8 Years And $45 Million Later, Still Nothing

Efforts to redevelop a blighted commercial plaza in South Los Angeles have proved fruitless -- angering residents who say the city has ignored them and allowed taxpayer money to be wasted. Questions remain about the developer's financial dealings.

"It was supposed to have been a model of urban renewal -- a mix of housing and classy stores to replace a decaying 20-acre shopping center at the foot of the affluent Baldwin Hills.

Instead, more than a year after the project was to be completed, Santa Barbara Plaza is a collection of dead or dying businesses surrounding a vast parking lot with weeds pushing through large cracks. Most of the housing was never built; none of the retailers ever came. The largely middle-class, African American area is stuck with a mostly deserted commercial slum.

Los Angeles leaders gambled on a check-bouncing, politically connected developer to shepherd the project. And after $15 million in government subsidies and more than $30 million in private investment, taxpayers -- and the community -- have lost.

"It's disgraceful," said Karen Ceasar, secretary for the neighborhood council at a recent meeting packed with angry residents. She accused elected officials of a "failure to care.""

Full Story: Urban renewal project in L.A. begets blight instead

Comments

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245

Essential Readings in Urban Planning

Planning on taking the AICP* Exam? Register for Planetizen's AICP * Exam Preparation Course to save $25.
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
Rome grey gold tie

Tie one on to celebrate your city!

Choose from over 20 styles imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
$44.95