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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2007, 9:19 PM
dragonsky dragonsky is offline
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Exclamation DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES: News and Updates

Compromise considered in 'air rights' sale dispute
From Times Staff and Wire Reports
March 24, 2007

City officials were weighing a compromise Friday to settle a dispute between Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Councilwoman Jan Perry over a plan to promote downtown development.

Villaraigosa and Perry, who represents much of downtown, have quarreled over the mayor's demand for authority to approve or reject decisions on projects downtown tied to the council's proposed sale of "air rights."

Earlier this week, Villaraigosa vetoed the council's plan to sell the rights to 9 million square feet of unused space above the Convention Center, saying it would not give him adequate oversight over new projects.

Perry wanted colleagues to override the veto, but the council Friday delayed a decision until April 3, giving the two sides time to resolve their differences.
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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2007, 2:21 AM
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How exactly do air rights works?
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Old Posted Mar 25, 2007, 6:36 PM
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This isn't about DT per se, but since it indirectly affects that hood, & since there's no other thread in the CA forum that would be any better, I'll slot it in here:


National Perspectives
Northeast Los Angeles: Set for a Close-Up


THE OTHER SIDE—As home prices have risen, buyers have migrated to a group of neighborhoods known as
Northeast Los Angeles, or NELA, from which offer views of the downtown skyline. [J. Emilio Flores for The
New York Times]


By LISA CHAMBERLAIN
New York Times
March 25, 2007

LOS ANGELES

A PSYCHOLOGICAL barrier still exists among home buyers here. Downtown is the center of an east-west divide, with the established and famous Hollywood Hills the hub of desirability to the west. To the east, there is a historic hilly area. If Angelenos know about it at all, they generally consider it a less attractive part of town.

But as real estate prices have risen over the last five years, home buyers have been migrating east to discover a group of neighborhoods known collectively as Northeast Los Angeles, or NELA. They are enticed by Victorian homes dating back to the 1890s, Craftsman and Mission Revival homes from the turn of the 20th century and newly desirable midcentury homes, designed with an orientation toward the outdoors.

Eagle Rock, Mount Washington and Highland Park — with a total population of 82,000, according to the 2000 census — are three of the better-known NELA neighborhoods. They are all within Los Angeles proper, in the northeast hills, which were first settled in the late 1800s. And despite rising prices, most houses there are still relatively affordable compared with similar homes in West Los Angeles.

“A $450,000 house in NELA would cost $750,000 in West Los Angeles,” said Bob Taylor, founder of Bob Taylor Properties, who has been a broker in NELA for 27 years. “And it only takes 15 minutes to get downtown from here. In West Los Angeles, it could take 30 minutes or more.” Creative types who work in the film and television industry enjoy close proximity to major studios, like Warner Brothers and Universal. And then there are the views.

“The sunsets are absolutely spectacular,” said David Spancer, who with his wife, Apryl Lundsten, fell in love with a midcentury modern home that sits high in the hills of Eagle Rock. Their 2,100-square-foot house with three bedrooms and two and a half baths cost $495,000 in 2003. Built in 1966, the house still has much of its original detailing, as well as a built-in bar and stools, a barbecue and rotisserie, and a large old-fashioned Chambers refrigerator.

But the real treat is a 1,500-square-foot west-facing balcony that runs the length of the house, offering views from the Pacific Ocean to the Hollywood Hills on a clear day. “And most of my work is at Universal Studios, which is only a 20-minute drive,” Mr. Spancer said.

Mr. Spancer is a script coordinator, while Ms. Lundsten is a longtime radio journalist who recently started a podcasting business, L.A. PodSquad. Along with commercial work, she and a business partner produce a regular podcast called “Eagle Rock Talk,” featuring many of the neighborhood’s new business owners. “It’s nice to be part of a community that’s coming alive,” she said while giving a tour of the commercial district, where a smattering of cafes, restaurants and boutiques have opened to meet the demand of new homeowners in the area.


SHOW STEALER—Residents of Northeast Los Angeles enjoy vistas of Mount Washington, which could be
mistaken for Tuscany. The view is from the home of Shannon Bedell, a local boutique owner.


