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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Population Boom Means Construction Boom -- And In A Free Market, That Means Luxury Condo Boom

[NOTE: THIS IS MY LONGEST POST. SORRY, BUT IT DOESN'T COST YOU ANY EXTRA, SO SIMPLY SCROLL DOWN IF NECESSARY.]

I just heard that over the next ten years (and it already has started) a population the size of Chicago will be moving to the City of Los Angeles. Chicago is already the third largest city in America, with a population of about 3,000,000. So unless everyone moves out of the City (which isn't likely), L.A. will become the world's largest City, alongside New York. [Growing pains, y'all!]

This population boom means Mayor Antonio Villagrossa is in charge of improving and expanding the City's infrastructure: Things like a real subway running from Downtown L.A. to the beaches of Santa Monica, light rail routes all the way to the beaches, more busses, more schools, more everything -- and especially more housing!

And the only way to accommodate these incoming masses from across the globe is to start building up. [Density issues, y'all!] So yes, this means many of the single home residential units that is the heart of a real culturally-strong community will be a luxury we simply can no longer afford from a sheer numbers standpoint.

And in a free market, capitalist society, those who own the land and those who develop it can make more money building new luxury-condos, than single dwelling units -- or affordable housing units.

So for now, unless you have about $400,000-$600,000 for a low-end, luxury condo; start thinking about moving a little further out and hopefully, you'll plan on using the MTA system to get you to your job as a low to middle income worker (service staff, teachers, city workers, middle-class workers, cubicle jockeys...Anyone who cannot and will not be able to pony up a half million for the new "affordable" housing that will be available.

So the steamrollers and cement trucks are ready to roll, and there's little the people being displaced out of their life-long residence can do.

Because even if these displaced tenants get the re-location fees they are entitled to, rents have skyrocketed more in the past six months than they have in the past six years, so hello Ventura County and other outlying areas.

Councilmembers are aware of the problem this rampant City restoration is having on communities throughout Los Angeles. (See ZD story on Mayor Sam "Pesky Little I.C.O.s" under the week of 10/01 archives.)

A few Councilmembers have submitted I.C.O.s (a time-out, preventing further condo conversions until we can evaluate the impact from a community and infrastructure standpoint) -- and Bill Rosendahl has put in for a complete Citywide moratorium on condo conversions. But, let's face it; the City doesn't want to stop upgrading to accommodate the millions of people flocking to L.A.

And for now, there is still obviously plenty of demand for the high-end, luxury-condos, because that's what people want to build. And if there wasn't a demand, they wouldn't be priced in that range.

So until, all the wealthiest of new residence have their piece of the American dream in one of the fifteen districts, the rest of us will either be driven further out of City limits, or into one of the lower class neighborhoods that will be getting lower and more populated. (Aka: lower-income neigborhood population boom, too).

A supporter of the City's position of getting the City ready to accommodate the population boom as mentioned above, mentioned that's why Prop. H is so important. "To provide affordable housing throughout the City, along side the luxury-condos, to maintain the culture of the community."

But Prop. H sucks to begin with, and you should vote "No" on H. But even if it did pass (which it probably won't), the amount of affordable housing it would provide is a mere "drop in the bucket". (The government can't compete with free market capitalism. So let's at least be real about that.)

So that brings me to the point: As long as the "gentrification" (as the harshest critics call it) is happening, and ZD and L.A. City Council can't prevent it;
here are two points I'd like to bring to anyone's attention who may be able to make a difference:

a) Make sure you force developers to follow the Planning and Land Use (PLUM) tenant's rights regarding 180 day notice and actually force them to pay the tenants' re-location fees (by today's market rates, not 1986 Ellis Act rates).

b) Although in the Mayor's heart-of-hearts, I'm sure he would like to maintain the integrity of all the different communities throughout the City, and provide real affordable housing right next to the shiny, new condos (the poor living next to the rich)...ZD says, "It ain't gonna happen and the gentrification will probably be as bad as they say."

A lot of eggs are going to be broken to make this new world class omelet of a City. SO PLEASE...YOU GOTTA BE A LITTLE LESS GREEDY THAN YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE...DON'T MAKE THIS A TOTAL BAMBOOZLE, DAMN IT! MAKE SURE YOU ACTUALLY DO MAINTAIN SOME SEMBLANCE OF COMMUNITY AND CULTURAL INTEGRITY. There are protections in place with the Planning and Land Use Department that insure this integrity. Start factoring them into the equation.

And get ready middle-class/working-class. You are the one's lucky enough to pay for it all. (Don't worry, you're all going to heaven for picking up the tab.)

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Actually the population of Chicago is about 2.9 million; the greater metro Chicago area has over 9 million people. If Villar (or any politician) wants to declare war on single family housing, let him bulldoze the homes of his Brentwood pals first.

October 26, 2006 6:08 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

Perdon Zuma
but your gonna be ignored. AV napoleon assigned Peteeee Navaroooo to PLUM

October 27, 2006 12:02 AM  

Anonymous Holly Wood said:

Nah, he'll take out homes in Hollywood and Northeast LA because his pals in the State Assembly will turn a blind eye.

October 27, 2006 11:58 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said:

The world's largest cities are actually Seoul (city proper) and Tokyo (whole urban area).

October 27, 2006 3:45 PM  

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