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the skunks of los feliz
2.21.2006
 
Some time ago I engaged in feckless speculation about where the proposed Los Feliz Parking Structure might be placed. Little did I know the answer was there all along, hidden in the pages of the CRA/LA website.

The structure, as planned, would be built next to the Post Office at 1825 N. Vermont, and will include street level retail as well as parking. The details provided on the site do not include the number of spaces planned, nor any concrete construction schedule.

The good news is, of course, that it sounds as if the only thing lost to this project would be the surface parking lot adjacent to the Post Office: no buildings would be razed.

The bad news? If you think traffic is bad on Vermont now...

Also, I'm still not convinced that Los Feliz "needs" this structure. Listen to the CRA/LA's reasoning: "Redevelopment Goal - Maintain and promote private sector investment in the project area to restore commercial activity and prevent its loss."

"Restore commercial activity?" Wasn't aware there was a problem with that. I thought all the activity down there was a indicator of a healthy business environment. "Prevent its loss?" What loss? Is Fred 62 or Palermo or the Los Feliz 3 going under? Hardly.

This is more about providing spaces so that bigger retailers can move on in. I'm also suspicious of the "street level retail". How many square feet are we talking, here? After all, the lot has an awfully big footprint (big enough for a Gap, for example, or a Borders).

Bottom line: Do you like the Broadway corridor in Chelsea? Then you're gonna love Los Feliz in 5 years or so.
 
Comments:
I think retail space is going to be the major limiting factor on Los Feliz's further development. We've only got a few blocks of commercial, the unenclosed parallelogram down Vermont, over Sunset two blocks, and back up Hillhurst, and that's pretty much filled in right now.

Now not only does that limit the options residents have for neighborhood shopping, but a tight supply of commercial property puts upward pressure on rents, too. A lot of the stores that I love Los Feliz for are just the kind of stores that were priced out of the western market in the past decade, and as gentrification continues and if the retail situation seems the same, I can see them quite easily being priced further east into areas like Echo Park, areas with more commercial streets, areas with more mixed-use structures proving street-level retail, areas with more marginal office and industrial space suitable for readaptation.

So, I'm all for adding more commercial capacity to the area. But then again, I like Broadway in Chelsea.
 
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