Ah, the Arts District, that last bastion of bohemian living where you can rent a 100-year-old loft, grab a craft beer down the street, and take in the sights and smells of homelessness in the morning.
And yet the Arts District today feels like it's over before it even had a chance to begin.
Haute dining has taken over some corners, dog walkers will drain your pooch, and loft prices can sometimes compete with the most ridiculous real estate the Westside has to offer. The punk ethos, constant break-ins and on-the-edge living that once defined the area seem long gone.
The last nail in the coffin might be this:
Irvine-based, planned-community developer SunCal—yes, we said it was a purveyor of fine neighborhoods built for your rich grandmother—has purchased a massive swath of Arts District land.
The company said this week that it bought 14.57 acres of future gentrification at Sixth and Alameda streets. The price was a reported $130 million.
SunCal senior vice president of public affairs David Soyka told us the company's brokers believe it's "the largest piece of contiguous land in the city" that was up for sale recently.
The parcel is home to two single-story food-distribution warehouses, among other buildings.
We wouldn't worry that SunCal is going to turn it into a country club, though. The firm said in a statement that its planning process would "include collaboration with the Arts District local partners, the general community and city officials:"
Potentially, the Arts District community could be interested in a variety of different forms of housing types including live/work and creative office space. This may also include public gathering space. Because of the property's size and significance in the Arts District, the grand vision will have to be unique and compliment the eclectic feel of the neighborhood.
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"We want to mix in with what's going on," Soyka told us. "We understand how cool that area is."
The old Arts District will never come back. That might not be a bad thing if you've ever been mugged there. And, if you like progress, it looks like this corner of the neighborhood is in good hands.
Soyka said the environmental review process should begin next year.