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Los Angeles Backpedals on Downtown, Says Lower Your Expectations

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Oh, you're a fickle one, Los Angeles magazine. It was just last June that you featured Downtown as your cover model, proclaiming: "The City Has a Booming Center Again." Seven months later, that renaissance-in-progress is now imperiled by the economy, writes Mark Lacter in the latest issue of Los Angeles. Lacter writes that "development has hit a wall" and once LA Live is done, "construction cranes will be a rare sight for at least several years." It's not all doom and gloom, though. Population has doubled (to almost 40,000), rental demand is up, and there's a new grocery store. But problems like homelessness and empty storefronts persist, while average condo prices in the area have tumbled to $502,000 from a peak of $790,000. Lacter is doubtful that the self-contained L.A. Live will resuscitate other neighborhoods like the Jewelry District and Little Tokyo. Writes Lacter:

Downtown’s problem is that the dots are not connecting. Urban makeovers take time and are fueled by incrementalism, not girth. Tim Leiweke can’t wave a wand and make it happen. Nor can Eli Broad, or the thousands of recent arrivals in search of city living not available anywhere else in L.A. Another thing about makeovers: They require strong economies, and we’re years away from seeing one of those again. At the risk of offending the folks who want so badly to see a downtown renaissance, I can’t help stating the obvious: Lower those expectations. And TargetWatchers, take note. Mark Tarczynski, senior VP of CB Richard Ellis, tells the magazine: "I've got Target circling around downtown Los Angeles. I've got Bed Bath & Beyond circling around downtown Los Angeles. They haven't landed yet, but they'll be here."
· Soft Core [Los Angeles]
· Architecture critic slams LA Live [Los Angeles Times]
· LA Magazine Loves Downtown, Los Angeles Loves...Pink's [Curbed LA]

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