“Over my dead body”: Pan Am Equities’ resi project along LA River gets pushback

Opponents of the 419-unit complex say it would set a dangerous precedent by commercializing a public resource and would fuel gentrification

A rendering of Pan Am Equities’ proposed Casita Lofts project
A rendering of Pan Am Equities’ Casita Lofts project

A battle is heating up over the future of a development site along the Los Angeles River in Glassell Park.

Pan Am Equities wants to build its 419-unit Casita Lofts  complex on a parcel at the entrance to the future 18-acre Bowtie State Park. Local organizations are feuding over concerns it would commercialize the park area and fuel gentrification in the vulnerable location, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“Over my dead body will we see 419 apartment units go up at the entrance to a state park we fought so long and hard for,” said Julia Meltzer, founder of Clockshop, according to the Times. The group is an arts organization that runs programs at the park and has acted as a steward for the last couple decades.

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The city hasn’t approved Pan Am’s project, but it has the support of the local City Councilman, Gil Cedillo, who said the developer would clean up the site and provide a welcomibng entrance to the park at no cost to the city.

Cedillo also said the project provides much-needed housing for the region, although he acknowledged that the 35 units Pan Am wants to reserve for low-income renters was not enough. By some counts, L.A. County is short half a million affordable units.

Besides her concerns that it would fuel market-rate development and gentrification in the area, Meltzer said it would set a dangerous precedent by allowing a private developer to profit from public planning and investment in the site, according to the Times. [LAT]Dennis Lynch