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.


Exposition Light-Rail Line: Test Ride With Zev Yaroslavsky

Starting early next year, the light-rail trains will run from downtown’s 7th Street Metro Center out to La Cienega and Jefferson.  Phase 1 station in Culver City is currently under construction and Phase 2 will extend the Culver City line out to 4th & Colorado Ave in Santa Monica, making a total rail line of 15.2 miles, connecting Santa Monica to Downtown!

Here is a video of a light-rail test ride with Supervisor & Metro Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky.

Developers Submit Plans for Downtown Culver City’s “Parcel B”

The image above is of what is known as Parcel B, in downtown Culver City. The site, located at 9300 Culver Boulevard, has entitlements for a three-story, 100,000+ square foot development (40,000 square feet can be used for retail and restaurants and 74,000 square feet for office space) with room for 84 subterranean parking spaces. City officials in Culver city have been pushing to find a new developer for the property since 2009, when financing fell through for a planned development.

The Los Angeles Wave reports that over the past week,  developers vying for the project made presentations to the city council and members of the public.  The four groups who made presentations include the Tolkin Group, Runyon Partners, a joint venture between Combined Properties, Inc & Hudson Pacific Properties, and Cardiff Realty Holdings with the McDevitt Company, who exclusively represents Urban Outfitters.

The public has five more weeks to submit comments and suggestions regarding all four proposals. In November, staff will return to the council and redevelopment agency board with a recommendation for the project.

Highlights of each developers proposal:

Tolkin Group – (Proposal HERE) (Powerpoint Presentation HERE)

  • Multi-use retail, restaurant, entertainment, health fitness and creative office project.
  • Uses, alley system behind the existing buildings to form two new pedestrian walkways that would allow access to the development
  • “Washington Promenade,” on the street on the south side of the project adjacent to Culver Studios;  an interior   courtyard that would be named after Lillian Roberts, the love interest of city founder Harry Culver; and a plaza     large enough to accommodate city events such as live music and festivals
  • A sustainable “green screen” to cool offices and businesses. Incorporation of some solar design and a power             generating system on the roof

Runyon Partners – (Proposal HERE) (Powerpoint Presentation HERE)

  • Project name “Paseo” looks to the future of downtown, while also remembering the city’s history
  • Outdoor retail paseo with offices above and up to two levels of parking below; 95,000 square feet (30,000 square feet  retail, 10,000 square feet for a yoga studio and 55,000 square feet for office use)
  • Architecture references Spanish and missionary style buildings found throughout Culver City, and blends with other city buildings. Buildings would vary in height and size, clustered around around two interior pedestrian     streets, which would connect to wide courtyard areas with fountains

Combined Properties/Hudson Pacific – (Proposal HERE) (Powerpoint Presentation HERE)

  • Showcase Culver Studios and Culver Hotel; offer retail that enhances other downtown businesses; create an anchor to attract new customers to the area
  • The firm looked to The High Line in New York City and the Spanish steps in Rome for inspiration
  • 15,000 square feet of new open space including a grand stair that could be utilized as amphitheater seating for outdoor events, and an elevated plaza that is “lushly landscaped”
  • Mix of local and national retailers including Urban Outfitters, YogaWorks, Apple, Patagonia, Santa Monica Seafood, Mac Cosmetics, Cowgirl Creamery and others
  • All retail would be placed around the perimeter to engage people from Culver and Washington Boulevards
  • Creation of three retail districts along Culver and Washington Boulevard and along the side where Culver Studios sits. Each will have a tenant base that works with anchors on the corner.

Cardiff Realty Holdings – (Proposal HERE) (Powerpoint Presentation HERE)

  • Urban Outfitters, Free People, and Lucky Strike Lanes among proposed tenants
  • Open-air shopping, a rooftop deck providing city views and a community garden that would be available to Linwood Howe Elementary Schools
  • Three separate buildings — each with a green roof — would be centered around a common area courtyard, which is exposed to the outside via three large entry portals
  • Building along Culver Boulevard would have a 13,000-square foot public park on the roof; The north building – over 15,000 square feet of ground floor retail, opening up onto Culver Boulevard and back into an interior courtyard. The second floor would be occupied by Lucky Strike.  The building along Washington would have 12,000 square feet of tenancy on the ground two floors for Urban Outfitters.

Read Full Articles:

  1. Culver City City Council Hears Plans For Downtown Parcel – LA Wave
  2. More Developers Detail their Bids for Culver City Parcel – LA Wave

Image VIA Los Angeles Wave Online

{UPDATE} Metro to LAX Takes Another Step Toward Becoming a Reality


UPDATE – The Los Angeles Daily News reports:

The White House announced today that it would speed through the environmental review needed to extend the Metro Green Line to Los Angeles International Airport.

The project was one of 14 chosen nationwide.

In August, the president signed a memorandum instructing federal agencies to identify and prioritize big, job-creating infrastructure projects.

Feds Expedite Metro Green Line Plan to LAX – LADN

Metro to LAX Takes Another Step Toward Becoming a Reality – The Urban Observer

UPDATE as of 9/21/2011: Downtown’s Latest Development Projects…

The Los Angeles Downtown News has gathered updated information on 66 Downtown development projects that are in the works – showing that billions of dollars in investment is flowing throughout the Downtown community.  From new residential condominiums expected to hit the market in October, to the announcement of the $1.5 billion Farmers Field Stadium & Convention Center; Downtown’s renaissance pushes forward.

View all 66 project updates here: The Latest Information on 66 Downtown Projects, LA Downtown News 9/21/11

Metro to LAX Takes Another Step Toward Becoming a Reality


Steve Hymon from Metro’s The Source reports today that the Metro Board of Directors unanimously approved the final environmental impact report for the Crenshaw/LAX line, (The gold-ish line on the map to the right) which will run 8.5 miles between the Green Line and the Expo Line along along Crenshaw Boulevard, Florence Avenue, and Aviation Boulevard.

The Crenshaw/LAX Line, scheduled to open in 2018, will include an elevated station at Aviation and Century boulevards, but will still be more than one mile to the LAX terminals. Both Metro and the City of Los Angeles have studies underway looking into the best way to connect the Aviation & Century station to LAX. The City of LA is considering a people mover between the station and the airport, while Metro is looking into a rail connection.

The majority of funding for the project is coming from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. The biggest remaining hurdle for the project will be budget approval. According to the article: “Metro officials say the estimated cost of the project is currently $30 million to $50 million more than the $1.7 billion in funding available. Officials are seeking to bring down the cost through the design and preliminary engineering that is underway.”


Full Artice at Metro’s The Source

Image VIA LA Metro

(UPDATE) Contract Awarded for Metro Gold Line

From LA Metro: The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority awarded the $485.9 Million Contract to build the 11.5-mile extension of the Gold Line from eastern Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border to a joint venture between Kiewit  and Parsons.

According to Metro, work in earnest should begin on the line in 2012 with a scheduled opening of 2015.

Gold Line Foothill Extension Picks Contractor

 Earlier Post:

CBS LA reports today that the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority is in discussions today regarding a possible vote to award a nearly $500 million contract for the proposed project.

If approved, the project would extend the line 11.5 miles from Pasadena to Azusa.

According to the CBS LA report, the project would bring 7,000 jobs to Southern California and contribute $1 billion to the local economy over the next four years.

Board May Approve $500MM Gold Line Extension – CBS LA

Photo Via