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Olvera Street Development Project Aims to Revitalize Downtown L.A.




Jose Gregorio Perez attends Cinco de Mayo festivities on May 5, 2010, at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Site on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, California.
Jose Gregorio Perez attends Cinco de Mayo festivities on May 5, 2010, at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Site on Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles, California.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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The go-ahead has been given for a jolt of new life to be infused into the Olvera Street area of downtown Los Angeles. On Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a $135 million development project that, when finished, will bring 341 new apartments as well as shops, restaurants, and community facilities to an area that, thus far, has not developed as quickly as other historic downtown neighborhoods.

The nonprofit La Plaza de Cultura y Artes Foundation will oversee the development. They run a cultural center dedicated to L.A.'s Mexican-American history, not far from the area where the development will be built. La Plaza will lease two parking lots from L.A. County for $1 and then sublet them to a developer for $250,000 during construction and $400,000 or more every year afterward. Of the residential units built, twenty percent will be set aside for affordable housing.

Advocates say the development will not only bring vibrancy and culture back into the Olvera Street area of downtown, but also will make use of two parking lots that have been sitting empty. Those who own shops and businesses say they're happy about the development and hope it brings more businesses to the area, but don't want any businesses moving in that would be in conflict with the businesses that have been there for years.

Do you think this project will significantly increase visitors to the Olvera Street area of downtown? What more, if anything, needs to be done to make the area a destination for both visitors and locals alike?

Guest:

John Echeveste, CEO of La Plaza de Cultura y Artes, who is overseeing the development

Gina Rodriguez, Olvera Street Business Owner; Proprietor of Hecho con Carino