Areas of South Los Angeles will be receiving a badly needed facelift. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, flanked by City Council members Bernard Parks (Eighth District), Jan Perry (Ninth District), Herb Wesson (Tenth District) and Janice Hahn (Fifteenth District), announced that the South Los Angeles Initiatives will increase affordable housing, improve and expand retail opportunities, create new jobs, and improve the education system.
“Today, united City Hall unveils a comprehensive agenda for how we can turn around South Los Angeles, project by project,” Villaraigosa said. “This five year strategic plan sets the bar high. It sets clear targets and measures for the progress of projects in ten initiative areas that will make our communities stronger. Every initiative has goals and timetables, with people specifically assigned to and responsible for meeting these initiatives. From creating good jobs and better housing to improving business and quality of life. The Council and I believe that we can no longer sit back in this time of hardship and we’re ready to push through together.”
Unemployment among African Americans in South Los Angeles is near 11%. To address that problem the South Los Angeles Initiatives proposes new business developments. Construction positions will be open to African Americans to build these new developments, and new jobs will be available in the new retail stores.
The Wattstar Theatre is one of the proposed developments, which would bring a four-screen movie theater to the Watts. The development will also have on site training for residents who desire to have careers in the entertainment industries.
The initiative has a goal to move low-wage, low-skill workers into living wage jobs by increasing educational, workforce training, and placement opportunities for South Los Angeles residents, while meeting the needs of the Los Angeles Business Community.
The First Source Hiring Ordinance will be utilized. The ordinance covers Los Angeles City personal service contracts to connect South Los Angeles residents to Los Angeles City contractor’s jobs.
Los Angeles City Works will continue to expand departmental hiring opportunities with a focus on South Los Angeles residents, through entry-level vocational worker programs in all departments.
The initiatives will support demand-driven workforce training programs that connect South Los Angeles residents to living wage jobs with career paths, especially in health care, construction, utilities, financial services, logistics, entertainment, and hospitality.
The range of summer job opportunities for youth will be expanded, as well as after school training programs.
Other developments include: Midtown Crossing, a retail center at Pico and San Vicente. Crenshaw Gateway, a mixed-use project at Adams and Crenshaw. Martin Luther King, Jr. Shopping Center, a 100,000 square foot shopping center at 103rd St. and Grand Ave. Broadway/Manchester, a 19,000 square foot shopping center at Broadway and Manchester. Vermont/Manchester Shopping Center, a proposed 100,000 square foot shopping center at 84th Street and Vermont Avenue. Improve the Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw Mall. Figueroa Corridor. From the Santa Monica Freeway to King Boulevard, there will be mixed use projects. Vermont Corridor. From the Santa Monica Freeway to King Boulevard, there will be mixed use projects. Central Village, a 46,000 square foot retail center at 2000 S. Central Avenue. Slauson Central Retail Plaza, an 80,000 square foot retail center. Hoover/Manchester (Bethany Square). New construction of a mixed-use commercial/residential project consisting of five sites along Hoover Street and Manchester Avenue. 54th/Crenshaw. New construction of mixed-use project with approximately 150 residential condominiums above approximately 18,000 square of ground floor retail.
Marlton Square is included in the in the South Los Angeles Initiatives, but at press time the project is on hold. Lee Homes and Chris Hammons are still going through litigations to determine the future of the property.
Councilman Parks has directed the Community Reinvestment Assistance Group (CRA) to use $26 million to purchase portions of the property.
“We hope that the $26 million will allow us to purchase the property, give us site control, and bring this to a conclusion,” Parks said.
Parks points out that if they do not have site control, another group could purchase the property, which would mean a new developer, and the problem could start all over again.