Big market-rate apartment complex snuffed by South LA planning commission

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A drawn-out plan to redevelop a six-acre Crenshaw site near the Expo Line with nearly 600 apartments has been dealt a fatal blow, all in the name of fighting displacement.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the South Los Angeles area planning commission voted Tuesday to “reject” the development, called District Square. The project, which is now “effectively kill[ed],” would have brought 577 market-rate units, 93,000 square feet of retail, a grocery store, and loads of parking to Obama and Crenshaw boulevards.

The area’s City Council representative, Herb Wesson Jr., has come out against the project and supported its most vocal opponents.

In July, the Crenshaw Subway Coalition, a grassroots organization fighting gentrification in South LA, appealed the project, arguing the introduction of luxury apartments into a neighborhood where the majority of the population could not afford to rent them would ultimately push out long-time residents.

Wesson supported the coalition’s appeal, submitting a letter in September that said, in part, “The median income in this area is about $43,000. To build a development that does not take this into account is unacceptable.” Wesson added that he could not support the project unless it included a “significant” number of affordable units.

Wesson noted in his letter that projects like District Square were motivation for his proposed anti-displacement ordinance. That draft ordinance would push developers to accept Section 8 vouchers for the units in the fully market-rate projects and would temporarily freeze rents in buildings nearby.

Read the full story about the area planning commission’s decision at the Times.

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