mall and uplifting the spirit of Grechario Mack who was a victim of police violence there. The march will begin at 2 p.m. on June 19 at the intersection of President Barack Obama and Dr. Martin Luther King blvd.