LOS ANGELES—Inglewood is ready for revitalization, and with major development, like the Hollywood Park mixed-use project, and capital flowing into the market in every sector, the transformation is well underway. Stuart Gabriel, Arden Realty chair, professor of finance and director at the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate, along with Tim Kawahara, executive director at UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate, and Stephen Oliner, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior fellow at the UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate, participated in a community forum to educate and inform residents about the changes in the community. The conversation was positive, and the Ziman Center representatives affirmed that this was a great time for Inglewood and South Los Angeles. To find out more about the changes in the market, the community forum and the community’s response to the evolving market, we sat down with Gabriel for an exclusive interview.
GlobeSt.com: What is driving the revitalization of South L.A.?
Stuart Gabriel: The South L.A. zip codes are literally the last remaining well-located affordable zip codes in the L.A. basin, and those are surrounded by significantly more expensive housing markets. Inglewood is desirable because it is proximate to major employment centers, and we have seen a very significant rise in property values and demand for space from both residential and commercial. As the South Bay and Silicon Beach migrate into the South Bay, this is pushing demand for housing east. At the same time, we have the light rail that is pushing LAX to the Exposition line and to Downtown, and we have this significant development project that is not only a stadium, but it is also housing, retail, a park and community space. All of this is really working in favor of Inglewood.
GlobeSt.com: So, do you think that the transformation of the market was an inevitability, or do you see the Hollywood Park development as catalyzing the revitalization?
Gabriel: There is an inevitability to the transformation of Inglewood and in some ways we are hopeful that the Hollywood Park development can be catalytic, or if not fully catalytic, at least helpful to the transition.
GlobeSt.com: How has development and investment community changed its view of the market?
Gabriel: There was a time in the not-to-distant past, certainly in the timeframe of the Rodney King Riots in the early 1990s and prior to that when there was evidence of significant redlining of mortgage lending and other sorts of limitations on development in places like South L.A., and this was the subject of great concern and has been associated with very strict enforcement of fair lending laws. We have today a situation where we don’t see hesitancy on the part of capital coming into Inglewood, and in fact, we see the opposite. We see great interest of external capital in this area. Between the availability of capital for development, strong progressive leadership in Inglewood and a new transportation structure, strong external outside pressures that relate to very sharp upper adjustment evaluations on the coast, to the north and south of Inglewood all creates an ongoing evolution of economic change.
GlobeSt.com: Are there any concerns about this new investment and development in the market?
Gabriel: The one concern is whether gentrification of Inglewood is going to displace current residents including lower income residents, and there is economic research on this topic, but not that pertains to Inglewood. The research that we do have does not necessarily suggest displacement and we have significant new construction. We have a lot of reasons to be hopeful for Inglewood and for the residents of Inglewood and certainly for any property owner in Inglewood, because property values are going to rise.
GlobeSt.com: Is there concern from the community that this might happen? What has their response been to the revitalization?
Gabriel: The community is in a questioning mode and gathering information. They want to hear from the experts and understand all of the factors that driving growth and neighborhood change and development in Inglewood. They are trying to figure out whether this set of factors, which are many, will net out to be positives or not and for whom. That is a process that is going on, and something that we at UCLA are trying to assist in.