On May 18, 1999, CRA/LA formally adopted the Westlake Recovery Redevelopment Project Area—approximately 633 acres bounded by Olympic Boulevard on the south, Hoover Street and Benton Way on the west, Third Street and Beverly Boulevard on the north, and Witmer Street and Union Avenue on the east.
To encourage new investment in the area;
To rehabilitate existing residences and businesses; and
To improve public services and infrastructure.
Conditions at Time of Adoption
At the time the Redevelopment Project was adopted, the Project Area was in a rundown condition. Problems included:
Dilapidated and deteriorated buildings and properties
Deteriorated public improvements (the facilities and systems that provide municipal services)
Subdivided lots in odd shapes and sizes, making it difficult to sell or lease these properties at current rates
Buildings too small to accommodate the needs of business and shop owners
Developments owned by absentee landlords
Storefronts and other businesses with high vacancy rates, declining property values, or late or skipped loan payments
High concentration of liquor stores, nightclubs, and motels catering to adults
Our Key Accomplishments
CRA/LA obtained Community Development Block Grant funds that allowed us to start making short-term improvements to attract new investment in the area. For example, we began a Commercial Façade/Signage Grant Program, which provides eligible property owners with up to $25,000 to refurbish shabby storefronts.
Other improvements included repaving badly deteriorated alleys which were the site of criminal activities. Now, people using the alleys can safely access neighboring businesses.
We provided funding to the LAPD for six security cameras in MacArthur Park, which have helped reduce crime in and around the park.
We also provided funding for the renovation of the MacArthur Park band shell, now known as Levitt Pavilion. Today, it houses free summer concerts sponsored by Friends of the Levitt Pavilion, which attract thousands of people to the Westlake area every summer.
In 2008, Alvarado Transit Corridor streetscape improvements were completed, stretching 1.4 miles along Alvarado Street between Hoover and Third streets. These improvements include construction of decorative crosswalks and intersections, and installation of trees, tree wells (which prolong the life of the tree), benches, trash receptacles, and lights at pedestrian crossings.
Also in 2008, we purchased the historic Westlake Theatre for a proposed project that includes rehabilitation of the theatre as a venue for movies and live performances. And we purchased the property next door to develop affordable housing with parking as well as theatre parking.
In 2002, CRA/LA provided $4.132 million to develop the Grandview Nine Rental Apartments, which provide 62 units of rental housing for very low-income families.
Our housing projects that are now under construction include Bonnie Brae Apartments, MacArthur Park Metro Development, Seven Maples Senior Apartments, and a housing project above the Metro Red Line. This mixed-use apartment building will feature shops and businesses on the first floor, and affordable rents. “Affordable” means that a working family would spend no more than about 30 percent of their income on housing.
We have also proposed other development projects for the area, including the Seventh & Coronado Apartments, which will provide 68 family units affordable by households with very low, low, and moderate incomes.
The overall purpose of the Westlake Recovery Redevelopment Project is to make visible improvements that can jump-start a more prosperous future for the community. Between 2009 and 2014, CRA/LA plans to further improve the Westlake neighborhood by:
Identifying additional sources of funding to expand the Commercial Façade/Signage Grant Program;
Identifying damaged and hazardous sidewalks, curbs, gutters, and other public improvements that need to be replaced or rebuilt, and installing new ones;
Continuing to work with the Westlake Recovery Project Area Committee—composed of residents, business owners, and community organizations—and the District 1 City Council office to identify improvement activities we can undertake when funds become available;
Continuing to identify additional funding for improvement activities; and
Creating programs that will encourage investment in the area.