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What Can Be Done to Make Chinatown More Appealing?

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Some Chinatown locals probably like their neighborhood just the way it is, but over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times looked at the difficulties facing stores and restaurants in the area. The neighborhood is bustling during the day, but shuts down at night, due to the lack of visitors. But there's also a Catch-22--the stores don't stay open late to cater to the tourists and visitors (the exception is when the art galleries stay open). The story also notes that for some people, there's little authentic about Chinatown amid the changing demographic. This is Chinatown Lite: "Merchants, historians and others attribute many of the changes at Los Angeles' Chinatown to several factors, including increased crime years ago, the exodus of Chinese American families to the suburbs and an influx of recent Asian immigrants more concerned with making a living than reviving Chinatown. As a result, visitors looking for authentic Chinese food have many options beyond Chinatown, including eateries in the San Gabriel Valley, home to a growing Asian population."

But as part of an attempt to pump up business, the city "will invest $3 million in public funds facade improvements, lighting upgrades and a series of outdoor events this summer," according to the paper. From a real estate point of view, it's been a mixed bag in terms: Some architects and designers have been able to create some fabulous spaces in the neighborhood, but those bigger, more expensive properties are hard to move: That Dwell-featured Sun Mun Way building is still sitting on the market at $1.595 million.
· L.A.'s Chinatown tries to draw more nighttime visitors [LA Times]