Jamie Paige, Special to the Daily Press
Evan Hines, the son of renowned dance//actor and singer Gregory Hines, a longtime Venice resident, is speaking out against Venice Community Housing (VCHC) and Hollywood Housing Corporation (HHC), naming part of the Reese Davidson project after his father.
His statement comes the same week the grand daughter of Arthur Reese sent a cease and desist letter to VCHC and HHC demanding their family name be removed from the project.
According to VCHC, the proposed 2.6 acre Reese Davidson Community project will include 140 units of affordable and supportive housing as well as an art center–to be named the Gregory Hines Community Arts Center.
“Greg would have never aligned himself with people like this,” said Evan. “If you want to make money and build buildings go ahead, but don’t use my father’s name to do it.”
Evan said to date he has not seen evidence of the Developers having the authorization to use his father’s name and likeness. “Given the fact that they didn’t have permission to use Arthur Reese’s name, I don’t think they should use Greg’s name.“
Like the Reese family, Evan said VCHC did not clearly describe the scope of the project to him. The Reese Davidson Project is five times larger than the typical supportive housing development and will take up about 40 lots on nearly three acres of land. The current space is used as a parking lot for Venice Beach visitors and sits adjacent to the historic Venice Canals.
“It seems like the wrong kind of thing to go in this space just because where it is located, geographically, it’s so close to the beach,” said Evan. “I just know for a fact that he [his father Gregory Hines] would not be for this project given what the effect on the community is going to be,” said Evan.
In an interview in 2014, Gregory Hines spoke of his love for the beach and the open space in Venice. Hines compared his life in New York to Venice saying “When I lived in New York, I never looked up. In Venice I look up and see cloud formations. When I’m looking out into the water, I’m never bored. It has a powerful effect on me.”
Like the Reese family, Evan also said the amount of money spent on the project is not anything his family wants to be connected to. Price per door is still being worked out –but is expected to add up to about $1 million dollars. According to public documents the cost of land alone is conservatively valued at $90 million.
“Everything I hear about this project, it just sounds like someone is going to go home with a lot of money,” said Evan. “ If you are going to help people great. If you are going to build stuff to help the community great. But all of this has the whiff of a paycheck. Someone is going to make off with a lot of money. I don’t think it’s right and Greg would not have thought this was right either. “