The Historic Core is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the City of Los Angeles. The community is made up of nearly 1:1 market rate and low-income housing. During the early 2000s, it was the epicenter of residential growth with the adaptive reuse ordinance, where previously abandoned or underutilized office and manufacturing was converted to housing. Along with the new units, under the 2005 Residential Hotel Ordinance, thousands of units of low income and permanent supportive housing were preserved.
The mission of the Historic Core Business Improvement District (HCBID) is to improve the quality of life of residents, property, and business owners in Downtown LA’s Historic Core through clean, safe, and enterprise programs. The HCBID is paid for by local tax assessments. Each contribution whether large or small helps keep the neighborhood cleaner and safer, helps local businesses grow and thrive, and supports the diverse neighborhood culture.
Historic Core of Downtown Los Angeles
At the “core” of their ongoing efforts to improve the Historic Core of Los Angeles is Noah Strouse, Marketing & Service Coordinator for the Historic Core Business Improvement District. We had a chance to chat with Noah and discuss what is going on in the Historic Core, new developments they are excited about, and how the Historic Core BID is promoting responsible development within the neighborhood.
Noah Strouse with HCBID’s Executive Director Blair Besten and Mayor Eric Garcetti
How would you describe the primary function of the HCBID?
The mission of the Historic Core Business Improvement District is to improve the quality of life of residents, property, and business owners in Downtown LA’s Historic Core through clean, safe, and enterprise programs.
Members of the Chrysalis Clean Team, working to keep the Historic Core clean and beautiful!
Besides providing street cleaning and security services, what else does the HCBID provide the community?
The HCBID provides marketing support for local businesses and events and sophisticated neighborhood branding to maximize exposure and investment for the area. The HCBID organizes community programming including a weekly Farmers Market that serves our diverse community by accepting EBT and facilitating a “Market Match” program for low-income individuals. We also host a monthly neighborhood retail block party “Shopwalk DTLA” with pop-ups, discounts, and special events throughout the neighborhood. To support our growing community of families and children, we coordinate monthly family programs like kids story and yoga hour.
Additionally, we provide beautification services with public parklets, planters, decorations, and other street amenities. We also host community-based forums whereby the residents and small businesses educate themselves on citywide programs, initiatives, laws, and concerns, and ultimately, have a voice in local issues which affect them. Finally, we spearhead neighborhood watch walks with local law enforcement. This year (2016) we opened Downtown’s first ground floor visitor’s center.
Ultimately, our vendors and service personnel strive each and every day to serve as outreach for those in need, and ambassadors to a beautifully diverse and rapidly growing district.
It is no secret that Downtown LA is a hotspot for developers. What kind of impact do you feel the Historic Core BID’s efforts have had on developers?
The HCBID has incentivized responsible development through neighborhood marketing, strategic lobbying, and improving quality of life via our street services. At a time when the City of Los Angeles and DTLA are in a dire housing crisis, we support the conversion and development of residential units to create sufficient housing stock.
The HCBID has supported our diverse neighborhood through advocating for development policies such as the 2005 Residential Hotel Ordinance, which preserved thousands of units of low income and permanent supportive housing.
HCBID is the organizer of Shopwalk DTLA, a day-long community block by block party of tours, discounts, special promotions, pop-ups, happy hours, and in-store events. Would you say that pop up shops are changing the face of retail space, and if so, how?
More and more young brands are looking for innovative ways to interact with their customers. Pop-ups, street fairs, marketplaces, and curated shopping experiences have proven to be an effective and economic way to test your product in front of a large and diverse audience. Shopwalk provides a monthly platform for local artisans, designers, and brands to connect to the DTLA community, and offers our residents a chance to shop local.
Do you have any upcoming events or special announcements that would be of interest to local developers?
On June 5th, the Historic Core will host a supersized Shopwalk in partnership with an eco-friendly pop-up marketplace by Urban Air Market, an Expo Line bar crawl by Tri-City Alliance, the Regent Theater’s Rock n Roll Flea Market, Grand Central Market’s LA Bread Festival, and more. It will be a great day to see the neighborhood activated with visitors and business and a vision of what Downtown will look like in the future as more and more residential buildings come online.
We’re also working with Yelp on a fall event series called “Passport to the Historic Core” which will bring Angelenos of all stripes to the neighborhood for 2 weeks of great programming and special offers. Additionally, the annual Night on Broadway festival in January does a fantastic job of honoring the old and new Downtown and draws huge crowds – last year we had an estimated 75,000 attendees.
For a list of all upcoming events, check out the event calendar here
Are there any new local businesses or developments within the Historic Core that you are excited about? If so, why are you excited about it and what is the benefit they will provide the neighborhood?
We have several new and converted residential buildings currently under construction including the Jade Topaz, Banco Popular building, two towers by Holland Partners, plus dozens more in the entitlement process. Commercially, the conversion of historic Broadway buildings by firms such as Kings Arch and the Broadway Trade Center are enormously promising with millions of square feet of retail, hotels, and more coming soon.
What would you say is the Historic Core BID’s proudest accomplishment to date?
Navigating the complexities of a very diverse neighborhood with a variety of needs and serving to unify the people within it.
Noah Strouse and Blair Besten with the DTLA Safety Team
For more information about the Historic Core and the Business Improvement District, visit historiccore.bid