Blue Heeler Imports is one such boutique, opened by Shannon Bedell, who lives in Mount Washington. Ms. Bedell did well during the Internet boom, and she was able to buy her Mount Washington home in 1999 for $375,000, along with two lots next door for an additional $80,000. Having lived in Australia for a bit, Ms. Bedell decided to open a boutique featuring Australian products. “I looked for eight months all over West Los Angeles for a retail space, but I finally decided that Eagle Rock was an up-and-coming commercial district,” she said. “I’ve definitely noticed an influx of industry people shopping at my store, and it feels good to invest in my own community.”

Not to mention that it is a much easier commute from Ms. Bedell’s 1,500-square-foot two-bedroom Spanish Mission-style home, built in the 1930s, which she shares with Shawn Bishop, a photographer with an easier commute — to the second bedroom, where he keeps his photo lab and office. But again, it is the outdoor space that steals the show. Ms. Bedell’s 1,200-square-foot split-level balcony — reached from different parts of the house by French doors and shaded by old-growth trees — overlooks the hills of Mount Washington, which could be mistaken for Tuscany.

Community activists credit a strong historic preservation movement for stabilizing NELA, especially in the 1970s, when Highland Park — which sits between Mount Washington and Eagle Rock — began to experience gang problems and disinvestment.

Charles J. Fisher, a historian who grew up in Mount Washington, married in the early 1980s and moved into a Craftsman home built in 1908 in Highland Park. He immediately noticed that because the area had high-density zoning, developers were buying historical Craftsman and Mission Revival homes, tearing them down and building cheap apartment buildings.


Homes on Mount Washington.

With some other concerned residents, Mr. Fisher founded the Highland Park Heritage Trust, which succeeded in getting a historic-preservation overlay zone for much of Highland Park in 1994. The city planning department has instituted an approval process for modifying historic homes in the zone. But it wasn’t until the more recent real estate boom that people from outside the area began to discover the housing stock.

“The overlay literally ground the crazy development to a halt,” Mr. Fisher said. “But what’s been happening now, people are moving into the homes and fixing them up. At the time we were fighting for the historic overlay, the real estate market was in a slump. Our biggest ally was the poor economy, when there wasn’t a building boom going on. Otherwise, there would have been a lot more opposition from developers. So when the real estate values skyrocketed more recently, developers went looking elsewhere. We got lucky.”

That is not to say that prices have not risen. For the ZIP code 90041 (Eagle Rock), the highest and lowest prices paid this year were $1.2 million and $400,000, with a median of $579,500, according to Multiple Listing Service figures provided by Mr. Taylor. In 2001, that ZIP code’s median was $246,000. Even in Highland Park, which is thought of more as an entry-level home buyer’s market, prices have gone up considerably. For its ZIP code, 90042, the highest price paid this year was $655,000 and the lowest $366,000, with a median of $487,500. In 2001, the median was $182,000.

But housing costs still seem reasonable, compared with those of West Los Angeles. And some west-Angeleno types are moving in. Mr. Taylor said he recently sold a 3,000-square-foot Craftsman home on a hill and surrounded by 18,000 square feet of land, with a guest apartment over a three-car garage, for $849,000 to an actress whom he asked, for privacy reasons, not to identify.

“You still don’t see too many recognizable actresses looking in Highland Park,” Mr. Taylor said. “But that house on that much land would be a couple million in West Los Angeles. And you probably wouldn’t get the views.”


NELA resident Apryl Lundsten on her terrace.


Residents include Shannon Bedell and Shawn Bishop.
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  #4  
Old Posted Mar 25, 2007, 7:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocman View Post
How exactly do air rights works?
hey ocman, this is not my field and i did no fact checking, but...

as i understand it; all parts of the city are zoned for a certain density, a certain number square feet of floor space per square mile of dirt. the land under the convention center is zoned for as much density as the library tower, but is only three stories tall. other areas are zoned for much less, but would be a good place to put up a tall building. by trading the floor space not being used on the "fourth to seventy-third floors" of the convention center, for that much space on blocks only zoned for ten floors, the city can increase residential density without going through the agonizingly political process of rezoning parts of the city. this is a common mechanism used in other large cities. i would have thought LA could get much more per square feet than the $20 per mentioned, but what do i know...
hth
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  #5  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2007, 9:46 PM
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I actually know very little about NELA and hope to explore it more sometime...

