CHINATOWN CIVIC DEVELOPMENTS
Grand Park in DTLA’s Civic Center has become a major draw for visitors to DTLA. Not only does it attract people and families outside of DTLA, it also is a place for residents to sit, walk, exercise and enjoy the park’s programming. Opening in 2012, Grand Park was the first major investment in DTLA meant to bring more open and green space to Angelenos. Today there are three civic and infrastructural projects around DTLA and Chinatown in the pipeline totaling over $2 billion in investment.
The LA Historic Park, also known as the Cornfield, will soon reopen after a multi-year redevelopment that includes new promenades and trails, an amphitheater, a farmers market pavilion and much more. Located directly east of Chinatown, the 32-acre park is part of the City of LA’s Cornfield Arroyo Secco neighborhood. In 2013, the district’s specific plan was approved allowing most commercial and residential uses in a historically industrial district. Most impressive is the plan’s limited parking requirements. Meant to not only make it a bit easier on developers, but also a completely pedestrian friendly district, the specific plan does not require parking for most uses—a first in Los Angeles.
Down the street from the Chinatown Portfolio is LA Union Station. Built in 1939 and known as one of the last great American rail stations, Union Station is current a major hub for three Metro rail lines, Amtrak, Metrolink, Metro Buses and private transportation services. LA Metro’s massive Union Station Master Plan will bring more residential units and commercial uses to the Metro-owned site, while also expanding transit uses to include the proposed California High Speed Rail.
A few blocks to the east of Chinatown is the Los Angeles River. Long an ignored concrete river, residents’ and civic leaders’ interest in restoring the river pushed the Army Corp of Engineers to propose a $1.35 billion project to restore 11 miles of river with greenery, bikeways and walkways. Leading the conversation about the restoration is architect Frank Gehry, who has been working on a detail plan for the river of the last year. Full movement toward the river’s restoration is at least a year away, when the City will approve plans.
Altogether, Chinatown is front and center to three of LA’s most catalytic civic and infrastructural projects. These projects will undoubtedly further enrich all of Los Angeles, but particularly proximate Chinatown.