Kicking Off A New Era of Soccer
in Expo Park

All photos by David Franco/Board of Supervisors

With a blast of fireworks and confetti, soccer fans celebrated the grand opening of the $350-million Banc of California Stadium at Exposition Park, the new home of the Los Angeles Football Club.

L-R: Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, LAFC forward Carlos Vela, Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Councilman Curren Price.

This privately financed “cathedral of soccer” is the first open-air sports arena built in LA since Dodger Stadium in 1962. A stunning piece of architecture, it stands where the now-demolished LA Memorial Sports Arena used to be, right next to the LA Memorial Coliseum.

“This magnificent Banc of California Stadium will do more than provide a new state-of-the-art place to play soccer,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, a member of the Coliseum Commission. “It will bring thousands of jobs and economic opportunity to the surrounding community and beyond, furthering the transformation already taking place in this region.”

“This has exceeded expectations,” he added. “There’s no way you can come here and not marvel at what has been done in record time.”

“I think it’s the best stadium in all of Major League Soccer,” said former NBA superstar Earvin “Magic” Johnson, one of the LAFC’s co-owners along with two-time Olympic gold medalist Mia Hamm Garciaparra, former Major League Baseball all-star Nomar Garciaparra, entertainment and sports leader Peter Guber, and others.

“It is an honor to unveil this world-class stadium to the Los Angeles community,” LAFC lead managing owner Larry Berg said.  “This project is not only about providing our fans and supporters a state-of-the-art venue to watch soccer in the heart of Los Angeles, but this is about our Club’s commitment to investing in and elevating our entire city.”

Also present at the ceremony were LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council President Herb Wesson, Councilmember and Coliseum Commission President Curren Price, MLS commissioner Don Garber, LAFCco-managing owners Bennett Rosenthal and Brandon Beck, and LAFC president Tom Penn. After the ceremony, LAFC players, including stars Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi, took to the field for the first time to practice for their first home game, 10 days away.

The stadium was designed by leading architect Gensler Sports. Construction took 20 months, and produced thousands of construction and permanent jobs at the stadium, many of which went to workers from the surrounding community. The project includes a large public plaza, restaurants, an LAFC retail store, and a conference and events center.

The new stadium is the newest landmark in Exposition Park, along with the LA Memorial Coliseum, the California African American Museum, the California Science Center, and the Natural History Museum of LA County. The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is currently under construction.

A Budget that Reflects Our Values

Los Angeles County-funded teams conducting outreach to people living on the streets, offering a range of supportive services. All photos by Mayra Vasquez/Countywide Communications

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said the $30.8-billion proposed 2018-19 budget would improve the quality of life of millions of residents, particularly the most vulnerable, while maintaining public safety, advancing economic equity, and fostering fiscal responsibility.

LA County Fire Department

“Government can’t do everything but the County of Los Angeles does a whole lot,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.

“This budget reflects our determination to confront homelessness, the dearth of affordable housing, and the need for criminal justice reform,” he added. “It also expands access to health services and an equitable economy, ventures into innovations in technology and biosciences, and celebrates the arts.”

County CEO Sachi Hamai unveiling the recommended budget for FY 2018-2019

County Chief Executive Officer Sachi Hamai, who recommended the spending plan, said, “This budget demonstrates the County’s determination to address the region’s most difficult social issues through bold action, elevating the quality of life for all residents, no matter what their circumstances or paths.”

The budget includes the first full year of funding from Measure H, a $374 million investment to combat homelessness. It also includes $45 million for affordable housing, and creates 1,000 jobs providing services to the homeless.

LA County Department of Animal Care and Control

Since voters passed Measure H in March last year, the County has helped thousands of individuals and families through an unprecedented expansion of outreach, emergency shelter, rapid rehousing, supportive housing, and benefits advocacy. Among the early successes between July and December 2017: more than 7,000 people entered crisis, bridge and interim housing, many of whom were among the 3,000 people who secured permanent housing.

Public hearings on the budget will begin May 16. The Board of Supervisors will kick off deliberations on June 25.

LA County Department of Health Services’ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Outpatient Center

Housing and Healthcare Under One Roof

Rendering of Joshua House Health Center and Six Four Nine Lofts, courtesy of Skid Row Housing Trust and Adobe Communities Architecture

A state-of-the-art building that will provide affordable housing and healthcare under one roof is now under construction in Skid Row and expected to open in 2019.

