LA urban blight, enlightened developer, towering ambitions

The Saint ReportSaint Consulting Links, Saint Index, saintblog, Urban planning1 Comment

wyvernwood Take a sprawling site of low-rise Depression-era apartments in Los Angeles, add a Miami investment firm that wants to do a complete overhaul of the 1,200 existing units with 4,400 condos, rentals and retail, and you have a towering ambition for urban blight.
The undertaking by Fifteen Group aims to quadruple the 1930s Wyvernwood site in a $2 billion redevelopment of the Boyle Heights section of LA. The complex would include some 24-story high-rises with more than 20,000 residents served by new stores and offices, the Los Angeles Times reports. more

Owen Eagan, a division manager for Saint Consulting in Southern California, sees great promise in Fifteen Group’s ambitions and in his comment applauds developers who contribute greatly to reducing blight.

One Comment on “LA urban blight, enlightened developer, towering ambitions”

  1. Owen Eagan is a division manager for The Saint Consulting Group in Southern California:

    Fifteen Group should be applauded for their $2 billion redevelopment plan of Boyle Heights as should most developers who choose to make a significant investment in communities in need of revitalization. One of the best ways to revitalize communities is to fix its “broken windows.” The broken windows theory, illustrated in the book The Tipping Point, simply states that broken windows or other symbols of neglect in a community such as graffiti or litter leads to an irreversible decline if left unchecked. Though these broken windows are usually the responsibility of public officials, the private sector can also contribute greatly to reducing blight. In fact, tax increment financing was established to incentivize developers to invest in communities and reduce blight. Tax increment financing, the method by which certain costs of improvement of a piece of property are paid for using payments in lieu of taxes, is frequently used for development projects in which there is a clear public benefit. For example, significant public subsidies were granted to Philip Anschutz for his Staples Center expansion project in downtown Los Angeles to complement his investment in the community. This project also resulted in a landmark Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) negotiated with various community groups which designates 20% of the housing units as affordable and includes other benefits such as hiring preferences and job training programs. Though conditions are improving in Boyle Heights, the community is still plagued by crime and gang activity. The Staples Center expansion project demonstrates that there are models for successful revitalization given the right commitment of the developer, the city and the community.

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