Project will improve district

Juliana D. Norwood | 7/28/2010, 5 p.m.

Councilmember Herb Wesson recently announced that the Los Angeles City Council has approved the $93 million development of District Square, a new three-level 300,000 square foot retail center that will feature a Target, Marshall's, Ralphs, Ross Dress for Less and other retail outlets, including full-service restaurants. The development is one of the many new projects on the drawing board to revitalize the Crenshaw area of District 10.

Midtown Crossings, a development at Pico and San Vicente Boulevards, is another project in the district for which the city council also recently approved funding to build a second phase.

District Square will be located at the corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and Rodeo Road, just steps away from the new Exposition Light Rail Line and West Angeles Cathedral.

Wesson and his staff have been working on making this project a reality for more than four years, constantly voicing their concern that there was an extreme need for quality retail in the area.

The City of Los Angeles is providing crucial funding to help finance the project with assistance from a federal Housing and Urban Development loan, and additional support coming from the Community Redevelopment Agency.

"Together, the Midtown Crossings project and the District Square project represent nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in capital investment that will create four thousand construction jobs and 1,800 permanent jobs," said Councilmember Wesson. "We're proving that these are economically viable communities that can support quality retail centers. Our longer-term goal with District Square is that it becomes a catalyst to ignite an economic renaissance along the Crenshaw corridor."

In addition to District Square, Councilmember Wesson is also involved in a few other developments in the area including West Angeles Plaza at Crenshaw and Jefferson Boulevard--a $12 million project that will include a Fresh & Easy market and a Union Bank. The Burger King adjacent to it will also be redesigned into a retail center.

"These are exciting times for the Crenshaw corridor," said Michael Jones, president of the Crenshaw Chamber of Commerce. "Along with the Exposition Light Rail, and a planned Crenshaw (rail) line to the airport, District Square is another important step in the right direction."

"Improving the quality of life for our residents is what it's all about," said Wesson. "We've been able to accomplish something important for this community, and this is just the start."

Among the projects on Wesson's development drawing board, which will soon break ground, are an $8 million two-level retail center at Pico and Hauser Boulevard; a $30 million, 60-unit affordable housing project at 30th Street and Western Avenue near Fatburger; a $40 million office tower extension of the Samitaur development at Jefferson and National Boulevards; and an $18 million office project developed by RAD Properties, also at Jefferson and National.

Improvements at two supermarkets in the district are also planned: Demolition and reconstruction of a new Vons at Pico Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue; and a $4 million remodel of the Ralphs adjacent to Midtown Crossings.