In an effort to restore an 11-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River, the L.A. City Council voted, unanimously, to close escrow on a 42-acre rail yard, known as G2 plot, for $59.3 million. Mayor Eric Garcetti believes the land is the crown jewel in their plan to enliven the Los Angeles River.
The former rail yard parcel, owned by Union Pacific, was once part of the 247-acre Taylor Yard railroad complex, which hosted train maintenance and fueling operations. Sections of the yard have been sold off over several decades. The plan is to turn the yard into park space, wetlands, and other amenities so that habitats are restored and Angelenos can gain access to river.
“It’s unheard of to have a parcel of this size that we can acquire next to the river for habitat restoration, for public use, for revitalization efforts — you name it,” said Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who heads the committee overseeing the river restoration effort. “In order to do anything along the river we must control the property.”
Because the soil is contaminated, the city’s plan for soil remediation and habitat restoration could cost the city about $252 million. The project is likely to take several years and is still short on funding by tens of millions of dollars.
Last May, the City Council voted to allocate $40 million for the purchase of the land. They had initially hoped the costs would be split between the city and the federal government. The city is counting on the state to provide $25 million of the purchase price.
They also expect the federal government will provide at least $25.4 million, but it’s unclear if the city will be able to secure the needed federal funds, in part because of the threat to withhold federal funds from cities with lenient policies toward illegal immigration.
L.A. is likely to be a target because of the LAPD’s longstanding policy of not initiating contact with a person solely to determine their immigration status.
The acquisition of the G2 plot is part of an overall 11-mile river project, which stretches from the northern end of Griffith Park to downtown Los Angeles. Two years ago, the estimated price tag was $1 billion, but it’s likely to be considerably costlier than originally budgeted.
The price tag for the overall initiative — purchasing land, ripping out concrete, adding water cleanup features, and reintroducing native habitat — is expected to reach $1.6 billion, as reported in the Los Angeles Times, and will cause some property owners to lose their land through the use of eminent domain. It’s also estimated that the city of Los Angeles may end up shouldering 76% of the financial burden.
Escrow on the G2 site is expected to close by March 1st.
It is likely property will be acquired through the use of eminent domain. If you are an affected property owner or business owner, you can learn more about your options by calling (866) EM-DOMAIN.