The City of LA plans to sell the empty space above the the Convention Center to increase development--9,000,000 square feet of unused "air rights." Also tonight, David Janssen won’t be the Mayor of LA County, but he’s about to become the most powerful local official in California history.
FROM THIS EPISODE
LA County is run by five elected supervisors, four of whom find it a cumbersome, inefficient way to do business. Yesterday, after voters turned down a proposal to create a County Mayor, supervisors endorsed another plan. With voter approval, the County’s Chief Administrative Officer will be given the power to oversee all department heads. Supervisors will be governed by a "non-intrusion" clause that bars them from issuing orders to county employees. The current CAO, David Janssen, tried to retire this year after 10 years in office, but qualified replacements turned down the job, in part because the limitations posed by the current structure.
David Janssen, Chief Administrative officer for Los Angeles County
The sale of the empty space above buildings has been a device for historic preservation. Instead of tearing them down, developers leave structures in place and build new ones equal in size to the original square footage, multiplied by a certain number of stories. Now, the City of Los Angeles wants to sell the so-called "air rights" above the Convention Center, not to preserve it, but to increase urban density. What sounds like a joke is instead an opportunity to turn the empty space into high-rise residential development. That space converts to seven towers 73 stories high. That's the size of the US Bank Building and it's set to go on sale at $20 a square foot. Is the price right? What about traffic congestion? We ask an urban planner and the councilwoman who represents the area.