"That said," I feel another all-day urban excursion on the horizon...
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  #6  
Old Posted Mar 27, 2007, 10:43 PM
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NELA Definitely looks like an area worth exploring - I've been around there on random occasions, but not extensively. That said, an all day urban adventure is most definitely in order - those are always lots of fun
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  #7  
Old Posted Mar 28, 2007, 10:04 PM
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NELA is where I call home.

Highland Park, Eagle Rock, and Mount Washington is where I've spent most of my life. I love how the homes here have lots of trees and the traffic isn't so bad compared to the (overrated) west side.
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Old Posted Mar 31, 2007, 2:34 AM
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Has downtown L.A. finally arrived?
The district's revival appears to be picking up steam as national chains seek store sites to serve the growing residential population.
By Cara Mia DiMassa, Times Staff Writer
March 30, 2007



The construction cranes that are roosting all over downtown these days are one thing. But the real hints that the neighborhood is changing come in more subtle forms — such as the tours Derrick Moore has been giving around downtown recently.

Moore, a senior associate in CB Richard Ellis' Urban Development Group, has been helping representatives from national chain stores such as Walgreen's and the Outback Steakhouse group — who have long shied away from downtown — search for properties in the area. He has wined and dined potential retailers at local hotspots — and found their reaction a distinct shift from even a few months ago, when most took a wait-and-see attitude toward the neighborhood.

What has changed, downtown backers say, is how the burgeoning neighborhood is being perceived. After years of being not quite there, retailers seem to think that the area has reached — or is near reaching — a tipping point.

Residents have moved in, with the population now at 30,000. Some of downtown's long-anticipated, large-scale projects — including a supermarket and a movie theater — are only months from opening.

It's this trend that is behind much of the debate over the city's proposal to sell the air rights above the Los Angeles Convention Center, allowing developers to build larger and denser residential buildings downtown.

Because the Convention Center was originally zoned for towers, the city wants to sell the unused airspace as a way of boosting development elsewhere in downtown beyond what current zoning laws allow.

Backers argue that selling air rights would boost downtown's residential population even more. The more residents downtown can lure, the thinking goes, the larger the market for upscale retail. Until now, retail development has lagged behind residential development, with some merchants waiting to see whether the downtown boom is for real.

Questions about downtown's future have heightened with the recent cooling of Southern California's real estate market. But downtown so far doesn't appear to be suffering much, and there are growing signs that retail is actually strengthening.

Bars and restaurants are opening at a fast clip in the area, and big-name chefs are signing leases on spaces downtown — especially along a stretch of 7th Street that has been the symbol of downtown's tangled history as a retail destination.

Retail sales in downtown ZIP Codes have been rising steadily since the late 1990s, according to the California Board of Equalization. In fiscal year 2005-06, the last year for which statistics are available, retail sales totaled $1.7 billion — up 7% from the year before.

Still, there are concerns about how the downtown area will do on weekends and evenings, the make-or-break time for many of the new businesses. Parking and transportation around the urban center also could become concerns, because many of the lots used by businesses are unavailable or could be too pricey for evening and weekend use.

And many say the area cannot reach its full potential until certain neighborhood amenities are in place.

"You are at a point where there's a critical mass down here now, in terms of the residential component," said Andrew Myron, owner of the Edison club and lounge. "You are going to reach a point where more people won't move downtown unless you have the amenities downtown."

In the decades before World War II, downtown was a retail destination. But after World War II, the rise of the suburbs — and the shopping malls that came with them — began the steep decline of downtown's retail core.

Though downtown continued to be a destination for office workers, the area had little success as a retail center. And even after the passage several years ago of an ordinance that enabled developers to convert long-vacant historic buildings into residential loft spaces, retail continued to falter.

Downtown leaders at the time decided to concentrate on bringing housing to the area first, figuring that retail might follow the new residents. And it did, to a point. Bars and art galleries began to dot the neighborhood.

Those businesses, developer and entrepreneur Cedd Moses said, "were the first people willing to take a chance. I think restaurants have a much tougher business model. It's harder for them to survive than a bar or art gallery; the overhead is substantially higher."

The historical conversions, along with the construction of several residential high-rises, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Walt Disney Concert Hall and two mega-projects in the works — L.A. Live near Staples Center and Grand Avenue on Bunker Hill — have meant that "the world has changed," said Hal Bastian, senior vice president and director of economic development for the Downtown L.A. Business Improvement District.

According to Bastian's group, there are nearly 30,000 people living downtown — up sharply from just a few years ago. With 7,500 units under construction, the downtown population could rise to more than 40,000 by the end of next year.

