Now that California's Redevelopment Association (CRA) has doubled down and lost its bet with the California Supreme Court, leading to the scrapping of all the state's CRAs, building projects across the state are in severe jeopardy. There are about 400 municipal redevelopment agencies in the state. Here are the projects in trouble for just one (albeit the largest): the Los Angeles CRA. They include nearly $100 million in grant funds to improve public infrastructure and create affordable housing and transit oriented development, the 126-unit Noho Senior Arts Colony in North Hollywood, the renovation of the historic Westlake Theater near downtown, the 35,000 square foot Wattstar Theater in Watts, the Cleantech Manufacturing Center south of downtown, and the biggest, the $3 billion Grand Avenue Project downtown. More than 20 projects in total are in danger. More to come on this huge news, including more lawsuits than you ever wanted to see.
Posts tagged with "CRA/LA":
On Monday we reported that redevelopment agencies around the state have had to put the brakes on upcoming projects until their uncertain futures are sorted out. Because of recent state legislation cities will have to pay their share of $1.7 billion by this fall in order to preserve their respective agencies. Here's a good example of the impact. CRA/LA has provided us a list of more than 20 current projects put on hold since the passage of the new legislation. They include the following: ° Arts District Park – a new park at 524 Clyton Street in Council District 14 ° BYD - Chinese electric car and battery maker opening Headquarters in Downtown LA. Public improvements cannot be completed, potentially affecting opening of the headquarters building at 1800 S. Figueroa in Council District 9 ° Sylmar Court – site acquisition cannot be completed for a large scale mixed-use development in the Sylmar community of Council District 7 ° Nate Holden Performing Arts Center – improvements cannot proceed at the Center, located in the Mid_City Project Area of Council District 10 ° Jefferson Boulevard/5th Avenue Apartments – housing development in Mid-City Project Area of Council District 10 ° The Serrano – housing development in the Wilshire Center/Koreatown Project area of Council District 10 ° Reseda Theater (CD3)– reuse of the former theater into a mixed-use development including commercial retail development and 23 housing units ° Pacific Avenue Arts Colony (CD15) – development of 49 housing units ° McFarland Avenue (CD15) – street vacation and public improvements. Agency delay of this project will also affect concurrent ATSAC traffic improvements ° Casa de Rosas (CD9)– rehabilitation of historic and affordable housing development ° Midway Zocalo Park (CD10) – proposed public park, leveraging State resources (Prop 84) ° Plaza Morazan Park (CD1)– assisting the Department of Recreation and Parks in the construction of Plaza Morazan park ° Hollywood Community Housing (CD1) – Development of 52 units of affordable family housing at 619 Westlake Avenue ° Civic Enterprise Development (CD9) – Single Family ownership housing at 6901 South Main Street ° West Valley Neighborhood Beautification (CD3) – Pilot Program for Residential Beautification in West Valley Region ° Blossom Plaza (CD1) – Mixed Use Cultural and Transit Oriented Development. Major positive impact for Chinatown businesses ° Habitat for Humanity (CD15) – Development of 9 units of affordable ownership housing ° Florence Mills (CD9) – Development of 70 units of affordable housing ° Downtown Streetcar (CD14) – Results of Council Adopted Study for grant application to Federal Transit Administration for the Downtown Streetcar
Curbed LA yesterday shared schemes for the zone around Diller Scofidio + Renfro's Broad Museum, revealing renderings of two residential towers to the south and east of the project and space for a new plaza. The images sent the ever-excitable architecture community chattering. But while it's great to get a better sense of what's going up, as the blog pointed out and the architects have reiterated, the images don't reveal what the design will actually look like. Developed by LA firm Grant Price Architects, the plans were part of a "Concept Study" for LA's Community Redevelopment Agency through developer Related Companies to explore the various configurations on the site. "It’s too early to get an idea of what they could do around the museum," Ted Ogami, Associate Director at Grant Price told AN. "It’s going to go through a number of iterations before they decide what to do." So we still need to wait until DS+R and Broad roll out their scheme for the area. DS+R Senior Associate Kevin Rice, the project director, confirmed that the firm is working under the assumption that they will likely design the plaza, but won't start work on it until that's confirmed in the next few months . Curbed did reveal that an architect for one of the towers is likely to be revealed in 30 days. More things to wait for. So be patient.
As California's redevelopment agencies face possible extinction, one notable group has thrown its hat into the ring. The LA Conservancy has announced that it will give its annual President's Award to the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles (CRA/LA) for "Its commitment to reusing historic structures—and promoting historic preservation" in its redevelopment plans. "We thought it was a timely way to recognize what they’ve been doing and their role in trying to foster strategic investments across the city," said Adrian Scott Fine, the Conservancy's Director of Advocacy, who pointed to the agency's help with, financing, surveys, and in some cases purchase of historic buildings to attract investment in historic conservation. Fine added that while redevelopment agencies have not always had a great relationship with preservation (think Bunker Hill), the Conservancy is against efforts to abolish all state CRA's. "It’s an essential function for cities to have the ability of a redevelopment agency to encourage, facilitate, and make projects happen that otherwise wouldn’t," he said. Recent CRA-supported preservation projects include the Hollywood Palladium, the Downtown Women's Center, and the still-pending Westlake Theater. The Conservancy's awards will be handed out at LA's Millenium Biltmore on May 12. The California Assembly missed eliminating state CRA's by one vote on March 16, but the issue will resurface when the state works to approve its budget later this Spring.
We learn from our friends at Curbed LA that LA's CRA (Community Redevelopment Agency) is scrambling to put away funds for about a billion dollars in projects before being potentially done away with later this year. You see, earlier this month California Governor Jerry Brown proposed— among $12.5 billion in budget cuts— “phasing out” funding for all of the state’s redevelopment agencies, a move that, according to Brown, “will return billions in property tax revenues to schools, cities and counties and help pay for public safety, education and other services.” According to Curbed, the CRA just "quickly put together a draft agreement with the city that socks away $938 million for future projects." That includes money for The Broad's new parking garage, for a new office tower on Vine Street in Hollywood. No matter what you think of redevelopment agencies, the move will hurt architects and builders. So stay tuned next week for AN's comprehensive article on just how much it will hurt. Sounds fun, right?
She still hasn't commented on WHY she left the LA Community Redevelopment Agency (we've called a bunch of times...) for Oakland-based non-profit Green For All. But Cecilia Estolano did give an exit interview to the Planning Report. Here's an excerpt. In it she discusses her changes and achievements at the CRA, including shifting the focus from "blight elimination and building shopping centers" to "creating economic opportunity." She also takes one more shot at the state government and its "fundamentally broken finance system," which has recently pilfered much of the CRA's funds. Finally she makes comments about her new job that suggest it may be a much more efficient place for her to change lives of struggling city dwellers: "I’m going to help Green For All across the country, city by city by city, to utilize economic stimulus funds, federal funds, and other funds to implement organization programs, energy efficiency programs, and incorporate job training and career apprenticeship programs for poor folks." Sounds like a pretty good gig...
We've just learned thanks to the LA Times and Curbed that LA Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA/LA) CEO Cecilia Estolano is stepping down from her post at the end of this month. Estolano was widely-praised for her aggressive moves to promote affordable housing, turn around struggling neighborhoods, establish a Clean Tech corridor in Downtown LA, and bolster the agency's funding, even in difficult economic times. We just ran a Q+A with Estolano in our last issue, which can be read here. Estolano is reportedly taking a job with Green For All, an Oakland-based environmental group focused on generating green jobs in underserved neighborhoods. We're trying to get a follow-up with Estolano now, so stay tuned...