A monthly newsletter published by United Neighborhoods for Los Angeles.
UN4LA's mission is to bring communities together to plan for a sustainable future. Growth must be shaped by community engagement, not developer dollars.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
It's clear that our world has changed. So many things we took for granted at the beginning of 2020 have been turned upside down in the space of a single year. While the pandemic will eventually fade, and we look forward to the day when we can return to some kind of normal, it seems likely that some of the disruptions that have taken place will have lasting impacts.
The photo above shows the Academy Square project at the corner of Vine and De Longpre in Hollywood. In 2016, when the DEIR was released, Academy Square seemed to make perfect sense. The site had been underutilized for years. Entertainment companies were showing strong interest in the area, and the surge in new development seemed to be growing stronger every year. With 233,665 sq. ft. of office space, 49,135 sq. ft. of retail/restaurant space, and a 23-story tower containing 250 multi-family units, the project was touted as further evidence that Hollywood was on a roll.
Now, as the project nears completion, things have changed considerably. As more and more companies allow employees to work from home, the demand for office space has plummeted. While brick and mortar retail has been struggling for years, the pandemic has accelerated the trend toward on-line shopping. And a report released in June 2020 by LA's Housing + Community Investment Department shows that, according to LADWP data, the residential vacancy rate in Hollywood is over ten percent.
The landscape has changed, and our thinking has to change with it. The California Legislature is beginning a new session, and no doubt we'll see yet another spate of bills aimed at upzoning urban and suburban land. Is it time for a fresh approach? The author of the following article offers an idea on how we might turn the current crisis into an opportunity.
Declining Commercial Real Estate Demand May Provide Opportunity to Address Housing Crisis
PANDEMIC DAMPENS SOFI STADIUM DEBUT
There were many things that didn’t go according to plan this year. One of 2020’s most anticipated events was the opening of the new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. It happened, but well behind schedule and not the way anyone expected. Jon Regardie takes a look at the politics and the money involved in the decades-long process of bringing an NFL team to LA.
A Look Back at the Long, Winding Road to the Opening of SoFi Stadium
VENICE PLACE PROJECT SPARKS CONTROVERSY
Proponents of the Venice Place Project on Abbot Kinney Blvd. claim their plan has significant support from the community, but there’s also strong opposition. This is a mixed-use project centered around a 78-room hotel, which also includes restaurants and office space. Opponents cite concerns about gentrification, and certainly Venice has been a gentrification hotspot in recent years. They also see problems with environmental impacts. Click on the links below to read the project description from the Environmental Impact Report, and an update on the Project from Citizens Preserving Venice.
Venice Place Project: Project Description
Venice Place Project from Citizens Preserving Venice
METRO NEXT GEN BUS PLAN
Ridership on LA Metro lines has been declining for years, and bus ridership has seen especially steep losses. In an effort to reverse this trend, Metro has prepared its Next Gen plan. The idea is to ramp up bus service along major corridors, but this also means cutting service on lines with lower ridership. Will it work? Hard to say, since it’s being rolled out in the middle of a pandemic, and many people are avoiding busses and trains to reduce the risk of infection. It will probably be quite a while before it’s possible to gauge the plan’s effectiveness. Below is a detailed breakdown of the plan from Streetsblog.
A Look at Phase One of Metro NextGen Bus Service Reorganization