There have been various attempts to revitalize downtown LA over years, an area which saw its heyday in the years preceding the Great Depression. As the suburban communities began to spread over the LA area in the post-war era, downtown was forgotten and fell on hard times.
Though many legal and financial firms remained in downtown, the area was a virtual ghost town during non-working hours as late as the early 2000’s. The area had few full-time residents and most of those were low-income. However, immigrant communities did establish a foothold in the area over the years, occupying classic storefronts and turning classic movie houses into churches.
My how times have changed. Downtown has seen a great amount of upscale residential development and a raft of new restaurants and entertainment venues to cater to these new, fairly well off residents.
Much of the development has been driven my Millennials who favor urban environments and, having been scarred by the housing bubble, are reticent to become homeowners just yet, especially in suburban environments they grew up in. And, of course, many simply can’t afford a downtown payment to buy a home in the LA area. It is estimated to take 21 years to save enough for a downpayment on an LA area home.
A great deal of the financing to build in downtown has come from Chinese investors anxious about their native country’s cooling economy and their governments increasing monetary restrictions.
Yet, how durable will the revivable be as these Millenials’ priorities change as they age, progress in their careers and become parents? The hottest restaurant or club and the ability to job hop becomes less important. School quality becomes more important and homeownership makes more financial sense.