First there were the taggers. Are they the paratroopers now?

The moribund Oceanwide Plaza project, an unfinished development across from Arena, became the source of a new headache for Los Angeles officials this week when several people used the skyscraper as a paragliding launch pad.

A video posted online shows people BASE jumping from the top of the project. Evidently authenticating the footage, Mayor Karen Bass confirmed to television station NBC4 that she saw people parachuting from the building.

“I guarantee you there will be a tragedy there if that place isn’t boarded up quickly,” Bass told the station. “New fences will go up, but it will take a few days. The owner should reimburse the city for every penny.”

However, it is unclear how the city will be able to raise those funds. The owner, Oceanwide Holdings, is a publicly traded Chinese company based in Beijing that stopped working on the project in 2019 when it ran out of money.

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said Sunday that officers remain on scene as the city attempts to remove the graffiti and secure the property.

“All of this in an effort to prevent a tragic fall or other calamity,” Moore wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “This is not art. It’s a crime”.

According to Los Angeles police, six people had previously been arrested on trespassing charges in connection with tagging dozens of floors of the skyscraper. All six were cited and later released.

Last week, the Los Angeles City Council voted to order the property owners to clean up the site. Under Councilman Kevin de León’s motion, the Department of Building and Safety, the Office of Street Services and the Office of Engineering will direct property owners to secure the property and remove debris from the public right-of-way.

“Our residents and businesses deserve safe, vibrant neighborhoods, which is why I have taken steps to ensure Oceanwide property is clean and safe,” De León said during the meeting.

If property owners do not comply by Feb. 17, the city will begin the cleanup process and remove scaffolding, barriers and other debris on sidewalks.

Oceanwide Plaza, once one of the largest real estate development projects in Los Angeles, was supposed to house hotels and commercial spaces, condominiums and luxury apartments. The LA Live complex skyscraper, which includes shops, restaurants and the Grammy Museum, remains unfinished since work stopped in January 2019.

By Sam