It breaks my heart every time I walk through the deserted mall that holds many of my childhood memories. From holiday pictures with black santa, shenanigans in Walmart, running around Sears with my cousins and being dragged around Macy’s for hours to catch semi-annual sales. I genuinely feel like the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall or what we call The Crenshaw Mall deserved more effort. After the long winded two year contingent sale, Capri Capital Partners finally settled on a $140 Million purchase from Harridge Development Group. The Harridge Development Group has taken steps to fulfill their $1Billion redevelopment project and recently submitted requests to LA City Planning to begin construction at 4005 Crenshaw Blvd in Los Angeles, CA 90008. This redevelopment would stretch right after what was Macy’s on the corner of Crenshaw and MLK Blvd. to Crenshaw and 39th.

This project falls in regulation of the 2014 “Greater Leimert Park Village/Crenshaw Corridor Business Improvement District Management District Plan” and “The Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) Incentive Program” which encourages the construction of affordable housing, one-half mile radius surrounding major transit stops. The property has a total of 11,332 square feet of space and will be constructed with versatile zoning that allows for multiple uses, including retail, office, or 636 residential apartments. It will highlight ample parking which is  a valuable asset  near the Crenshaw/LAX line extension that expands connectivity to surrounding areas; appealing to any real estate investors or businesses looking to establish a presence in the Crenshaw District because of high visibility and accessibility. 

South LA has been a historically underserved and overlooked area that has been both glorified and demonized by the media but those who’ve grown up here have seen the value that many are just beginning to grasp. There’s been a longing need for attention and opportunities in our communities that consist of investment and development. This renaissance of revitalization is due to interest and investment in city plans, or for technical term gentrification. With the increase of  redevelopments in our inner cities I prompt residents to immerse themselves in these changes and the details of them.

I’m all for progression in our community and have always believed an elevated quality of life should be our standard of living; though I do have concerns about the potential stressors of displacement of those who are current residents. Especially with the gap between our minimum wage (now known as poverty wage) and our livable wage. According to analysts, Californians surviving off $15.50 minimum wage would need two full-time jobs to afford a one-bedroom and even up to 3 full-time jobs to afford a two-bedroom. Which is non-inclusive of a budget for health care, insurances, food, savings, investments and supporting children which makes this lifestyle unsustainable. Even with affordable housing opportunities in these new properties, how will local residents prepare to meet the qualifications?

Truth be told, by the time most of us are aware of these shifts LA City Planning had already made an approval. So how can we as a community become more knowledgeable and break down these barriers? How do we embrace these changes? The only real answer is to make the intentional effort to educate ourselves on the public info that’s not publicized in our day to day outlets.

The website for Los Angeles City Planning has many pdf resources for city plans, projects, services and zoning laws. You can find thorough presentations on those topics here.

The Los Angeles Office of the City Clerk posts live recordings of city council meetings on their youtube @LACityClerk. They cover topics from administrative proceedings to economic development initiatives; it’s a bit lengthy but worth the time if you’re really passionate about the trajectory of the city we all love and call home and maintaining the cultural richness our communities hold.

More references

Progression:  the idea that the value of a home increases when other, more valuable homes are built in the area. The value of the community will increase when they are surrounded with other high value construction.

Gentrification: a process of urban development in which a neighborhood develops rapidly over a short time, changing from low to high value. It’s caused by rapid job growth, tight housing markets, preference for city amenities, increased traffic congestion and in our case Transit Oriented Communities. It’s known to have both benefits and drawbacks; with increased curb appeal social issues and  residents displaced by rising rents and living costs brought about by the changes..