LA owns thousands of properties, many of them vacant. LA’s controller has an idea to spur development

The city owns more than 7.5K properties countywide, many of them vacant or undeveloped

Ron Galperin and an overview of LA (Credit: iStock)
Ron Galperin and an overview of LA (Credit: iStock)

The City of Los Angeles owns more than 7,500 properties in the county, making it one of the largest real estate managers countywide.

But many of those properties are vacant or underutilized, suggesting a missed opportunity in a region that is in the grips of an affordable housing crisis.

That has prompted L.A. Controller Ron Galperin — the city’s chief accounting officer — to propose a solution that does not involve the city. Galperin wants to create the Los Angeles Municipal Development Corporation, a nonprofit entity that would help develop and operate the city’s real estate holdings.

“The City of Los Angeles does many things well, but we do not have a central agency with the industry expertise to get the most out of the thousands of properties we own,” Galperin wrote in a report that announced the proposal.

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LAMDC, as it has been named, would help bridge the gap between experienced real estate professionals in the private sector and city officials. The nonprofit could identify key properties suitable for development, as well as buy and sell city land.

Emergency homeless shelters have been popping up on city-owned property. They are part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “A Bridge Home” program, which has sought to address the growing homeless problem in the city, but has also received pushback from business leaders and residents in those communities.
Despite the opposition, city officials have been able to fast-track such developments thanks to a new state law that streamlines the process for building on city land.

Galperin’s proposal comes on the heels of an online interactive map he launched that details the city’s real estate portfolio. The map, released in June, was intended to help spur development.