Many new downtown residents are young with a lot of disposable income, according to the recent survey. And many are college students — a particularly desirable demographic for retailers, several analysts said.

Bastian said he can barely keep up with the interest in downtown. Much of his work centers around efforts to create an active nightlife along 7th Street, modeled after the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Old Pasadena and Memphis' Beale Street.

Several prominent L.A. restaurants, including Chaya Brasserie, have signed on to open eateries along 7th Street. Peet's Coffee & Tea and Caffe Primo also have scouted the area.

Moses, who opened the Golden Gopher and Broadway Bar, two popular downtown nightspots, is involved in several new projects downtown, including a bar and a French brasserie along 7th.

The 7th Street effort represents just one part of what's going on downtown, said Bert Green, a downtown resident and the owner of Bert Green Fine Art at 5th and Main streets. "Downtown is no longer one concept," he said. "It has changed; it has become a series of mini- or micro-neighborhoods."

What that means, Green said, is that the kind of retail that is appropriate in, say, South Park, near the Staples Center, differs from what might be found in Little Tokyo or the Fashion District.

But Green said the Historic District, where his gallery is located, remains a "tough nut" for retail. "It's still not seeing the kind of interest from outside that all of those areas are seeing," he said.

One key test for downtown will be the role that parking plays in its evolution. Several observers said it is hard to find inexpensive, easy parking in the district — and that could harm the push for an active street life in downtown.

"First and foremost," Moore said, "we have to figure out the parking issue in downtown. We have to make parking easy for all the folks we are expecting to attract … for a reasonable amount of money."

But also, they say, downtown is still waiting for what Jack Kyser, senior vice president and chief economist of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., calls an "aha store: a store that everybody says, 'Oh my God, they are going there.' "

One possibility for that store, Kyser said, is the Ralphs Fresh Fare that will open downtown in June.

The area has long been without a supermarket, and the arrival of Ralphs — which started downtown at 6th and Spring in the late 1800s but abandoned the district in 1950 — is seen by many as a sign that the district's fortunes have returned.

"I think that the Ralphs opening is going to be the adhesive to hold it all together," Moore said of the retail renaissance. "That's what's missing."
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Old Posted Mar 31, 2007, 10:48 PM
RAlossi RAlossi is offline
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Just a couple updates / observations from my perspective while walking around today...

There's some work going on in the Chinatown/El Pueblo area on Alameda, which I *think* is a project to reconfigure north Alameda to be more pedestrian friendly and connect it to the new (temporary) park. Last I heard, the DOT is adding curbs to the area of North Alameda/Main Street/Cesar Chavez. As it is now, it's one big triangle of asphalt with no definable roadway or walkway. Also, the city is installing new reddish sidewalks around El Pueblo/Olvera Street.

Things are looking really nice now that the old fountain area has been redone to a quiet little park/"gazebo", lights have been added to the trees, and the whole Plaza has been cleaned up quite a bit since I started going Downtown a few years ago. Lots of tourists pouring out of Union Station and spending time (and money) at Olvera Street while waiting for their Amtrak connection...

In Little Tokyo, several buildings are undergoing some small renovations. The New Otani Hotel (previously mentioned by another poster here) received a paint job and some updated lighting on the 2nd Street side. In Weller Court, Marukai Market has completed its move to the north side of the building, to a more updated, larger space. The previous space is being converted into some type of office space or bank as far as I could tell. Curry House To-Go has added Saturday hours when previously it was only a Monday-Friday thing. The general condition of Weller Court is not good, however -- so I really hope that the owner (New Otani?) will pour some significant money into it and/or retrofit it entirely. There's an office building at the northeastern block of First/San Pedro that has undergone some cosmetic updating.

Pinkberry is coming to the Cultural Village Plaza, and the Teramachi Senior Housing complex is almost ready for move-ins if they haven't started already. The entire district feels a lot cleaner and more friendly compared to several years ago. Central Avenue between First and Second is pretty nice, especially with the Hikari open now. Lots of cool clothing shops are open on Second Street.

There were lots of people milling about the Financial District, but many stores are closed on the weekends. This is something that's got to start changing for there to be progress in the area, IMO.

