Century Boulevard corridor approved as 'State Enterprise Zone'

The Loyola Theater in Westchester, Calif.
The Loyola Theater in Westchester, Calif.
Tortuga One/Flickr CC

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State officials have approved the Century Boulevard corridor that leads to and from Los Angeles International Airport as a new part of the "State Enterprise Zone" program. The City of Los Angeles’ bid to add the corridor to the program had stalled in Sacramento for almost a year. But recently appointed Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner stepped in to give it a push.

Beutner called the Century Boulevard corridor L.A.'s gateway to the world.

"We’re spending billions of dollars to enhance the airport and the on-site infrastructure, the surrounding community of businesses need that same support," said Beutner. "The office buildings in this area are more than 30 percent vacant, so we need to fill those with good jobs. This will be a tool to help those employers in this region and enable to do that."

The enterprise zone offers tax incentives to businesses that locate on the corridor. The incentives include tax credits for hiring new workers, reduced parking costs and a 35 percent discount in utility rates with the LA Department of Water and Power .

On paper, the corridor would appear to be booming, with restaurants, parking , the largest concentration of hotel rooms in Los Angeles, and more than 30,000 people working in the area.

But Laurie Hughes of the "Gateway to L.A." business improvement district says even though it’s home to some of the most affordable office space for lease in the city, the corridor’s commercial building’s have suffered from such high-vacancy because business taxes are lower right nearby.

“We lose businesses that might locate here on Century Boulevard to El Segundo and Culver City," said Hughes. "So this is a way to even up the playing field and attract new business.”

The enterprise zone includes designated stretches of Century Boulevard, San Fernando Road, Foothill Boulevard and Washington Boulevard, as well as the Westchester business improvement district.

It is the first such "economic incentive area'' on the west side of the city, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.

This is the second time in as many weeks that the state has expanded Los Angeles' enterprise zone. Last week, it covered an additional 5,444 acres in the San Fernando Valley.

"The LAX approval, combined with (the impending arrival of Chinese carmaker BYD to Los Angeles), and the Valley area expansion, sets the stage to potentially create more than 25,000 jobs in the near future,'' First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner said.

According to the mayor's office, the benefits of being part of a state enterprise zone include:

On top of that, the city is offering local incentives, including:

KPCC wire services contributed to this report.