Plan for Successor to L.A.'s Shuttered Redevelopment Agency Takes Shape

The state-ordered demise of the Community Redevelopment Agency has been a huge blow to redevelopment and affordable housing efforts in Los Angeles. A new plan being put forth by city leaders hopes to help fill that void, reports Ryan Vaillancourt.
April 10, 2013, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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With the loss of its annual spending in the hundreds of millions of dollars and 192 employees, the shuttering of L.A.'s 67-year-old Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has left the city with limited resources to help incentivize investment in distressed areas.

"Now," says Vaillancourt, "city officials are hoping that a new department, working with a new nonprofit corporation, could fill the void left by the demise of the CRA. They are moving to create the Economic Development Department [EDD] for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. The City Council approved the concept last month, pending a more detailed plan for how to staff and fund the department."

New details provided in a report by the city's Chief Administrative Officer, Miguel Santana, outline how the city hopes to accomplish this. In addition to the EDD (which is largely a bureaucratic reshuffling), the city would establish a non-profit economic development corporation.

"A key role of the nonprofit would be maximizing the value of city real estate, said Santana, who envisions the nonprofit negotiating deals with developers to invest in city assets. Much like the CRA stipulated community benefit packages when assigning development rights, the nonprofit would leverage private investment dollars to improve public resources, he said."

"Like the CRA, the nonprofit would prioritize investment in low-income neighborhoods, though it remains unclear how the city would regulate or enforce an emphasis on affordable housing," adds Vaillancourt.

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Published on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 in Los Angeles Downtown News
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