Into The 'Woods

March 17, 2016
With the Rams comes new development in Inglewood.

A development boom is coming to Inglewood. A number of high profile projects are coming to the predominantly African-American and Latino city of 110,000 adjacent to South Los Angeles. Major urban development is underway, from the construction of a new metro rail line to the multi-billion dollar redevelopment of the Hollywood Park Racetrack with residential, retail, hotels, and a brand new 80,000-seat stadium for a recently approved NFL team’s relocation.

It’s a significant about-face for the city, which has long been associated with gang crime and its proximity to the flight paths and runways of LAX. But with this development comes concern, mainly about how these new projects will change the community. Some are worried that this new wave of development will end up displacing longtime residents—through rising property values, increased competition for local businesses, and outright gentrification.

“There is a fear now that Inglewood has been, for lack of a better term, ‘rediscovered.’ Because for many decades, Inglewood’s just kind of been here and nobody’s cared about Inglewood or thought about Inglewood one way or the other,” said Anne Cheek La Rose, a 27-year resident. She says renewed attention will inevitably result in some change. “But any thinking person, it appears to me, would understand that gentrification is not necessarily a bad thing. It is the way that it is done that can make it bad,” she added.

“I don’t think people really understand that it’s already in motion,” said Odest Riley Jr., CEO of the Inglewood-based real estate company WLM Financial. He says the big new developments are only fueling a process that been underway for years. “I have people come to me and say ‘I really want to move to Inglewood,’ and I’m like, ‘You’re already priced out. It’s too late. The houses are selling for $400,000, $500,000. You should have bought two or three years ago, when they were giving them away.’” ...