Two weeks ago, I attended my first South Central Neighborhood Council meeting. The most prominent agenda item was a discussion about the Reef “SoLA Village” which is a project that if approved, will dramatically change the landscape of the area. This project will add 3 high-rises to the block between Broadway Ave, Main Ave, Washington Blvd and 21st St in Los Angeles.
According to The Reef representatives, this huge project will have apartments, condominiums, a hotel, a gym/yoga studio and a 30,000 square-foot grocery store. In addition, the complex will have 40,000 square-feet for restaurants and bars and 55,000 square-feet of retail space.
It’s huge, isn’t it? It is huge for South Central standards. It seems to be a great project for the community, lots of jobs and a commercial complex where locals could go to find lots of options for entertainment. The lot where it will be built won’t be vacant any more, it will bring life to the area.
Wait! Is it really for our community?
At the meeting, the Reef representative could not say how much the condos will sell for or how much would be the monthly rent for the apartments. He did mentioned that they want to build something similar to what has been built in downtown LA. Does this mean that the monthly rent will be similar to those lofts and apartments in Downtown LA? If that is the case then most likely South Central residents won’t be able to afford living in this complex. The MHI is too low in the area, where a big percentage of families live on the limits of the poverty line.
Let’s take a look at some data:
- Historic South Central ranks 249 out of 272 Los Angeles neighborhoods for Median Household Income (LATIMES)
- The Median Household Income for Historic South Central $30,882 – ranked # 249
- The Median Household Income for Bel-Air is $207,938 – ranked # 1
Graphic – Credit city-data.com
According to the Reef representatives, this complex will create thousands of new jobs, the concern here is about the types of jobs that will be created. Hotel and Restaurant jobs are in the low pay range, which means that they only help perpetuate low income levels for this community. Having jobs is nice, but those jobs will only help maintain people near the poverty line
This is what I see:
- Apartments and Condos – inaccessible for the local residents, high rent, no affordable housing for students.
- Restaurants and Shops – do not fit the profile of the community – residents will only walk by, unable to pay for the amenities/restaurants in the complex.
- Grocery Store – 30,000 sq ft – most likely not for low income families.
This complex seems to fit more into the new Downtown rather than South Central. Saying that the profile of this community doesn’t fit the profile of this complex doesn’t mean that I’m ok with it, it only means that I wish I could improve it. I don’t like it the way it is, we are very hardworking people, family oriented, we need more opportunities to improve our quality of life.
Having this complex in South Central is nice. But, is this all we can do? What could be other solutions? Let’s work together to close the gap.
Graphic: credit LATIMES