Downtown Streetcar Update: Residents Will Vote on Tax…

So far the Downtown Streetcar project has secured $11 million and is seeking $50 million from the federal government.  The remaining $64 million will be voted on in an upcoming November mail-in ballot, that will determine if tax payers are going to be picking up the tab.

If the voters pass the assessment, business owners would be taxed based on their properties proximity to the streetcar line, as well as their parcel size.  Taxes are expected to be $.45 cents a square foot for properties located along the streetcar route, $.32 cents for properties one to two blocks away, and $.16 cents for 3 blocks away.  Curbed LA shows an example of the tax,  “…At the likely bond rate of 5 percent, a 10,000 square foot parcel directly on the streetcar line would pay $4,940 a year. That size property one to two blocks away would pay $3,460 and $1,730 if located three blocks away.”  Condo owners would be taxed based on a different schedule.

The streetcar route will travel from LA Live, up Figueroa, across Seventh, north on Hill, east on First, south on Broadway; then west on Eleventh and back to LA Live. Due to the fact that public properties can’t be taxed, along with other budget issues, officials have decided to cut out the portion of the streetcar route that would bring riders to Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Music Center.

By establishing a Streetcar in other cities such as Portland and Seattle, locals communities have seen an increase in development and investment around the streetcars path. Many downtown investors and developers have been eyeing parcels that may benefit from the proposed streetcar, however, we will have to wait to see what the voters say in November to get any sort of confirmation.

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LA Downtown News Releases Updated Info On 70 Downtown Projects…

The Los Angeles Downtown News has just released their updated report with the latest information on 70 downtown Los Angeles real estate projects.  As the article mentions, the recovery appears to be underway in downtown, as many stalled projects are moving forward or have recently opened, and new projects have been announced.

Click here to view article

Photo: Developer Linear City plans to break ground in April on a renovation and residential conversion of the former Metropolitan Water District headquarters building at 1111 Sunset Blvd

Bringing Back Broadway Announces New National Retail Tenant…

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Councilmember Jose Huizar; visionary behind the Bringing Back Broadway initiative, announced today that a national retailer is moving into the historic Broadway corridor.  Ross Dress for Less will open a 39,000sf retail store in the historic Woolworth’s Department Store building, located at 725 S Broadway.  According to the Press Release, the store is expected to generate up to 50 new full and part-time jobs.

“We are looking forward to Broadway serving as home to an iconic Downtown Ross retail store…It’s fitting that the historic Woolworth’s building, which was so beloved by Angelenos in years gone by, will now provide a new retail destination for modern-day Downtown residents, workers and shoppers.” – Councilmember Huizar said in a statement.

Last month the building was purchased by Paragon Commercial Group out of El Segundo, who specializes in acquiring, developing and managing high-quality, value-add retail investments anchored by best in class, creditworthy retailers in high barrier to entry markets, according to their website.

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“Reactivating another Broadway storefront and returning this historic building to its original purpose is a significant accomplishment in the ongoing efforts of Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar’s Bringing Back Broadway. The revitalization initiative will soon celebrate the fourth anniversary of its 10-year plan aimed at the restoration and revitalization of the Historic Broadway Theatre District.” – Councilmember Huizar’s Press Release.

The grand opening is expected by early 2013.

Downtown Development Outlook 2012…

2012 should be a year of action for Downtown Los Angeles real estate; at least, we are hoping. We do know of a few key projects that should be delivered this year, including a 104,000sf Target, located at the revamped 7th & Fig retail center (opening this Fall), and the highly anticipated Grand Ave Civic Park (opening this Summer) which will cover 12 acres between Grand Ave and Spring Street, and will include a dog run, walking paths, open space and a large event lawn (Construction site pictured left)…LA’s version of Central Park?

Other Downtown projects which should make headway this year include Homer Williams Marriott Hotel development; expected to break ground in late 2012, the Broad Museum, which is under construction, and the 19-story Grand Ave apartment building, which needs to break ground by October 2012 in order to fulfill its agreement with the Grand Avenue Authority committee. The Wilshire Grand Redevelopment, which just closed its doors in December, is planning to start demolition in August for its first phase 45-story hotel and condominium tower, and of course we are hoping AEG, the developers of Farmers Field Stadium, makes progress on their plans for an NFL stadium and convention center – currently in negotiations with NFL to secure a team.

Then there are the projects that haven’t officially been announced, but are rumored to be in the planning stages and could make a presence in 12′, including the United Artist Theater, which is expected to become an Ace Hotel, the Trinity Auditorium and Hotel Clark renovations, both of which are said to be going Hotels, under the management of King & Grove Hotels, and several South Park parking lots with potential plans for hotels, multifamily apartment buildings and perhaps even condominiums.

Also, don’t forget about the Brockman building, which has been held up in escrow over title issues ever since selecting a winning bidder in August. Once title clear up, we expect those units to be hitting the market, either as high-end rental or condos.

More information can be found at: Downtown Los Angeles News

UPDATE: Downtown Streetcar Not Selected For TIGER Funding Round #2, But Still On Track For 2015 Opening…

The Downtown Los Angeles Streetcar was hoping to get $37 million of TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation, but was not chosen this year, making it the second year the Streetcar has missed out on TIGER grants for their $125 million project.  According to the Los Angeles Downtown News, there were 848 applicants and 46 projects that were awarded funding this year. Dennis Allen, who is the Executive Director of the LA Streetcar, said the project remains on track for a 2015 opening, regardless of missing out on TIGER funding.

The LA Streetcar has successfully raised $11 million in funding so far; $10 million from the CRA and $1 million in city funds. Once the project receives environmental clearance (expected end of 2012),  Allen says they will apply for up to $60 million in grant funding from the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts program. The remaining cost will be covered by other federal funding programs, with the majority most likely being raised from a special tax assessment program for area landowners, who will benefit from having the Streetcar in their neighborhood.

Reminder! Bringing Back Broadway & LAstreetcar: The Future of Your Downtown Event…

Councilmember Jose Huizar is hosting a panel discussion at the Orpheum Theatre along Broadway, on November 9th, focused on revitalizing neighborhoods downtown through the Bringing Back Broadway initiative and the LA Streetcar. This event is sure to be informative, with a panel that includes representatives from Metro, City Planning, Streetcar, CRA and an Adaptive Reuse Architect.

For more information – Click on the flyer below