The area of downtown Los Angeles, known as DTLA, has had an explosion of eating and drinking establishments with new bars and restaurants opening constantly on every block. I live at 4th and Main and each of the four corners has not one but several bars and restaurants serving alcohol.
I first moved downtown in 2007 and have seen the changes first-hand. In the center of all this redevelopment in the area, called the “Historic Core,” sits a new apartment building, the New Genesis Apartments at 5th and Main. The name fits perfectly as the building is a project of the Skid Row Housing Trust and houses some former addicts, alcoholics and homeless people, providing a new start for those willing and able to make it. The complex is part of the city of Los Angeles’ social programs that offer homeless people a path to success, starting with shelters and treatment, and leading to semi-independent apartment living with on-site counseling and programs. Not all of the people residing in the building are in treatment, some of the units are reserved for middle or low-income tenants who would could not normally afford to live in the area. The popularity of DTLA has pushed rents to very high levels, with 600 square foot apartments and lofts going for $2,000 per month.
Like many apartment buildings in the area, this one was built with ground-floor retail spaces, which provide needed income to make the building financially viable. A cool ice cream shop moved into one of the retail spaces but when a popular food truck, Great Balls on Tires, wanted to move in and serve beer and wine, the community protested. The city zoning administrator then denied the alcohol permit.
The local buzz
I live three doors down from the complex and there are no less than eight bars or restaurants serving alcohol all within a one-block radius. Many neighbors, including myself, feel we just don’t need another place selling booze, especially given the residents of the building. Those people trying for a new start in life have enough temptation around them, they don’t need it in their own building as well. Other residents of the area feel there should be liquor sold there, because there are already so many establishments in the immediate vicinity selling it anyway. I feel the area is so hot and in demand right now, there are alternatives, other types of businesses which would not sell alcohol.