With the increasingly attractive LA River one step closer to a huge, $1-billion revitalization, and lots of other improvements in place or on the way, many residents in riverfront neighborhoods are wondering how much longer this soon-to-be prime real estate will be affordable for them. In a recent interview, KCET asked Mayor Garcetti about making positive changes for the river without pushing out the majority of the current residents. The side benefits of a more welcoming river (bike paths, walking trails, kayaks) have already arrived in some waterfront neighborhoods, giving neighbors—who have until recently been living along a pretty blighted river—good cause to be nervous.
River-adjacent Elysian Valley saw housing prices jump 21 percent over the last year (compare to the 16 percent increase seen elsewhere in LA County). The median home price in the neighborhood is now $443,400. Like many places in LA, neighborhoods like Elysian Valley and Cypress Park are also populated by more than 50 percent renters, many of whom are probably wondering when their rent's going to jump similarly. "Everybody wants the good that comes with revitalization," the mayor said in his interview. "I refuse to say, let's keep things bad and affordable. Let's capture what's good, but let's make sure we mitigate what is the bad side of gentrification."
One of the options that the mayor is exploring to keep reasonable housing by the river is a River Benefits Fund, through Councilmember Mitch O' Farrell's office (whose district includes Elysian Valley), that would set aside money for affordable housing to be spent in neighborhoods along the river (spending on affordable housing is way way down in LA); others involve creating "workforce housing" on city-owned property or reusing the theoretical future Olympic Village (part of which would be along the river) as affordable housing. The mayor also left the door open on pushing developers to include affordable options in their projects.
The money from the federal government for the river's 11-mile renewal could come as soon as next year, so the sooner something is done, the better.
· Mayor Garcetti Addresses Gentrification Concerns Along L.A. River [KCET]
· Feds Now Recommending Best and Biggest LA River Restoration [Curbed LA]