Casitas Lofts Will Set Dangerous Precedent Along LA River

Photo Courtesy of Clockshop

Casitas Lofts—the proposed luxury housing development along the Los Angeles River—is still alive and poised to exacerbate LA’s housing crisis while cutting off access to nature for low-income neighborhoods along the L.A. River. A new Partially Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report (PR-DEIR) for the development has just been released, and while it added some much-needed analysis of the project’s potential hazardous waste and hydrology impacts, the new report did not address the community’s long list of concerns about the project and the proposed development program itself (total square footage, number of units, number of parking spaces, etc.) remains unchanged.

Friends of the Los Angeles River (FOLAR), Clockshop, and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) have been working for over three years to uplift the local community’s voice and highlight how the Casitas Lofts is the wrong project in the wrong place. Not only does the project pose logistical and environmental issues in the area such as blocked fire lanes, increased air pollution, and a surge in traffic congestion, it also presents a deeply problematic disregard for the existing communities surrounding it.

With a meager 8% of the project dedicated to low-income affordable units, the developer has revealed a continued lack of concern for community members’ very real fears of displacement associated with this project’s ripple effect on surging property values, speculation and ensuing median rents. And the 419-unit multi-story private development will sit directly at the only entrance to the Bowtie Parcel, an 18-acre stretch of land that provides valuable access to nature to the surrounding Glassell Park and Atwater Village communities—neighborhoods that have long suffered from a lack of access to green space—and will serve as a green entryway into an eventual 100-acre swath of public open space at Taylor Yard. The location of the Casitas project creates both a psychological and physical barrier, deterring those in the neighborhood—many of whom are lower-income community members—and the general public from accessing and feeling welcomed at this restored land.

As the first proposed development of this scale along the river, Casitas Lofts would set a dangerous precedent for future riverfront development and public access to nature. It offers no tangible benefits for the community. And as we’ve said before, any development along or near the Los Angeles River needs to be “equitable and sustainable.” This development is neither.

Visit our Action Page to submit a comment on the newly released PR-DEIR and tell L.A. city officials to reject the Casitas Lofts project and ensure an equitable and sustainable future for the L.A. River.