I'm really glad to hear of the significant push to make 7th Street a "restaurant row" for Downtown. I didn't get a chance to check out the area aside from between Figueroa and Grand, but the Roosevelt's retail will add a lot. Before it seemed a bit worn out. I wasn't even approached by anyone asking me for money, though a homeless guy who seemed to be on drugs kept calling me and my boyfriend faggots and other nasty comments...

The mall at City National Plaza (505 Flower?) was really creepy. The lights were on but there was no one home. Muzak in a completely empty mall with all the stores closed was weird. The 24 Hour Fitness was open, but not very full... This is all in direct contrast to Macy's Plaza, which was pretty active.

I'm not really going to comment on South Park since it's been talked about on here so much, but I will say that I'm really impressed with the overall feeling of progress I get when I'm there. Grand Hope Park had a lot of families, though I do wish the owner of the park (is it the city?) would remove the fence around the perimeter.

Sorry, but I didn't bring my camera with me! ::ashamed::
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  #10  
Old Posted Apr 1, 2007, 2:48 AM
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LongBeachUrbanist LongBeachUrbanist is offline
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I'll add a coupla things:

I saw some people sweeping out one of the retail spaces in the Mandell Lofts. They were not construction types: hopefully they are tenants preparing their space for whatever.

Arda's Cafe on Sixth had free coffee and waffles this morning for their first Saturday being open. (Until now they were only open on weekdays.) The place was packed, and it looked like plenty of those people (including myself) were willing to pay for their food, and not just get the free stuff. All in all, a promising sign.

BTW, Downtown L.A. was positively bustling this morning. It wasn't too long ago that the City would be deserted at 10am Saturday morning. Not anymore!
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Old Posted Apr 1, 2007, 2:50 AM
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I was in Montreal this week, and saw a city that has seen good times as well as bad. Here are some key ideas that my Montreal visit reinforced for me:

* Pick some streets to focus retail on. IOW, don't act like all streets are created equal. Focused retail development is more impressive and accessible to the pedestrian.

* A well-planned metro system is critical to opening up areas to wandering shoppers. Metro stations should be focal points of activity (including retail). Also, they should be tied to major pedestrian thoroughfares (Wilshire anyone?).

* Create a uniform streetwall, i.e., enough with the plazas already!!! Rather than having private plazas, create public walkways and some small parks.

* Encourage new development in the historic districts. I found some great modern architecture tucked among long rows of classic buildings. IMO, it's important for an area to be busy, even if you lose a bit of heritage. Nothing's worse than a architectural graveyard.

* Every neighborhood needs to have schools and churches. They help families plant roots, and therefore work to stabilize the population of the area.
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Old Posted Apr 1, 2007, 4:03 PM
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Originally Posted by RAlossi View Post

There's some work going on in the Chinatown/El Pueblo area on Alameda, which I *think* is a project to reconfigure north Alameda to be more pedestrian friendly and connect it to the new (temporary) park. Last I heard, the DOT is adding curbs to the area of North Alameda/Main Street/Cesar Chavez. As it is now, it's one big triangle of asphalt with no definable roadway or walkway. Also, the city is installing new reddish sidewalks around El Pueblo/Olvera Street.

I recall seeing a photo posted here of the Calif Endowment bldg on Alameda, a bit north of Union Station, before it was completed late last yr. The area looked bad because of all the wires, esp in front of the new bldg. Good news: that mess finally was removed over the past yr or so, from around the fwy north to the CE bldg.
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2007, 3:01 AM
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More to add

Quote:
Originally Posted by RAlossi View Post
Just a couple updates / observations from my perspective while walking around today...

There's some work going on in the Chinatown/El Pueblo area on Alameda, which I *think* is a project to reconfigure north Alameda to be more pedestrian friendly and connect it to the new (temporary) park. Last I heard, the DOT is adding curbs to the area of North Alameda/Main Street/Cesar Chavez. As it is now, it's one big triangle of asphalt with no definable roadway or walkway. Also, the city is installing new reddish sidewalks around El Pueblo/Olvera Street.

Things are looking really nice now that the old fountain area has been redone to a quiet little park/"gazebo", lights have been added to the trees, and the whole Plaza has been cleaned up quite a bit since I started going Downtown a few years ago. Lots of tourists pouring out of Union Station and spending time (and money) at Olvera Street while waiting for their Amtrak connection...

