Press ReleasesMarch 12, 2015
Community Agreement in Major Development to Boost Good Jobs and Affordable Homes in South L.A.
Los Angeles Planning Commission approves a project to include affordable housing, quality jobs for local residents, opportunities for small business and homeless support services
LOS ANGELES – A coalition of community-based groups in South Los Angeles announced the signing of a community benefits agreement with a major planned private development that will promote affordable homes, good jobs and homeless support services. On Thursday, March 12, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission voted to recommend the Grand Metropolitan Project for approval by the Los Angeles City Council.
Signers to the community benefits agreement for the Grand Metropolitan Project are members of the United Neighbors in Defense Against Displacement (UNIDAD) coalition. They are Community Development Technologies Center (CD Tech), Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, St. Francis Center, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE), and Tenemos que Reclamar y Unidos Salvar La Tierra-South LA (T.R.U.S.T. South LA). Public Counsel represented the community groups in the negotiation of the community benefits agreement.
The Grand Metropolitan Project agreement marks the first major community benefits agreement in South Los Angeles since the approvals of the University of Southern California’s Specific Plan in 2012 – which included $20 million for affordable housing, a tenant rights clinic, local jobs, and small business support – and the Lorenzo project in 2011, which included a low-cost health clinic, local jobs, and affordable rental units. The Rev. Warner Traynham Community Center clinic operated by St. John’s Well Child & Family Center opened on March 5 and is located just blocks away from the proposed Grand Metropolitan development.
The Grand Metropolitan Project will replace a surface parking lot at the corner of Grand Avenue and Washington Boulevard, adjacent to a Metro Blue Line stop and just blocks from both Los Angeles Trade Technical College and the site of the proposed SOLA Village development project. When built it will boost affordable housing and employment opportunities for neighborhood residents. The agreement will:
• Provide 15% of the total rental apartments for residents with both extremely low and very low incomes. The Grand Metropolitan Project would include a precedent-setting set-aside of 5% for extremely low-income residents, those who make less than 30% of the area median income.
• Create a 40% local hiring goal for construction jobs in the development, with 20% for disadvantaged residents including those who are homeless or aged-out foster youth.
• Set a 50% local hiring goal for future retail jobs, with 30% for disadvantaged residents.
• Provide crucial support services for nearby homeless residents through funding and space for case management services.
• Facilitate filling 100% of maintenance jobs for local residents and require a living wage.
• Create incubator space for local and community-based small businesses.
“The Grand Metropolitan is a model for what development along transit corridors should be: a genuine investment in the community that provides not only profit to developers but good jobs, affordable housing, and a real commitment to the well-being of local residents,” said Cynthia Strathmann, Executive Director, Strategic Actions for a Just Economy (SAJE).
“The important thing about today's action is that it sets a standard and a precedent for how development needs to collaborate with local residents for a healthy and economically vibrant South Central Los Angeles,” said Benjamin Torres, President and CEO of Community Development Technologies Center (CD Tech). “We know that these kinds of projects typically have a negative impact on the small businesses that have served local residents for many years, and we want to make sure they can continue to be part of the community and nurture the next generation of business leaders.”
“We are setting a new standard for community-invested development in Los Angeles” said Christina Giorgio, staff attorney with Public Counsel. “The Grand Met agreement shows what can be achieved when the local community and developers work together. This project will be a net gain for the neighborhood in affordable homes and good jobs, which this community desperately needs.”
The project is expected to break ground later this year.