You probably know that Downtown has had an incredible revival in the last 15 years or so (from 10,000 residents to 50,000); you might not know that it all started with something called the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance, which made it easier for developers to convert old buildings into new housing (while staying sensitive to the original architecture). Every Downtown building eligible for the residential program has been converted now (!), and so the city's switching its focus to commercial projects, starting with a pilot program on Broadway (as part of Councilmember Jose Huizar's Bringing Back Broadway plan). While many groundfloor spaces are still in use on Broadway (whether as swapmeets or Urban Outfitters), a lot of the space above them has been left empty for years. According to a press release, the new Historic Commercial Reuse Guidelines will help "activate dormant historic buildings on Broadway and fill more than one million square feet of empty upper-floor space on the historic corridor." Specifically, it clarifies and streamlines the zoning codes that govern conversions, so that it's easier (and cheaper) for developers and business owners to make those conversions.
· How to Encourage Old Building Conversions in Downtown Again [Curbed LA]