It is inevitable that change in the Crenshaw Corridor is underway with construction of the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project. For decades members of the Crenshaw Corridor community have been advocating for a much needed face lift. Currently, there are several projects either in the works, underway, or waiting for approval by the Los Angeles City Planning Commission and/or Los Angeles City Council. Many of these developments are welcomed, however we strongly believe that any new development coming to the Crenshaw Corridor increase the number of affordable housing units in the community and provide high quality jobs to longtime residents.

One major project in the Crenshaw Corridor that was just approved by the Los Angeles City Planning Commission is the redevelopment of the existing Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. On Thursday, July 13, hundreds of residents, business owners, and stakeholders attended the City Planning Commission hearing at Los Angeles City Hall to voice their opinions and concerns about the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw project. The turnout was tremendous as crowds filled the City Council Chambers to capacity and pushed the remaining crowds to an overflow room where the meeting could be heard over the speakers.

Over a hundred speakers addressed the commission during the public comment period. Many were in favor of the project as it would be a major come up for the community, as well as an opportunity to be able to attract and bring about more business to the community. Others however, expressed concerns about the health impacts; obstruction of views, increased traffic and safety concerns, displacement, gentrification, need for more local hire, and more affordable housing units.

In addition to approving the plans for redevelopment of the mall, the Commission improved the project’s requirements for local hire and affordable housing. A small victory was in store for local hire as the commission was able to increase local hire from 10% to 25%, making it required instead of a goal, and require it for both construction and operating jobs. In terms of affordable housing, the Commission designated 10% of the apartments and condos for households whose incomes fall under a specific income: 5% for workforce housing, and 5% for very low income housing. Both local hire and affordable housing unit’s percentages were increased then what was in the original plan.

With a vote in place by the City Planning Commission, the project is now headed for approval to Los Angeles City Council. Community Health Councils will continue to monitor all the developments in the Council regarding this project.

Development Plans: The plans for the redevelopment of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall include as stated in the City Planning Commission’s Recommendation Report include, “a mixed-use retail, restaurants, commercial, office, hotel (400 rooms), and residential (551 condominiums and 410 apartments) space totaling approximately 3,072,956 square feet of floor area. The existing enclosed mall structure and cinema will be maintained, and 77,933 square feet of the existing free-standing structures will be demolished. The project includes a total of 6,829 parking spaces and 885 bicycle spaces. The project site will border West 39th Street to the North, Crenshaw Boulevard to the east, Stocker Street to the South, and Santa Rosalia Drive and Marlton Avenue to the west.”

Developers: Capri Capital Partners is the developer for this project. Capri is a minority firm from Chicago that has invested over $2 million in this project. This project is set to be one of the largest housing developments in the nation by an African American Company.

History: This shopping site has been around since the 1940s. According to the Times, the shopping site was turned into an indoor mall and renamed the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. Currently the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza houses retail and restaurants that include: Macy’s, Sears, TJ Maxx, Post and Beam, Michelle’s Country Diner, along with an array of other stores including the Cinemark Movie Theatre.