Construction Dive: Is Los Angeles' density bonus program working? One official says no

Posted on January 25, 2017

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A program allowing developers in Los Angeles to build larger than is allowed by code in exchange for more affordable housing units is coming up short, according to Curbed Los Angeles, citing an audit by City Controller Ron Galperin.

Dive Brief:

  • A program allowing developers in Los Angeles to build larger than is allowed by code in exchange for more affordable housing units is coming up short, according to Curbed Los Angeles, citing an audit by City Controller Ron Galperin.

  • The so-called density bonus contributed 329 income-restricted units from 2008 to 2014, which Galperin told Curbed is insufficient to meet the city’s low- and middle-income housing needs. Two in 10 multifamily projects built in the city during the period used the program.

  • Los Angeles needs 82,002 new housing units through 2021 in order to meet demand, with 57% available below market rate, according to the audit.

Dive Insight:

Los Angeles is a hive of residential and commercial construction activity, including a luxury residential tower from local developer Rick Caruso as well as a $1.2 billion, 35-story, mixed-use development in the city's South Central neighborhood that will include apartments, condominiums and retail located near public transportation.

While high-end projects are popping up in parts of the city, Los Angeles at-large is struggling to provide enough affordable housing as strong demand puts pressure on already tight inventory, exposing a gap in the city’s housing stock.

Slated for the city’s March 7 ballot is an initiative that would prohibit the kind of rezoning activity required for many large-scale, high-density developments. If voters approve the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, some critics say, it could exacerbate the city’s affordable housing shortage.

A proposed mixed-use development for the city’s Arts District is among the projects racing for zoning approvals before the March vote. The project, by developer SunCal, is expected to add more than 1,700 residential units on a 14-acre site.

 

Click here to read this article on the Construction Dive website. 


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