HomeCommunity IssuesChinatown Landlord sells infamous LA Senior Housing

Chinatown Landlord sells infamous LA Senior Housing

Los Angeles Chinatown landlord Gong (Donald) Toy has sold the 270-unit Cathay Manor Apartments for an estimated $97 million. He once faced 16 criminal violations related to the living conditions in his building. The sale took place in the face of protests and lawsuits by residents that blocked a previous attempt, reports The Real Deal.

Cathay Manor Apartments is a senior housing complex located at the border of LA’s Chinatown and downtown, primarily serving the Chinese American community. Toy owned it through the Chinese Committee on Aging Housing Corporation.

According to a report on the previous sale attempt by the LA Times, the 80’s-era complex has been decaying under Don Toy’s ownership, perhaps the worst example being elevator breakdowns stranding the building’s residents for multiple days.

However, Don Toy managed to avoid conviction by blaming parts shortages, drawing further criticism from housing activist Wing Ng, who told KTLA that “The organization that manages this building, he doesn’t treat these people like human beings. He doesn’t care about life and death.

Underscoring this statement, according to residents who spoke to CBS News, the building was so decrepit that it delayed first responders, contributing to the deaths of two residents. Other elderly residents have had to climb as many as 15 flights of stairs, and say many others are afraid to speak up.

The blocked attempt to sell the complex in 2022 was to a non-profit called the Lutheran Gardens Corporation at a value of $108 million, a valuation which, according to the LA Times, was based upon massive rent increases and the value of the land it sits on, surrounded by gleaming condos.

With rent increases needing to be approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the decrepit state of the building, residents objected to the plan. Alongside housing advocates, they initiated a federal lawsuit and held a protest, which ended that attempt at a sale.

For a separate sale attempt in April of 2022, Toy is facing a lawsuit for the return of the buyers’ $868,141 deposit plus expenses. They accuse him of failing to resolve all liens against the property. The new buyer and current owner is the New York-Based housing developer Capital Realty Group, who own the apartments through an entity called Cathay Manor Apartments, LP.

The sale could mean conditions could improve at the building, but residents also fear the need for rent hikes to justify the $97 million spent to acquire the building or even redevelopment of the site.

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