Clean and secure your tagged high-rise or we’ll do it for you, L.A. tells owners

Graffiti cover large parts of a high-rise with skyscrapers in the background.
Extensive tagging is visible on the unfinished Oceanwide Plaza in downtown Los Angeles.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

After six trespassing arrests were made in less than a week related to a heavily tagged unfinished skyscraper in downtown Los Angeles, the Los Angeles City Council voted Friday to order the property owners to clean up the site.

Councilmember Kevin de León introduced a motion Feb. 2 that instructs the Department of Building and Safety, the Bureau of Street Services and the Bureau of Engineering to order the Oceanwide Plaza owners to secure the property and clear debris from the public right of way. The council approved the motion unanimously.

“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.

If the property owners do not comply by Feb. 17, the city will begin its own cleanup process, the motion said. Scaffolding, plastic barriers and other debris are on the sidewalks and in the bus lane adjacent to the building.

Police arrested four more people at the unfinished Oceanwide Plaza development, where vandals tagged 27 floors of the skyscraper with graffiti.

Feb. 8, 2024


The Department of Building and Safety issued its own order to the property owners Jan. 31 requesting they remove all graffiti and debris and securely fence the building.

Oceanwide Plaza was slated to be a mixed-use development including luxury apartments and hotel and retail space, but construction halted in 2019 when the Beijing-based developers ran out of money.

The incomplete high rise has attracted many taggers and graffiti artists in recent weeks, who have collectively tagged at least 27 stories of the building. De León’s motion described the development as “a blight on downtown Los Angeles” and “a black eye on an otherwise vibrant part of DTLA.”

The development faces Arena, which hosted the Grammys last weekend, and is near the popular L.A. Live complex among shops and restaurants. De León represents Council District 14, which includes downtown Los Angeles.

Nella McOsker, president and CEO of the Central City Assn. of Los Angeles, said the City Council’s vote was a step in the right direction. The city should consider what to do with the unfinished building, especially given the housing shortage in Los Angeles.

“We need to address the core of this issue,” McOsker said during public comment at the City Council meeting. “An abandoned structure that sits on this land adjacent to our convention site needs to be put to a better use.”

De León’s motion orders the owners of Oceanwide Plaza to “restore the public right of way to its original condition,” and instructs various city organizations to step in if the job is not completed by the deadline. The motion also asks the City Administrative Officer to identify front-funding for the cleanup and securing of the site.


The building attracts criminal activity and has become a hazard for surrounding residents and businesses, the motion said. Los Angeles Police Department officers are also investigating a report of shots fired near the development last week.