Reinventing Redevelopment

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas at the opening of the Juanita Tate Marketplace.

The Board of Supervisors voted to support state legislation that would reestablish a statewide redevelopment program – but only if these have the support of local governments, require a more robust commitment to produce affordable housing, and focus on communities with the greatest need.

Dunbar Hotel rendering with CRA funded affordable housing on each side.

“It’s vital to ensure that ‘Redevelopment 2.0’ is done right, as this can help mitigate the affordable housing crisis and reduce blight in our communities,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who authored the motion. “The criteria endorsed by the Board will help state lawmakers reinvent redevelopment in a way that avoids the problems of the past.”

Since 1945, local jurisdictions have operated redevelopment agencies to reduce blight and incentivize the development of low and moderate-income housing.

Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles helped build the iconic Staples Center.

Before closing its doors, the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles produced more than 26,000 units of affordable housing, and also helped build several iconic landmarks such as the Juanita Tate Marketplace, Staples Center, LA Live, Broad Museum and Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

In 2012, then Governor Jerry Brown eliminated redevelopment agencies to balance the state budget and restore property tax revenue for local governmental services. While local jurisdictions benefited from increased general fund and special district revenue, the dissolution of redevelopment agencies took away about $1 billion a year that had previously been available for affordable housing. It also eliminated a vital tool for addressing blight and reinvesting in low-income communities.

CRA project at Adams and Central. Photo courtesy of Meta Housing

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ motion directed the County’s legislative advocates in Sacramento to support redevelopment-related legislation, such as Assembly Bill 11, should the bills reflect the following provisions:

– preserve local governments’ authority to opt-in to redevelopment programs;
– require that not less than 30 percent of tax increment revenue – up from 20 percent previously– be dedicated to support the creation of avoidable housing; and
– require that new redevelopment programs focus on communities with urban blight, and economic distress, as well as those with transit-oriented districts, excess state properties and priority projects.

Magnolia Walk Ribbon Cutting in 2018 — affordable housing funded with residual redevelopment funds. Photo by Karen Quincy Loberg / Board of Supervisors.