Los Angeles

LA Leaders and Residents Divided Over Pricey Downtown High Rises

Residents and business owners are worried about the impact these new developments will have on sidewalks, parking and affordability.

The explosive growth in downtown Los Angeles continued Thursday with groundbreakings on two new high-rise developments.

Oceanwide Plaza will be near the Staples Center and will have two high-rise condominiums, a five-star hotel, restaurants and shops. Another groundbreaking celebration was held just steps away for TEN 50, a 25-story high-rise condominium at the corner of 11th Street and Grand Avenue.

"Look at the cranes around downtown," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "Listen to the buzzsaws that are everywhere. Look at the people who are moving in."

Not everyone is happy about the idea of new neighbors. Residents are worried about the impact developments will have on parking, sidewalks and affordability.

"There's no street parking," said Michael Berenzweig, who recently moved his long-running business out of the area because of parking issues. "There's no lots to park in and if there are lots, they're exorbitantly expensive."

California's housing costs are 2 ½ times the national average and contribute to poverty in the state, according to a recent state report. The study also found that high housing costs mean fewer residents can afford to own homes. Many are forced to endure long commutes from cheaper areas.

But city leaders maintain the growth will be balanced and fair.

"When a developer comes by and wants to build a new project, we ask them to work with us to improve the public infrastructure around that project," Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar said.

Thousands of luxury housing units may be coming but so is more affordable housing, leaders claimed.

"We want this to be a downtown for everyone," Huizar said. "We don't only want to build luxury apartments."

Huizar said he's brainstorming ideas to deal with the sidewalk issue, like having developers make more space for walking in construction sites or reassigning a car lane to pedestrians.

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