The situation Downtown LA faces today is dramatically different from 1999. Where the 1999 Adaptive Reuse Ordinance served as a catalyst for broad-based urban revitalization, today’s DTLA is already a dense and dynamic mixed-use district and destination, and world-class center for arts and culture. It is also home to almost 100,000 residents, a number that is expected to double in the coming years.
At the same time, significant shifts currently underway are changing how and where people work and live, and that has important implications for the nature and identity of Downtown, particularly its central business district. Adaptive reuse is a vital tool for enabling communities like DTLA to address these changes and the challenges and opportunities that come with them.
Thus, while today’s circumstances differ from those of 1999, the necessity and potential for reinvention is no less compelling. And as was the case in the previous era, we must look beyond the formal concept of conversion and more broadly embrace an effort to adapt and repurpose some of the many existing assets that have been developed over the past 20 years.