Retail Center Hopes to Boost Local Economy
Just a year ago, the corner of Pico and San Vicente was a dirt pit, but government officials expect the developing Midtown Crossing retail center to revitalize the local economy by serving thousands of residents in a five mile radius.
The Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency celebrated its highly anticipated project on Monday with a champagne "christening" honoring Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Council President Herb Wesson for their support.
The 330,000-square-foot project, developed by CIM Group, aims to create 800 new jobs for residents in the neighborhood and generate $2.3 million in annual sales tax revenue.
According to a press release from 2007, "Midtown Crossing is in the center of Los Angeles and is designed to serve the area's large and diverse population as well as attract additional retail to the area, which has been overlooked for decades," said Philip Friedl, vice president investment & development, CIM Group.
However, the Midtown Crossing development process was met with some challenges. In 2008, Villaraigosa's appointees at the Community Redevelopment Agency recommended that the City Council increase the size of the project's subsidy from $5 million to $14.3 million. Councilman Herb Wesson also had to gain approval of a sign district that would display "supergraphics" only permitted by city law in special cases.
As a result, the project was split into two phases. Phase one installed chain stores like Starbucks, Panda Express, AT&T Wireless, Foot Locker, Cold Stone Creamery, and a Metro Bus transfer station, while Phase Two added a Lowes Home Improvement Center and other retailers.
While some residents are looking forward to the new job opportunities, others are concerned about the traffic the new center will produce.