The proposed redevelopment of the Santa Barbara Plaza (on MLK and arlton) by the Santa Barbara Plaza Partners, LLP is expected result in a regional shopping mall that will include a mix of "big box" retail outlets and a limited number of convenience stores. The development is expected to provide the Crenshaw community with access to goods and services heretofore not available, while creating jobs and other economic benefits to the surrounding area.
The redevelopment project, however, will displace 237 business owners and tenants. The dislocation of small and medium sized merchants not only disrupts one of the largest centers of African-American merchant in Los Angeles, but also removes essential neighborhood services that will not be a part of the proposed new development. Councilman Mark Ridgley-Thomas wants to mitigate, as much as possible, the negative impacts of the proposed redevelopment project. The goals to help Santa Barbara Plaza merchants understand and effectively negotiate their relocation benefits, and more importantly, to help them transition into new, more viable business opportunities.
The Community Development Technologies Center (CDTech) has been retained to help reposition the Santa barbara Plaza merchants (not the property owners) in their dynamic, changing retail environment. Accordingly, CDTech, in partnership with Meryll Lynch and others, established the Santa Barbara Plaza merchant Support Service Project (MSSP) to provide business transition planning, information, and technical assistance services for merchants located in the Santa Barbara Plaza redevelopment project area. The MSSP will provide: 1) a complete inventory of business tenants; 2) a business assistance package for each participating merchants that will profile the merchant's unique business needs and opportunities; and 3) group information and educational workshops on redevelopment, business planning and valuation and other topics.
CDTech requests economic development planning assistance from USC's Urban Planning students to assist with the assignment. The students would be responsible for developing a relocation strategy for the diisplaced merchants. This includes identifying existing retail/market opportunities and financing scenarios, such as vacant space in Crenshaw/Baldwin Hills mall. But more specifically, the students would identify commercial rehabilitation and new construction opportunities that might accomodate the relocation of merchants in the general Crenshaw area, including such areas as minimizing the impact of relocation, but enhancing the retail environment of the Crenshaw community.
The project time frame is now. A detailed inventory of number,
type, gross revenue, square footage requirements, market, and other pertinent
business information will be available for the student projects.
The students will be a part of a project team and will report directly
to Richard McNish who is responsible for commercial/retail relocation alternatives.