A Vision for Vermont Manchester

New renderings capture the vision for a proposed development at the corner of Vermont and Manchester Avenues in southwest Los Angeles, transforming what has long been a source of blight into a bustling hub for the community.

Spanning two city blocks, the project will include retail shops, 180 affordable housing units, a public transit plaza and parking lot, and a public college preparatory boarding school designed to serve 400 youth currently served by Los Angeles County’s social safety net.

About 50,000 square feet would be dedicated to providing other critical needs within the community, such as retail and social services, as well as job training.

“This property is uniquely suited, sufficiently sized, and optimally assembled for this type of public investment,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “This community wants and deserves better, and the County strives to deliver better than the cycle of despair that the property has come to symbolize.”

“This project is real, and not the fantasy of a non-performing developer who has held the community hostage for two and a half decades,” he added.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously in December to acquire ownership of the property, which has remained mostly undeveloped since being decimated during the civil unrest of 1992. It has received more than three dozen notices of violations from the City of Los Angeles.

The County has filed for immediate possession of the property and currently has a mid-April court date for the matter to be considered. The acquisition is expected to cause only minimal disruption, as the site is already vacant. The elements of the proposed project reflect the priorities of the recently adopted South Los Angeles Community Plan, as well as surveys by the Public Health Department and local community organizations.

Testifying before the Board in December, Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson said, “Having spent the last 25 years in and around this particular set of parcels, this proposal comes as a great relief to me and thousands of other folks.” In a letter to the Board, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass wrote, “the County proposes to meet multiple needs here and serve the broader community.”

“We need development there, and I think this program that the Supervisor’s putting forth is what we need,” longtime resident Pastor Anthony Williams said in December. “I wholeheartedly support it, and all those that want to partner (with us) to make our community better.”

The Vermont Manchester site as it currently stands

Rendering of proposed development for the Vermont Manchester site