Crenshaw District, Los Angeles-An auto body shop on Slauson near Brynhurst in Los Angeles where a mural of the late rapper Nipsey Hussle was defaced several times, will soon be apartments. The news comes nearly three years after Nipsey born (Ermias Asghedom) was murdered in front of his Marathon Clothing store, just a stones trow away from the site next to Hungry Harold’s.
It is interesting to note, the site will mirror almost exactly the plans Nipsey Hussle had for the property that houses his Marathon Clothing store.
Just one month before another Rolling 60’s gang member would be charged for Nipsey’s death after an alleged altercation over “snitching,” Forbes published an article about the new owners of the Slauson and Crenshaw property where Nipsey was gunned down.
The new owners were Nipsey Hussle and his business partners.
“Change is coming to Crenshaw, and Nipsey is aiming to be on its bleeding edge: This month, Nipsey and business partner Dave Gross swooped in to pay “a couple million” for the plaza. Within 18 months or so, they’ll knock everything down and rebuild it as a six-story residential building atop a commercial plaza where a revamped Marathon store will be the anchor tenant,” (Forbes).
The exciting news came as a surprise to many. Those from the community understood that despite operating several legitimate businesses out of the plaza on Slauson and Crenshaw, Nipsey Hussle was constantly being harassed by local police.
Granted, Nipsey was part of one of the most widely publicized inner city gangs, serving as one of their most visible members. He was still affiliated–but he was not focused on being in the streets. The man was building legitimate businesses and generational wealth for his family, while providing opportunities to people from the neighborhood, who would otherwise be locked out the mainstream economic pool due to their past.
Since Nipsey Hussle’s murder, information continues to come to light over how invested not only the LAPD but the city of Los Angeles through the City Attorney’s office, were in removing Nipsey and his associates from the property.
The Marathon Store property is proving to be a prime piece of real estate due to the new Metro line on Crenshaw. Since his murder, the property has remained closed. Everyday however, tents continue to be set up outside the property selling merchandise relating to Nipsey’s image.
Last year, local City Councilman of the area put a cinder block fence to block activity in the alley adjacent to the Marathon Clothing property. The attempts by the Councilman’s office to deter crime and robberies against tourist have failed as the cinderblock has been bypassed and alley continues to serve as a sort of merchandise row for vendors.
In 2019, in a statement released through the Cochran Law Firm Nipsey’s brother Blacc Sam, born Samiel Asghedom, said nothing will stop the completion of Nipsey Hussle Tower.
“Nipsey was a true inspiration for the have nots. He was the people’s champ. He came from nothing and triumphed. He excelled in precarious situations. He had 100% respect from the streets. Because he lead by example, his honor and his sense of duty was at all times his moral compass. He struggled and fought for years. Sacrificed every day and often times choose to inspire rather than capitalize. So many times people tried to pull him away From the work he was doing in the community he grew up in. So many times people tried to suggest that he stop coming around and stop mingling with the people. They would say you made it, why are you still in the hood?
Nipsey knew what he was here to do his purpose was to inspire those who had no inspiration. He would show the people it can be done, “I’m just like you and I did it.” Believe in yourself and with hard work anything is possible. Educate yourself and always give back the same inspiration that helped you grow. Nipsey was the black messiah, articulate, intelligent, charismatic, militant, genuine, authentic, and most of all he was teaching those that most didn’t want taught.
When a black man gains notoriety and attaches himself to the people, he is seen as a threat to the system. Investigations, smear campaigns, espionage, and intimidation tactics are always used to discredit and falsely incarcerate who they see as a threat. Nipsey partnered with Dave gross to do a monumental development at the very location he started at, and also turned into a tourist attraction and a sort of Mecca that people from around the world wanted to come to and experience.
Regardless of anyone’s efforts to stop this from happening, Nipsey’s dream will be seen through and passed down to his children. The Nipsey Hussle Tower will inspire and show the people that even though you come from nothing you can achieve greatness. History will tell the story of Nipsey Hussle. The Nipsey Hussle tower will be built and his legacy will be etched in stone and etched in the people hearts forever.”
According to WNLA, the owner of the new property on Slauson and Brynhurst is listed as Elan & Ayla QOZB LLC, an LA-based company managed by Hooman Lahijani.
The “qozb” in the LLC means the business is operating as a qualified opportunity zone business which is important to note. These tax advantage zones in Black communities such as the Crenshaw and Slauson area calls for companies to use capital gains to build businesses in our communities, with the incentive of receiving tax breaks that allow their business to grow tax free.
The Latino owner of the auto body shop is currently looking for a new place to operate his business but says things are proving to be rather difficult. He mentioned the property has been sold twice and there are some sort of tanks underground because the property may have served as a gas station at one point which makes the permit process harder. He also shared that he tried to buy the property throughout the years but the owner refused to sell to him. He has operated his auto body shop at the property on Slauson for over 10 years.
The future site by Elan and Ayla QOZB LLC is said to include a mix of studio apartments, one- two bedrooms along with 2,053 square feet of ground-floor commercial space (WNLA).
This video is from Nipsey Hussle’s funeral where his brother Blacc Sam shared some memories of Nipsey, as well as their journey of acquiring the property. Blacc Sam shared they were always inspired by people in the neighborhood who were hustlers and making a way out of no way.
He also shared the previous owner of the property were being forced by the City of Los Angeles to evict them but the owner chose instead to offer them the opportunity to purchase the property, because they had brought so much business to a once vacant lot. (Around 13:00 minute mark).
Below are a couple comments from my instagram that I felt were powerful from local residents regarding this new site and the parallels of Nipsey Hussle’s vision.
“We Had these Neighborhoods. And We let them Go…..L.A Neighborhoods are in Rotation….these Houses all started off White Owned….then Black…then Latino….. now going back to White & Multi-Racial……stop selling your Grandparents properties….”
“This is exactly what he was trying to prevent he didn’t want investors in the community he wanted to keep everything ran between us the people for the people by the people so we can maintain control and stability within our neighborhoods but people aren’t mature enough to understand that they blindly follow their emotions and for that reason climbing the pit of poverty will be impossible for them , their children and their children’s children smh.”