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LOS ANGELES-A development group called Bethany Square LLC has unveiled plans for a $100 million mixed-use project that would aim to revitalize a four-acre parcel in the heart of the Bethany Square area. The project, which will seek LEED certification, is in an area that gained notoriety as the center of the 1992 riots in South Central Los Angeles.

The development, which is slated to get under way in early 2008, would bring work force housing,retail, seniors housing, child care and business incubators to the blighted neighborhood, according to Scott A. Chaplan, the managing principal of Bethany Square LLC. The site where the project is scheduled to be developed is spread over 21 lots located on Hoover Street between Manchester Avenueand 83rd Street.

The project, to be designed by Michael Holliday and Larry Scarpa of Pugh & Scarpa, will include the redevelopment of a dilapidated office building, a shuttered chapel and a main sanctuary. The office building will be converted into a new mixed-use building with office, 100 units of low-income seniors housing and a child care facility.

The chapel will be redeveloped into into a multiple-use bank and/or restaurant, while the sanctuary will be redeveloped into a mixed-use building of including 150 new for-sale work force housing condominiums and a subterranean parking garage with approximately 350 stalls.

South Central Los Angeles is home to more than one million residents, with a dense, growing population. Chaplan notes that this part of Los Angeles generates “significant aggregate economic power” but he adds that it “remains a woefully underserved retail market, with 65% fewer grocery stores per capita and 40%fewer banks and financial institutions than other areas of Los Angeles.”

Bishop Noel Jones of the City of Refuge Ministries and a member of the community redevelopment team, sees the Bethany Square development as “the beginning of a long-awaited rebirth of this deeply challenged neighborhood.” He also cites the vital role of New Markets Tax Credits in providing financing for the development.

The Bethany Square project will incorporate a design concept called “crime prevention throughenvironmental design,” which the National Crime Prevention Institute defines as design that “may lead to a reduction in the fear and incidence of crime, and an improvement of the quality of life.” For example, Bethany Square will have a street-level parking structure that elevates the first story of housing above street level, with buildings angled inward so that all units look toward inner courtyards.

Financing for the project includes a $5 million equity investment by the Portland, OR-based Portland Family of Funds and Reston, VA-based TransCapital. Morgan Stanley, a client of TransCapital, purchased the New Markets Tax Credits. The project is slated to be completed within 24 to 36 months of next year’s construction start.

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