Six Four Nine Lofts – consisting of 55 affordable housing apartments for people who had been homeless – will occupy the top four stories at the corner of 7th Street and Wall Street. Joshua House Health Center will occupy the bottom three stories.

At the ground blessing ceremony. Photo by Henry Salazar/Board of Supervisors

At the groundbreaking and blessing ceremonies, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said, “Our collective pursuit should be to create opportunities so that anyone who calls Los Angeles County home is able to live a life of dignity and purpose.”

“The goal is access to health, access to homes, access to a better life, and access to a better community,” he added. “Let’s all be part of the movement we call Everyone In!

Skid Row Housing Trust, the lead developer for both projects, will own and operate Six Four Nine Lofts, whose residents will be mostly veterans and individuals with chronic health conditions. Thanks to funding from the County’s Department of Health Services and the US Department Veteran Affairs, they will receive comprehensive case management, as well as referrals to a wide array of services, such as physical and mental healthcare, substance abuse and detox services, counseling, peer support groups, HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, life skills and employment training.

Los Angeles Christian Health Centers (LACHC) will own and operate the Joshua House Health Center, its flagship facility. “We are proud of this very special project that we hope will help transform the way healthcare and housing services are offered to people who are homeless and underserved,” LACHC President and CEO, Dr. Lisa Abdishoo, said. “Our multidisciplinary care teams will deliver the full continuum of medical, dental and mental health; substance abuse services; and linkage to housing under one roof.”

Courtesy of Skid Row Housing Trust and Adobe Communities Architecture

Joshua House Health Center was designed to be state-of-the-art, open and welcoming, while offering a safe place for people to receive high-quality care. It will have 18 medical exam rooms, six flexible consultation rooms, eight dental chairs, nine mental health rooms, 13 social work and care coordination offices, a multipurpose area to provide health education and fitness classes, a meditation room, and a chaplain’s office.

LACHC expects to serve 1,200 patients in its first year at the site, and eventually serve up to 7,000 patients annually. Trust CEO Mike Alvidrez said, “As the developer, we are pleased to partner with LACHC to help expand medical care and services in a new, modern clinic that better reflects the level of dignity and quality of care LACHC has shown patients for more than 20 years.”

Without homes, people are exposed to harsh weather, disease, violence, unsanitary conditions, malnutrition, stress and addictive substances. The average age of death for people experiencing homelessness is 30 years less than that of people who do not live on the streets.

Using a single location for a separate housing and healthcare projects – each with its own structure, ownership and financing – is an efficient use of public funds as it allows many development costs, like site acquisition, to be split between the two projects. It makes each project less expensive.

Both projects received funding from a diverse array of sources, including LA County, LA City, and the state of California. This collaboration is most evident in the housing portion, which includes one-time capital funds of $5.5 million from Proposition HHH and $1.5 million from LA County’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. In addition, LA County’s Department of Health Services will invest $7.4 million over the next 15 years for rental subsidies and support services.

Aside from constructing the building, the Trust leveraged $5.3 million in state cap-and-trade funds to make transit-related improvements along 7th Street, including bike share stations, bike lane, accessible crosswalks and traffic lights.

Courtesy of Skid Row Housing Trust and Adobe Communities Architecture

 

 

Breaking Ground on the Lucas Museum

Lucas Museum cofounders Mellody Hobson and George Lucas, flanked by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Councilman Curren Price, architect Ma Yansong, and other dignitaries at the groundbreaking ceremony. Photo by Diandra Jay/Board of Supervisors

Filmmaker George Lucas and Mellody Hobson led the ceremonial groundbreaking of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Exposition Park, joined by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Councilman Curren Price. It is slated for completion in late 2021.

“The focus of the Museum is to open up people’s imaginations and inspire them to dream beyond what is considered possible,” said Lucas. “Narrative art and storytelling stirs our emotions, shapes our aspirations as a society, and is the glue that binds us together around our common beliefs.”

“Our goal is to create the world’s most inclusive and accessible art museum — a place that brings together people from every walk of life,” added Hobson. “We are excited to call Exposition Park home, surrounded by more than 100 elementary and high schools, one of the country’s leading universities, as well as three other world-class museums.”

