South LA mega-development the Reef passes despite local protests

Rendering of SoLA Village in L.A. (credit: The Reef)
Rendering of SoLA Village in L.A. (credit: The Reef)

One of the largest proposed projects of the year cleared the planning commission Thursday. It did so despite the recent protests of some South Los Angeles residents, who said the 1.7-million-square-foot development known as the Reef could catalyze the gentrification of their neighborhood.

Developed by physician and real estate aficionado Ara Tavitian, the $1 billion project calls for commercial space, hotel rooms and luxury residential units.

“A single-unit apartment is going to go for more than $2,000 in an area where the average family makes about $24,000 a year,” activist Ron Gochez told ABC7 Tuesday. “So this is obviously not something for our community. The rent of everyone who lives within a 2-mile radius is going to go up dramatically.”

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But the district’s councilmember, Curren Price, maintains that the development will help — not hurt — the community. As part of the deal Thursday, the developer will have to set aside 5 percent of the apartments for low-income tenants. Tavitian will also have to cough up $15 million to the city’s affordable housing fund.

“The suggestion is that if we build on two vacant parking lots that somehow that’s going to displace individuals,” Price said. “That’s not totally supported by the facts.”

When complete, the Reef would have 528 apartments, 895 condominiums, multiple hotels and 28,000 square feet of restaurants. [ABC7] [Curbed]Cathaleen Chen