It's been a while since the Arts District was "a dingy district of hollowed-out warehouses" where artists paid $150 for a 3,000-square-foot space (now it's the new Meatpacking District, supposedly), but the AD is fighting to keep the "creative character" of the neighborhood intact with a new (draft) Interim Live/Work Zone, designed to help keep artists in the area and encourage sustainable, ped-friendly, mural-adorned growth. If adopted, the new zone (designed with community input) would prohibit traditional apartments but allow developers to build live/work units, so long as they also included benefits like murals, living walls, green walls, bike parking, pedestrian-friendly paseos and plazas, and communal workspaces. Developers could also build larger than the zoning typically allows if they use certain materials and put parking underground.
Right now, it's impossible to build new live/work units in the AD; they can only be created in existing buildings (and all other residential uses are outlawed in the area). The interim ordinance would only apply to those projects that request it and can only be used to create 1,500 new units (until there are more permanent rules); if developers take advantage, they also have to include affordable units, a certain amount of "arts and productive uses," and a place for "on-site creation and manufacturing." The proposed ordinance also includes a bunch of design standards like ground-level windows, trash enclosures, and mid-block pathways to break up the AD's long stretches of asphalt.
The ordinance is "interim" because the city is working on a much larger zoning code overall that could include these new standards, should they work out well. This probably won't keep the 'hood from becoming totally unaffordable to artists and totally fancy in general, but it will help keep it diverse and cool as it allows more and more gentrifiers to move in.
· Interim Live/Work Zone [DLANC]
· Interim Live/Work Zone [LA City Planning]
· Oh God, is the Arts District Going to Be the Next Meatpacking? [Curbed LA]