Designed by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects, the Lucas Museum will celebrate the art of visual storytelling and enable people of diverse backgrounds to experience the power of narrative art across all mediums, including painting, illustration, comic art, photography, film, animation and digital art. Co-founders Lucas and Hobson intend for it to be a place where visitors feel comfortable and welcomed by engaging with art forms they may already recognize and love.

The 300,000 sq. ft. nonprofit museum will feature collection galleries and exhibition spaces displaying original works of art from world-renowned artists, cutting-edge digital technologies and daily film screenings in two state-of-the-art theaters. It will also offer extraordinary educational opportunities with hands-on and digital classrooms and a free public research library for educators, scholars and students. Education will be a centerpiece of the Museum’s programming to provide diverse students of all ages the skills to voice their own stories and spark creativity.

The project will transform a series of asphalt parking lots into a museum surrounded by 11 acres of new parkland and gardens designed by Los Angeles-based landscape architecture firm Studio-MLA. Thousands of jobs will be created directly and indirectly as a result of the Museum.

“Today is a momentous occasion, as we break ground on what will surely become one of Los Angeles County’s most popular and beloved landmarks,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “The Lucas Museum will not only display brilliant works of art, but also teach countless children the science and technological skills needed for careers in the film, animation and design industries. It will cement Exposition Park‘s reputation as a world-class destination for arts and entertainment.”

A High Point for LA’s Newest Biotech Hub

The construction of Los Angeles County’s newest biotech hub hit a high point with the ceremonial topping off of LA BioMed’s $63-million research building and incubator.

Expected to open in December 2018, LA BioMed’s 78,000-sq. ft. facility will be an integral component of the biotech hub envisioned next to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas with LA BioMed President and CEO David Meyer, Richard Lundquist and other dignitaries at the topping off ceremony. Photo by Henry Salazar/Board of Supervisors

The County and philanthropists Melanie and Richard Lundquist split the $6-million cost to build out the incubator, where scientists can receive technical support and business services to help them advance promising new biomedical discoveries to the next stage of commercialization. The 18,000-sq. ft. incubator would house about 25 LA BioMed spinoff and outside startup companies.

“This is a major milestone in Los Angeles County’s ongoing efforts to promote the bioscience industry,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “This new bioscience incubator will help start-ups become successful companies, bringing new medical breakthroughs to market while creating well-paying jobs throughout the County.”

LA BioMed President and CEO David Meyer at the topping off ceremony. Photo by Henry Salazar/Board of Supervisors

“Our mission of generating social impact through breakthrough therapies for orphan diseases has taken a huge step forward with this topping off ceremony as we move closer to becoming an essential hub of bioscience with a global reputation and impact, all in the name of changing, and saving, lives,“ said LA BioMed President and CEO David Meyer.

In addition to the incubator, the four-story facility is currently slated to include:

  • A wet lab where research teams will work on new diagnostics and therapeutics;
  • A dry lab that will be used for computational biology and medical informatics – allowing re-searchers to process the massive amounts of data that comes from precision/personalized medicine and telemedicine; and
  • A 160-seat lecture hall, conference rooms, a data center, numerous offices and a freezer farm for bio-banking of tissue samples.

The County and LA BioMed are also exploring the development of a 15 to 20-acre biotech park on County property adjacent to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Campus and LA BioMed’s research campus.

LA BioMed is a nonprofit biomedical research institute founded in 1952 that has pioneered lifesaving treatments and technology, including heart scans, cholesterol testing to preventing blindness in newborns, enabling premature newborns with fragile lungs to breathe, and testing newborns for thyroid deficiency.

Based in Torrance, LA BioMed has more than 100 principal investigators — PhDs, MDs and MD/PhDs — working on more than 600 research studies. Last year, one of its research efforts, Endari, became the first treatment approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for pediatric patients with sickle cell disease, and the first new treatment approved by FDA in nearly 20 years for adult patients.

A 2014 study by the Battelle Memorial Institute concluded the Los Angeles regional economy could support three to five bioscience hubs, which could be located on the County’s medical campuses. Aside from partnering with LA BioMed, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas is also looking at opportunities to accommodate bioscience at the former Martin Luther King Hospital in Willowbrook, in partnership with Charles Drew University.

Rendering of the LA Biomed research facility and bioscience incubator.