In Little Tokyo, several buildings are undergoing some small renovations. The New Otani Hotel (previously mentioned by another poster here) received a paint job and some updated lighting on the 2nd Street side. In Weller Court, Marukai Market has completed its move to the north side of the building, to a more updated, larger space. The previous space is being converted into some type of office space or bank as far as I could tell. Curry House To-Go has added Saturday hours when previously it was only a Monday-Friday thing. The general condition of Weller Court is not good, however -- so I really hope that the owner (New Otani?) will pour some significant money into it and/or retrofit it entirely. There's an office building at the northeastern block of First/San Pedro that has undergone some cosmetic updating.

Pinkberry is coming to the Cultural Village Plaza, and the Teramachi Senior Housing complex is almost ready for move-ins if they haven't started already. The entire district feels a lot cleaner and more friendly compared to several years ago. Central Avenue between First and Second is pretty nice, especially with the Hikari open now. Lots of cool clothing shops are open on Second Street.

There were lots of people milling about the Financial District, but many stores are closed on the weekends. This is something that's got to start changing for there to be progress in the area, IMO.

I'm really glad to hear of the significant push to make 7th Street a "restaurant row" for Downtown. I didn't get a chance to check out the area aside from between Figueroa and Grand, but the Roosevelt's retail will add a lot. Before it seemed a bit worn out. I wasn't even approached by anyone asking me for money, though a homeless guy who seemed to be on drugs kept calling me and my boyfriend faggots and other nasty comments...

The mall at City National Plaza (505 Flower?) was really creepy. The lights were on but there was no one home. Muzak in a completely empty mall with all the stores closed was weird. The 24 Hour Fitness was open, but not very full... This is all in direct contrast to Macy's Plaza, which was pretty active.

I'm not really going to comment on South Park since it's been talked about on here so much, but I will say that I'm really impressed with the overall feeling of progress I get when I'm there. Grand Hope Park had a lot of families, though I do wish the owner of the park (is it the city?) would remove the fence around the perimeter.

Sorry, but I didn't bring my camera with me! ::ashamed::
Very interesting observations. I might add a couple myself. As a new part time resident, I am so impressed with what is being accomplished and under impressed with what is not.

On the positive side...there is so much going on that will change the look of downtown for years to come. By the end of the year, we will hopefully see a real shift lack of street traffic (walking).

Today I took the Red Line to the Hollywood Farmers Market on Ivar. What a great market. It is so easy to get to from downtown. Then I stopped at the Standard Downtown for some pancakes..they were great...almost on par with Dupars.

On the negative side...most of the people walking downtown were either mentally ill or on drugs. A couple of people were so bad off I wanted to call the City to get them some help. They do not belong on the streets. They need some medication and hospitalization. What kind of society are we to allow this?

Also, I think the Downtown BID needs to clean the sidewalks...so many ugly, stained sidewalks. Get a water pressure hose or a sandblaster to clean these up. I am referring mostly to streets south of 7th and east of Hope.

The other item is what I find in Europe. Take Paris for example. Lots of Tree lined streets (Plane Trees mostly) and flowers. Downtown needs more grass and flowers. With our great weather, we should have a "park district". I know the Fashion District and South Park are going to start some major landscaping in the next few months, but we need so much more. The Ficus Trees are along the streets are nice and green, but so many need to be trimmed and many replaced with more street friendly trees.

I read recently that the triangle near Angelique Cafe is going to be landscaped...bravo. We need more landscaped medians!

In a few years, I believe Downtown will be a completely different area. We need to pressure businesses to do their part (tables, chairs, flowers). We need to support those businesses who are responsible. the "Globe" theatre is an example of a bad business...they renovate the theatre...but the part you see on Broadway is sadly in disrepair. Do you agree????
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2007, 4:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Carioca View Post
hey ocman, this is not my field and i did no fact checking, but...

