June 20, 2017
By Dennis Kaiser
Cox, Castle & Nicholson’s David Waite will be part of a Connect Los Angeles panel this week titled, Repositioning Space and Transforming Neighborhoods. As innovative companies continue to redevelop and reposition outdated space into luxurious and creative buildings, communities like Koreatown, Hollywood, and DTLA, are continuing to be transformed into dynamic places to work, live and play.
Waite shares insights about how standout projects are rising above the challenges and explains why these neighborhoods are being selected for expansion, as we gear up for our conference this Wednesday (June 21st) at DTLA’s Hotel Indigo. (Yes, there’s still time to register.)
Q: What legal challenges are developers currently facing in the Los Angeles area as they work to reposition properties or transform neighborhoods?
A: Time is money. For those projects that require “discretionary” or “legislative” approvals from the City of Los Angeles, which includes most new ground up construction projects, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) remains a time consuming and costly development hurdle. For example, many projects will require extensive environmental review, including the preparation of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to advance the project approvals. In Los Angeles, an EIR can easily take six months to a year or longer to prepare, circulate for public comment and present a final EIR for certification to the city. If there is a legal challenge to the sufficiency of the EIR, the litigation could result in an additional two to four years of delay.
Q: How are new developments affecting the surrounding neighborhoods?
A: Although Los Angeles is still in the early stages of an emerging shift to higher density vertical development, new development projects – particularly transit-oriented development – holds the promise to have an overwhelmingly favorable impact on neighborhoods located adjacent to public transportation. These projects have been conceived and planned to take advantage of public transportation and reduced dependency on the automobile. Over time, these projects can create vibrant walkable and bikeable communities located in areas close to transit and centers of employment. They can become home to mixed income projects that accommodate a mix of both affordable and market rate housing. While equity, gentrification and displacement of existing tenants remains an issue, particularly for established residents, most areas experiencing new residential and mixed-use development are converting Los Angeles’ underutilized property, including formerly industrial land uses.
Q: What are some of the standout projects in the area right now?
A: West Los Angeles’ “Martin Expo Town Center,” located at the former Martin Cadillac dealership site on Olympic and Bundy, is just steps away from the Expo Line station, and is an excellent example of a new transit-oriented mixed use project. Once completed, it will include more than 600 residential units (affordable and market rate), approximately 200,000 square feet of creative office space and about 75,000 square feet of neighborhood serving retail. The project meets the acute need to provide a mix of housing options located adjacent to public transportation and in close proximity to the tech and media jobs in the Silicon Beach communities. Another example of a catalytic mixed use, transit-oriented project soon to be constructed and of significant scale is “The Ivy,” located in both the cities of Los Angeles and Culver City adjacent to the Washington/National Expo Line Station.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser