Collateral Damage

Katie Briggs

Downtown Los Angeles has long been associated with crime, drugs and the notorious Skid Row, yet with the recent explosion of loft living, the business hub of Los Angeles is getting something it has always lacked – residents. The loft movement began in the 1990s when handfuls of Angelinos, fed up with the busy traffic and long commutes, began living in large open loft spaces in the Historic Bank District. “In the late 1990s there were about 12,000 lofts downtown. By 2008, it is estimated there will 24,000 (units), bringing more than 40,000 new residents in lofts alone,” developer Andre Saguine said. Although there is more and more new construction in the area, little is being done to make downtown a cleaner and safer place for the new loft inhabitants. There is a tangible give-and-take pull between new residents and the homeless population that have long called downtown their home. The question is: Who will win the struggle?