Empowerment Congress West Holds Town Hall on Expo/Crenshaw Development Saturday

A rendering of the proposed project at Expo/Crenshaw looking south along Crenshaw. Source: Metro
A rendering of the proposed project at Expo/Crenshaw looking south along Crenshaw. Source: Metro

This Saturday, the Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council will hold a town hall featuring a presentation from Metro on the mixed-use project proposed for the two lots at Exposition and Crenshaw.

The site map. The project will straddle Crenshaw Blvd. south of Exposition. Source: Metro
The site map. The project will straddle Crenshaw Blvd. south of Exposition. Source: Metro

The County and Metro will retain ownership of the lots but will lease them to the developer WIP-A, LLC (a subsidiary of Watt Companies), assuming that the final version of the project the developer has proposed proves satisfactory.

As currently proposed, the project will feature 492 residential units, 73 of which will be reserved for families earning under 50 percent of the area median income (families of four must earn $45,050 or less to qualify, but also earn a minimum in the neighborhood of $30,000 or approximately three times the proposed rent). The remaining 419 units will be market-rate.

The project will also feature 47,500 square feet of commercial and retail spaces, including restaurant spaces intended for locally-owned and -operated businesses, a grocery store, open plazas, a bike hub and car-share connections, a business incubator-type space, and community-serving spaces.

The project may be best remembered, however, for the way that the project’s renderings had not only transformed the intersection into a white livability mecca but gave no indication to those that would be arriving by rail that they were at a de facto gateway to a historic black community. [See that coverage here.]

The transformation of Crenshaw at Exposition - the gateway to a historic black neighborhood - apparently also includes the rapture of the entire black population... save one undoubtedly confused person in cargo shorts. Source: Metro
The original renderings envisioning the transformation of Crenshaw at Exposition featured the rapture of the entire black population… save one undoubtedly confused person in cargo shorts. Source: Metro

There is still room for community input on the project.

This past November, Metro approved a six-month interim Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) – rather than the standard 18-month ENA – with WIP-A, LLC. The interim ENA requires the developer to do intensive community engagement, work to build partnerships with local community organizations and stakeholders, and adjust their proposals to reflect the input received. [Find the full text of the Metro staff report on the project (scroll down).]

To get a jump on that process, Watt announced at the November hearing that they were in negotiations with West Angeles Community Development Corporation (CDC) about bringing them on as a community-based partner. But what the West Angeles CDC’s role will be is as yet unclear.

Join neighbors in learning more about the project and engaging Metro on it this Saturday from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza Community Room (3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.). Other topics that will be covered at the meeting include the LAFD Fire Station 94, planning and outreach around the King Day parade, the distribution of Space Shuttle funds, and general neighborhood updates. See the full agenda here. See past coverage of the project here and here.

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