The Los Angeles City Council officially established two first-of-their-kind economic development zones in North Hollywood and South L.A.
The so-called Jobs and Economic Development Zones, or JEDI Zones, are meant to provide various forms of help on finances and regulatory requirements to small, locally owned businesses, according to the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.
The North Hollywood JEDI Zone runs a stretch of Lankershim Boulevard north of the North Hollywood Red Line Station. It’s northern terminus is Oxnard Street.
The South L.A. JEDI Zone is part of the 205-acre Goodyear Tract, a former industrial district the city has sought to redevelop.
Businesses in the JEDI Zones are “eligible to obtain a variety of incentives, including case management of the City development permit process, permit fee reductions, business consulting, and facade improvements, among others,” according to a City Council motion. They’ll also get access to some loan programs and other sources of capital.
Both JEDI Zones are part of federal Opportunity Zones, making investment in them eligible for tax breaks. Their inclusion in Opportunity Zones was a primary criteria for their designation as JEDI Zones.
The North Hollywood JEDI Zone is also part of the city’s Great Streets program. The latter program mostly involves pedestrian-friendly changes to streets.
Other criteria for eligibility as JEDI Zones include an unemployment rate 3 percent higher in the area than the citywide average, as well as median household incomes considered “Low” and “Moderate” income.
The annual Area Median Income for L.A. County for 2021 was $80,000.
An earlier version of the JEDI Zone program motion included crime rates as criteria for the JEDI Zones program as well — only areas with crime rates 5 percent higher than the citywide crime rate would be eligible. The Council dropped that on the recommendation of city staff.
The Council also dropped an eligibility requirement that commercial vacancy be 5 percent higher than the city average.
[SFVBJ] — Dennis Lynch