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.


Perry Loses Most of Downtown To Huizar’s 14th District…

Last night the Los Angeles Redistricting Commission voted to give Councilman Jose Huizar’s 14th district the majority of downtown; leaving Jan Perry’s district with a little more than Staples Center & LA Live in the central city.


Draft of new Redistricting Map of Central City

 As summarized by The City Maven, the Redistricting Commission’s key votes included:

  • Moving Baldwin Hills and Leimert Park from CD 8 to CD 10
  • Moving Little Tokyo, Skid Row, Civic Center, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Music Center, Grand Avenue, Bunker Hill, and the financial and fashion districts from CD 9 to CD 14
  • Moving USC from CD 8 to CD 9
  • Keeping Toluca Lake in CD 4, taking with it part of Studio City
  • Keeping all of Koreatown and Little Bangladesh in CD 10
  • Keeping Westchester, west of the San Diego (405) Freeway, in CD 11
  • Keeping Watts in CD 15
  • Agreeing to split two districts between the basin and San Fernando Valley

(Proposed Draft Map)

New Los Angeles City Council District Boundaries Released…

The Redistricting Commission released a draft of the new Los Angeles City Council District boundaries map today, which will be discussed among the commissioners this afternoon at the Van Nuys City Hall.  Jan Perry’s Ninth District lost most of downtown, as the 14th District (Jose Huizar) and the 1st District (Ed Reyes) took over most of it – leaving Jan Perry with just a portion of South Park, which includes the Staples Center & LA Live, along with the majority of South Los Angeles, east of the 110 freeway.

Click here for the Los Angeles City Council Draft Map Proposal

Downtown Central City

Here is an overall summary as reported by The City Maven:

  • West Hills will move from the Third District to the Twelfth
  • Sunland-Tujunga will move from the Second District to the Seventh
  • The Sixth District picks up Foothill Trails and Shadow Hills
  • The Second District will pick up all of Studio City and Toluca Lake, which were previously part of the Fourth District
  • Lake Baloba, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Bel-Air and the Hollywood/Highland complex move into the Fourth District
  • The Fifth District loses its Valley neighborhoods, picking up Mid-City West, South Robertson and Greater Wilshire
  • LAX will remain in the Eleventh District but part of Westchester moves to the Eighth District
  • Koreatown will remain in the Tenth District
  • Atwater Village, Glassesll Park, Rampart, Hollywood and Rampart remain in the Thirteenth District
  • The First District picks up most of Highland Park

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.

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

Final EIR for the Hollywood Community Plan…

The Hollywood Community Plan has finally reached its final environmental impact review stage, after nearly a decade of planning.  The plan promotes development and specifically transit-oriented development, and promises to remove development limitations that have been in place since the last update  “As part of redirecting growth, the Proposed Plan includes removing and/or revising development limitations on commercial zones and multi-family residential zones that were imposed during the previous Update in 1988.”

The plan will go before the City Planning Commission on December 8.

Click here for full review:  Final EIR for the Hollywood Community Plan