Rusting bars and locks depicts the deteriorating condition of what was once a thriving business area of Marlton Square and Buckingham Place.Â Â Â Marlton Square is Deteriorating Rapidly
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Staff Writer
Marlton Square and Buckingham Place are still rotting away. Driving through the parking lot is like driving through a ghost town where only a few inhabitants stayed behind.
Most of the businesses are closed down with locked gates. There are very few cars parked in the lot. Many of the buildings are run down, and some areas look like a junkyard.
Looking around there are no signs of improvement in sight.
The Matron Square and Buckingham Place saga is far from over, but according to Carolyn Hull of the Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles (CRA/LA), they are as close as they have ever been.
Funding has been one of many stumbling blocks for redeveloping Marlton Square and Buckingham Place. South Los Angeles does not get as much funding as other areas of the city.
A comparison of redevelopment budgets for 2009 shows that Hollywood has a budget of $192,627,000. Downtown has a budget of $112,401,200. The East Valley's budget is $89,569,100. South Los Angeles has a budget of only $29,996,200.
There are seven project areas in South Los Angeles, each with their own budget. The Crenshaw project area has a budget of only about $500,000, which is not nearly enough for a project as large as Marlton Square.
The CRA/LA has a plan to merge all seven redevelopment projects, which they believe will produce more funding.
By merging the projects on paper into one project area, which does not expand the territory in any way, they can expand the financial capabilities by at least $14-$16,000,000.
The CRA/LA has already purchased some of the property in the Crenshaw project area, and the area is one of the top priorities for redevelopment.
The redevelopment plans calls for retail stores, condominiums, single-family housing, and senior housing.
This project has been years in the making, with many major controversies that has allowed this site to rot away. Namely Chris Hammond, owner of Capital Vision Equities, who brought in several partners, including Pacific Retail Trust, LNR Properties, football star Keyshawn Johnson, and Lee Homes. Each of these partners for various reasons came into the deal, then left, only to be replaced with another partner.
Hopefully this new plan will be the right path to getting rid of the eyes that Marlton Square and Buckingham Place have become, and give the residents of the Crenshaw district another nice place to shop, socialize, and live.