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Inglewood's Artists Brace For Big Neighborhood Changes

A football stadium and a huge mixed-use community could shake things up ... or not

Inglewood's got three very high-visibility projects on the horizon: a brand new NFL stadium that will host a Super Bowl in five years, the redevelopment of Hollywood Park into a massive mixed-use complex with its own manmade lake, and the Crenshaw Line coming through with a new station in its downtown. For better or worse, it's big news for the neighborhood, but what it will mean for those who are already there is what everyone is waiting to see.

Watching especially closely is the city's large artist community, says LA Business Journal. Artists have been attracted to the area en masse since at least the 1980s; the relatively inexpensive rates for studio space have always been the draw. Recently, rents in the industrial spaces favored by artists are about $1 per square foot in Inglewood, while in Culver City or Downtown LA rents would be at least double that (and maybe more).

Inglewood's already seen a huge uptick in interest in some of its real estate since the announcement of the football stadium coming to town, but no one's sure if that frenzy will carry over to other sectors of the market. (It probably won't do too much for home prices.) "The biggest thing going for the city of Inglewood is that it’s still the cheapest rent for all of L.A.," says a broker at Partners Trust in Beverly Hills who also owns properties in Inglewood. "It’s insane how low the rents are. Artists can come here and find warehouse space from 50 cents to 75 cents a square foot. I’ve seen even lower."

Rents tend to be low in Inglewood because the buildings have been owned by the same person for "decades" so their debt is low and they can afford to keep rents low, too. Industrial properties are often smaller in Inglewood than in other parts of South LA, says LABJ, so artists aren't really competing with actual industrial businesses for the space.

A few small projects are already pushing toward the kinds of next-wave spaces that usually follow decades of artist investment in an area, namely live/work spaces. Inglewood has six areas of town where a live/work ordinance allows for these kinds of uses. (Inglewood's main artist hubs are on the northern end, near the Ladera Heights border, or over by the famed Randy's Donuts.) But "it’s not yet clear if many landlords will make the investments needed to bring aging buildings up to code, such as installing fire sprinklers," or whether artists would even pay the new, higher rents that would undoubtedly come with these fancier places.

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