as i understand it; all parts of the city are zoned for a certain density, a certain number square feet of floor space per square mile of dirt. the land under the convention center is zoned for as much density as the library tower, but is only three stories tall. other areas are zoned for much less, but would be a good place to put up a tall building. by trading the floor space not being used on the "fourth to seventy-third floors" of the convention center, for that much space on blocks only zoned for ten floors, the city can increase residential density without going through the agonizingly political process of rezoning parts of the city. this is a common mechanism used in other large cities. i would have thought LA could get much more per square feet than the $20 per mentioned, but what do i know...
hth
Strange. Sounds like a loophole in zoning laws.
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2007, 6:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LongBeachUrbanist View Post
Arda's Cafe on Sixth had free coffee and waffles this morning for their first Saturday being open. (Until now they were only open on weekdays.) The place was packed, and it looked like plenty of those people (including myself) were willing to pay for their food, and not just get the free stuff. All in all, a promising sign.
What time were you there? I had waffles and a frittata (paid for - and well worth it) at about 9:10, leaving by 9:40. Even at the opening hour, most of the seats were full, and by the time I left, it was nearing standing room only. The best part was seeing some people who didn't know about it previously stumble upon it while walking their dogs, and stop for a bite.
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Old Posted Apr 2, 2007, 10:45 PM
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^^ I was in Downtown from around 10am to noon. I was at Arda's around 11am.

I had the egg+bacon sandwich on baguette, with fresh-squeezed orange juice. Yum!
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2007, 6:43 AM
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This weekend I noticed the "For Lease" sign on the large retail space of the 617 West 7th Street building is gone. Last I read, Bo Concept and Walgreens were in a bidding war over it, so I'm guessing the space is finally off the market. I'm hoping for Bo Concept b/c RiteAID is already across the street. Can anyone shed some light?
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2007, 7:18 AM
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is that the space with the big windows? i think that they were going to divide that space into multiple spots, so maybe both will be there? when i went to the Roosevelt office recently, the sales lady told me that there were a few things coming in there soon. Hopefully it will be Bo, Walgreens and something else as well.
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Old Posted Apr 4, 2007, 7:19 PM
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BoConcept would be perfect for that space. Walgreens might not make it with Rite Aid literally across the street. Or one of them wouldn't make it, at least.
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Old Posted Apr 5, 2007, 2:12 AM
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L.A. mayor gets a say in sale of building rights
The City Council decides to amend the measure, which the mayor had vetoed, rather than force a showdown as they head into budget talks.
By Steve Hymon, Times Staff Writer
April 4, 2007

In a compromise designed to appease Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the City Council on Tuesday took the first step toward revising a law giving downtown developers a way to increase the size of their buildings.

The mayor vetoed the law last month, and the maneuver by the 15-member council on Tuesday allows them to avoid, for now, attempting to garner the 10 votes needed to override the veto.

"At this point, I don't think an override is necessary, but the door is still open," said Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes much of downtown and would benefit from the new law.

The so-called air rights law would allow the city to sell 9 million square feet of theoretical space over the two- and three-story Los Angeles Convention Center because city zoning laws would have allowed it to be much taller.

For example, a developer that under city zoning laws could build a 13-story building could buy the rights to enough extra square feet to make it taller.

Money from such sales — potentially totaling $200 million over many years — would go into a fund for downtown improvements such as affordable housing, public transit and parks.

A law allowing for such transfers had been on the books for years but was cumbersome and rarely used. So in March the council passed a new version designed to expedite the process.

But Villaraigosa vetoed it, saying the law didn't give him any say in such sales.

The city attorney sided with the council, saying that it doesn't have to share its quasi-judicial powers over land-use issues with the mayor, and that set the stage for a possible veto attempt.

Nonetheless, the council amended the law Tuesday by a vote of 13-0 rather than pick a fight with the mayor on the eve of delicate budget negotiations that will begin later this month.

"The process worked as it should. The mayor supports the policy," said Matt Szabo, a mayoral press secretary.

Under the new version of the law, the mayor could reject any transfer of air rights that has been approved by the council. On the other hand, the mayor could not revive a transfer that the council had rejected.

Real estate developers are a reliable source of campaign funds for politicians in the city. In that vein, the new ordinance allows both the mayor and council members to have a say over potential air rights purchases from potential campaign donors.

The council is expected to pass the amended ordinance today.

The revision was supported by the Downtown Neighborhood Council.

Carol Schatz, president of the Central City Assn., implored the City Council to act soon.

"We have developers — not many, but some — who are very interested in using this mechanism to go higher in that part of the city that wants density," Schatz said. "We want to be able to use it while we still have a market interested in building."

The council also approved a motion by Councilman Jose Huizar to expand the area where money raised by air-rights sales could be spent and what it could be spent on. Currently the funds must be spent within two miles of projects that purchase air rights. Huizar proposed making it three miles. He represents the eastern half of downtown, and a three-mile limit would make more parts of his district eligible.
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