Chief among the challenges facing the Piggyback Yards is acquisition of the site, writes Zen Vuong, with landowner Union Pacific Railroad hesitant to part with its rail yard properties despite operations there being under capacity. The project would remake the site at the intersection of downtown Los Angeles, Lincoln Heights, and Boyle Heights as a mixed-use development, with vertical construction of residential, commercial and light industrial buildings in order to preserve 130-acres of the site as a public park.
Until as recently as May 2010, The PBy Collaboration, a group of architects and landscape architects, were working pro bono on the project for the non-profit group Friends of the Los Angeles River, but further involvement by city officials is needed before the project can progress in even a piecemeal fashion, says Vuong:
"A small piece of the plan, the Mission Road corridor, is almost free of UP ownership. This portion of Mission Road, which lies between Cesar Chavez Avenue and Main Street, is about one mile of arterial roadway lined by commercial or industrial buildings. The PBy Collaboration has been talking to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and various city council and city planning members to start work on this area."