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Citywide Adaptive Reuse Program Unveiled to Tackle Los Angeles Housing Crisis

Innovative Strategy Converts Underutilized Buildings into Affordable Housing

By Dolores Quintana

In a bid to address the city’s housing crisis, City Planning is launching the Citywide Adaptive Reuse program, the first of six core strategies under the Citywide Housing Incentive Program. This innovative approach aims to convert underutilized or historically significant buildings into much-needed housing.

Adaptive Reuse, already successful in Downtown Los Angeles since 1999, has played a crucial role in the area’s revitalization, resulting in over 12,000 housing units in its first 15 years. Building upon this triumph, the expanded program will now extend Adaptive Reuse conversions citywide, with reduced regulatory burdens, opening new avenues for housing for Angelenos.

“Los Angeles needs more housing than Angelenos can afford. Adaptive reuse development can help bring much-needed housing online throughout the city. I look forward to working with the City Planning Commission, City Council, and communities across Los Angeles to receive input on this important policy,” expressed Mayor Karen Bass.

Director of Planning Vince Bertoni explained, “The Adaptive Reuse Ordinance seeks resourceful solutions to create more housing opportunities. Reusing existing buildings is a sustainable practice that conserves resources and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, by integrating commercial and residential spaces, conversions can improve air quality, reduce vehicle trips, and bring people closer to jobs and services.”

Crafted with post-pandemic economic recovery in mind, the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance incentivizes the conversion of commercial buildings to housing. It streamlines the review process for older structures, allows for flexible unit sizes, and enables buildings to retain their original shell while converting the interior to housing. This approach aims to minimize vacant space, extend building lifespan, lower carbon emissions, and breathe new life into historic structures while creating additional housing opportunities.

City staff will host three webinars from June 6 to  June 8 to provide more information about the program, and you can access the information here. The webinars will cover program details, revisions to the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance, and opportunities for feedback. Interested individuals can access the draft Adaptive Reuse Ordinance and Citywide Adaptive Reuse Fact Sheet by clicking here and here, respectively. Sign up for updates here to stay updated on the Citywide Adaptive Reuse Ordinance and the Citywide Housing Incentive program.

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