Gentrification from Massive Project Would Harm the Health of Residents in South Central LA, Study Finds

Mayor Garcetti and Council Member Price Refuse Community More Time for Input


Los Angeles, CA, October 26, 2015 – Community residents and stakeholders are sounding the alarm on sever impacts expected from a $1 billion development – known as “The Reef” – that is being fast-tracked by local officials. According to a new study, the gentrification caused by the proposed mega project in South Central LA would harm the health of local residents and risk displacing thousands.

Dr. Holly Avey, Ph.D., of Human Impact Partners said “Our study showed that thousands of residents near the project site would be at high or very high risk of financial strain or displacement due to the proposed Reef project.” The study further found:

  • Over 43,000 residents living within 2 miles of the project could be at risk of financial strain or displacement as a result of the Reef development project.
  • Gentrification causes both mental and physical health impacts occur among residents experiencing financial strain.
  • The effects of gentrification are already happening for small business in South Central LA

Area residents and small business owners are shocked and disappointed that Council Member Curren Price and Mayor Eric Garcetti would deny requests for more time for community input on the future of their neighborhood. “We have requested a meaningful community process and have been denied,” said local resident and business owner , Cynthia Bryant.



The UNIDAD Coalition and area neighborhood council groups have requested 45 more days to review the more than 3,000 pages of technical environmental impact documents. More time is needed to understand the full impacts, especially since initial analysis is troubling.

Developers of the Reef have proposed a massive mixed-use development consisting of 1,444 units of luxury housing in two 30-story towers, 162,000 feet of commercial space, a 208 room hotel, 2,733 parking spaces and 234,067 square feet of digital billboards. The project site is located within 1,000 feet of three schools and the homes of hundreds of residents who would be especially susceptible to the worsened air quality during the estimated 5 years of construction at the Reef.

Gentrification from the project has many local residents worried about displacement. Anayetzy lives near the Reef site and reflected, “I keep thinking, ‘What am I going to do if this doesn’t work out? Where am I going to go? Am I going to see my neighbors again? Where am I going to find this kind of community again? Going to have to start over. Going to be homeless, without a family.”


Members of the United Neighbors In Defense Against Displacement (UNIDAD) coalition are calling for “equitable” development that is driven by the community, invests in local residents and prioritizes anti-displacement measures. Benny Torres, of local non-profit CDTech, explained what’s at risk: “This is a vibrant community of residents, students and small business owners. We want investments that will strengthen the existing community, not lead to its displacement. Build with us, not on us.” And Joe Donlin, of Strategic Actions for a Just Economy added, “This community will not survive the gentrification the proposed Reef project would cause. If we want to avoid the mental, physical and social harm caused by displacement, we have to change how development is done and that begins with investing heavily in anti-displacement programs and policies first.”

For more info on this story, contact:
Joe Donlin
Strategic Actions for a Just Economy