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LA Moving On Huge Jordan Downs Redevelopment in Watts

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The City Planning Commission today approved the Jordan Downs Urban Village Specific Plan, a long-awaited set of entitlements aimed at redeveloping one of the city's largest swaths of publicly owned land, in Watts. The Specific Plan defines land uses, zoning, height districts, floor area ratios, design standards, and street designations for an area encompassing approximately 118.5 acres, 76.78 acres of which are currently within the city of Los Angeles. The Jordan Downs Public Housing Complex, owned and operated by the LA Housing Authority, takes up approximately 42.99 acres of that area--it will be completely replaced under the city's plan. Tenants there have frequently complained about the living conditions. To put it mildly, the Specific Plan proposes a major overhaul of a fairly large neighborhood.

Here are some the details about the changes proposed for this huge swath, as stated by the Planning Department's staff report (pdf), reviewed by the CPC today:

-- "All of the 700 existing public housing units shall be replaced, and up to 1,100 new housing units of various types shall be constructed on site, for a total project yield of up to 1,800 dwelling units." The new housing units will include affordable and market rate units in a combination of building types and heights.

-- "A diversity of new zones are proposed that combines mixed use buildings, neighborhood serving commercial, multi-family residential, public facilities, and open space to create a self sustaining urban village where residents can live, shop, work, and play all within the same neighborhood."

-- "The Plan proposes up to 502,000 square feet of commercial, retail, and light industrial uses along Alameda Street and up to 20,000 square feet of community serving, ground floor retail uses, as part of mixed use buildings along the Century Boulevard extension."

-- "A 6.38 acre Central Park will serve as the primary open space and will be supplemented by 2.57 acres consisting of smaller open spaces throughout the Plan," and "A 50,000 square foot Family Resource Center will replace the existing Jordan Downs Community Center."

-- "Century Boulevard is proposed to be extended and improved to run the entire length of the Project boundary. Currently, Century Boulevard is designated a Major Highway, Class II but does not exist beyond its intersection with Grape Street at the western edge of the Specific Plan. The Specific Plan proposes Century Boulevard be extended through the project until it meets Alameda Street at the eastern edge of the Plan boundary. The re-alignment will then further extend Century Boulevard to connect with Tweedy Boulevard in the City of South Gate. In addition, Century Boulevard will be downgraded to a Modified Collector Street between Grape Street and Alameda Street that will decrease the vehicle traffic lanes but create a more pedestrian friendly street."

Because some of the Specific Plan area is currently located in unincorporated Los Angeles County, "the Department of City Planning intends to proceed with the filing of an annexation application with the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) for the annexation of 41.74 acres of land from unincorporated Los Angeles County to the City of Los Angeles," according to the staff report.

Jordan Downs "has had virtually no physical changes" since 1955, when new units were added to supplement the original units built in 1942 and converted to public housing after World War II. In 2008, however, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa launched the "Housing that Works" plan to address LA's housing supply and its affordability--according to the staff report, the redevelopment of the Jordan Downs public housing complex is a key piece of that plan.
· Jordan Downs Urban Village Specific Plan [Planning Department Staff Report]
· Movement on Jordan Downs Makeover? Meeting Tomorrow [Curbed LA]
· Complicated Housing Plan Also Targets You, Middle-Class Renter [Curbed LA]

Jordan Downs

9800 Grape Street, , CA 90002 Visit Website