Amid DTLA resi building boom, young and wealthy renters say it’s a food desert

Survey finds 60% of people put more grocery stores at the top of their wishlist

(Credit: Wikipedia)
(Credit: Wikipedia)

Residential construction is on the upswing in Downtown Los Angeles, geared in large part to the young and wealthy Angelenos. But construction has outpaced retail options, particularly grocery stores, according to a new survey.

The Downtown Business Improvement District surveyed more than 6,000 people, finding 80 percent of respondents wanted more retail options. More than 60 percent of those surveyed put additional grocery store options on their list. The store? Trader Joe’s. The BID surveyed people over the course of a month, starting in mid-September.

The survey estimated that 65,000 people now live Downtown, up from 58,700 three years ago.

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The median income of survey respondents was around $98,000 per year. More than 70 percent were not married and nearly half were between 18 and 35 years old. About three quarters of the respondents who live and work in DTLA or who live only Downtown were renters.

Over the last few years, developers have invested heavily in residential construction Downtown to meet the strong demand for units, particularly in the luxury sector.

That created something of a glut last year. At the beginning of 2017, the vacancy rate reached 12.4 percent across the board and 16 percent in the luxury sector. More than 1,600 luxury units came online in the first half of last year alone and were quickly scooped up, dropping the vacancy rate to 10.3 percent by the end of the year.