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How will booming Inglewood handle development around its new train stations?

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It’s embracing dense, mixed-use housing

Inglewood is working on a new plan to guide development around the future Westchester/Veterans train station, near iconic Randy’s Donut’s.

Visit Inglewood a decade or two from now, and the city will likely look radically different. Adding to a multi-billion dollar NFL stadium, a new Metro rail line, and profuse real estate investment, city officials are in the early stages of creating zoning plans that could dramatically reshape two neighborhoods.

The plans, as drafted, lay the foundation for dense, walkable housing and commercial development around train stations.

One even paves the way for an arts district around the future Westchester/Veterans stop on the future Crenshaw Line, with art studios, light manufacturing, live/work units, hotels, shops, and breweries, with buildings up to six stories tall.

A drawing of what the plan proposes for the area around the future Westchester/Veterans station train station.
Via city of Inglewood

Farther away from the rail station, the plan outlines converting land now used by LAX car rental facilities—which will eventually be consolidated into a single location closer to the airport—into a shipping and distribution hub. Land adjacent to Manchester Boulevard rezoned to accommodate mixed-use buildings up to four stories tall.

The boundaries for the Westchester/Veterans station.

The other plan, the Crenshaw/Imperial plan, would allow for the construction of several five to 10 story buildings in the area surrounding the Crenshaw Boulevard and Imperial Highway intersection, just north of the Green Line’s Crenshaw Boulevard stop.

Those buildings would most likely be filled with some combination of apartments, offices, shops, and eateries. The land on either side of Crenshaw Boulevard between the Green Line station and Imperial Highway would be rezoned to allow buildings up to four stories tall.

Right now, much of the land surrounding the Crenshaw/Imperial intersection is occupied by large commercial shopping plazas. Under the plan’s zoning changes, housing could be built there.

Both plans encourage new infrastructure like protected bike lanes on lightly lightly trafficked neighborhood streets and more trees to better accommodate cyclists and pedestrians. The larger Crenshaw and Manchester Boulevards could also turn into “green boulevards,” with a median and protected bike lanes on each.

Hollywood Park project rendering
A rendering of Hollywood Park, post redevelopment.

Inglewood, of course, is a city in flux.

The release of the plans come as an inordinate amount of money flows into the city from the Rams and Chargers’ stadium and its accompanying multi-billion dollar redevelopment of Hollywood Park Racetrack into a new neighborhood with 3,000 of units of new housing, retail, restaurants, a luxury hotel, artificial lakes, and several parks. (Inglewood Mayor James Butts toldKCRW’s There Goes The Neighborhood Podcast that the entire project is twice the size of the Vatican.)

That, along with three new Crenshaw Line stations either in or directly abutting the city, are bound to make the city a trendier place, and many longtime residents fear the changes will drive up housing costs and lead to displacement.

California is in the midst of a serious housing shortage, and experts agree that the primary solution is to build more housing.

Inglewood’s call for new, dense apartments could very likely help alleviate that housing shortage. But, it’s also very likely that because demand for homes is so high and supply is so low, any new housing built in Inglewood would be unaffordable to the majority of the city’s residents.

How do the plans address that?

The Crenshaw Line will pass through Leimert Park, Hyde Park, and Inglewood, with two stations in Inglewood and a third on its border.

They include recommendations for a so-called “density bonus” program that would give housing developers the right to build taller and larger buildings that what zoning codes allow—if they include affordable units in their projects. (In the city of Los Angeles, the density bonus option hasn’t spurred very many new, affordable units).

The plans are, as Urbanize.LA points out, in their environmental review period. Over the next several months, Inglewood and its Pasadena-based planning consultants, The Arroyo Group, will and flesh out the the details based on study and public input. (More specific information about opportunities for public input are available on Inglewood’s TOD plan website).

The city adopted two similar plans for the Fairview Heights/Downtown Inglewood station last November.