Downtown Los Angeles and other urban centers across the state are being billed as the beneficiaries of a $2 billion incentive to jumpstart housing development.
To encourage developers to build homes near jobs downtown, California has unveiled a plan to divert construction from rural areas to city centers with $2 billion in grants and tax incentives over the next two years, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The state building incentives – part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s $286.4 billion budget plan – come on top of $10.3 billion earmarked last year to support mixed- and low-income housing.
The goal is to permit the construction of millions of new housing units in urban areas, state officials say.
New downtown housing would allow cities such as L.A. to meet regional housing goals and avoid urban sprawl. Building in outlying areas puts more people at risk of wildfires and adds to the number of polluting cars at rush hour, state officials said.
“The whole government, in terms of housing, wildfire, environment, is pointed toward building more downtown-oriented housing,” said Jason Elliott, Newsom’s top housing advisor. “It’s better for equity, it’s better for inclusion, it’s better for the environment.”
The $2 billion construction package includes $500 million in grants for infill housing projects close to city amenities and transportation, plus $300 million for sustainable projects friendly to walking and biking near public transit.
The plan would also give developers $500 million in low-income housing tax credits and allocate $500 million to rehabilitate mobile home parks and build more affordable and mixed-income homes.
Hundreds of millions more would encourage building affordable homes on excess land owned by the state, as well as convert existing buildings to homes in downtown areas.
The budget proposal dovetails with planning goals for Los Angeles. A community plan in place for Downtown L.A. could add up to 175,000 residents in 100,000 new housing units in the next two decades to restore the city’s “commercial, entertainment, cultural, and civic heart.”
In recent years, Downtown has led the nation in new apartment construction, with more than 10,000 units built since 2017. In November, Relevant Group unveiled plans for a 329-unit tower on Olive Street. In December, National Real Estate Advisors filed plans to build a 41-story, 466-unit residential tower at The Bloc at 7th and Flower streets.
Other Los Angeles neighborhoods that may not be zoned for hundreds of high-rise apartments are expected to grow at a much slower pace.
[LAT] – Dana Bartholomew