The Jury Talks Back


City Pays $1.5 Million Per Acre in Watts

Filed under: California Politics — Kevin M @ 1:04 pm

And it’s for 21 vacant acres in the worst part of Watts — right next to the Grape Street Crips headquarters Jordan Downs housing project.  There are places in West LA worth less, these days.

According to the LA Times, this is part of a $1 billion Watts gentrification project that will attempt to lure the middle class back to Watts.

Los Angeles officials are embarking on a $1-billion plan to tear down the notorious Jordan Downs housing project and turn it into a “new urban village” — an effort aimed at transforming the Watts neighborhood that would be one of the city’s largest public works projects.

The city wants to replace the project’s 700 dilapidated units, which were built more than half a century ago, with taller “mixed-use” buildings that would house not just low-income residents but also those paying market rates. The new development could include as many as 2,100 units.

One imagines they were saying the same things about “transforming the Watts neighborhood” when they built Jordan Downs.

Already, L.A. officials have spent $31 million to purchase a 21-acre piece of land adjacent to the existing project on which they plan to expand. They have earmarked millions more for planning. The financing for the project would combine federal redevelopment money, state tax credits and private investments from retailers and developers of market-rate housing. Officials hope to get some money from President Obama’s stimulus package and from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Good luck with that private investment in these risk-adverse times.  Or, like, ever.  But I guess one money pit is as good as another when it comes to government funding.

Your stimulus package at work.


  1. Aren’t there still vacant lots from the burn-down in the ’65 Watts Riots?

    Comment by AD - RtR/OS — 2/28/2009 @ 4:17 pm

  2. It can work if you bring in Mayor Daley to do the job. He did wonders in Chicago, with Cabrini Green, a hellhole of hellholes, probably the most prominent example. I don’t know land prices in LA but $1.5 million per acre would be considered very reasonable in Chicago for a parcel that size — about two city blocks — even without teardown costs.

    Comment by nk — 3/1/2009 @ 4:48 am

  3. nk–

    That would be a reasonable price for a parcel at random in LA, but this is quite possibly the worst location in the city. Consider a parcel next to the old Cabrini Green, and you’ll get the picture.

    Comment by Kevin Murphy — 3/1/2009 @ 10:39 am

  4. Ummm … i may just be being cynical, but …

    To whom was the $1.5M per acre paid ? It’s called cui bono, is it not ?

    Comment by Alasdair — 3/1/2009 @ 6:17 pm

  5. Jordan Downs, Imperial Courts, Nickerson Gardens….

    hell holes all.

    Comment by redc1c4 — 3/2/2009 @ 11:26 pm

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