Developers Chosen to Replace Watts’ Jordan Downs

Jessica Garrison, Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2012

Los Angeles’ housing authority board chose developers Thursday for a $1-billion effort to redevelop the Jordan Downs housing project in Watts, a crucial step toward revitalizing one of the city’s poorest and most violence-plagued neighborhoods.

The plan calls for knocking down the 700-unit project whose name has become synonymous with urban blight and replacing it with a larger “urban village” of up to 1,800 new homes, stores and a park.

More than a third of the units would be reserved for families now living in the dilapidated two-story buildings, many of whom pay little rent and have lived in public housing for generations. But officials also envision selling several hundred units at market rate, and hope to make the new community inviting to retailers and more affluent residents.


Significant questions remain about how the project will be financed.

The housing authority has about $15 million in federal housing replacement funds and has identified some other funding sources, but officials said many details must still be worked out.


Jordan Downs is among the city’s oldest housing projects. It was built as a temporary shelter for factory workers during World War II and became public housing for the poor in the 1950s.

In later years, the Grape Street Crips claimed the project as their turf. Police and residents now say crime is down and conditions are much better than a few years ago, but many people living there have lost someone they know to violence. On a recent day, a makeshift shrine, with candles and liquor bottles, sat not far from the project’s community center.


There are about 2,400 people living in Jordan Downs. Under the plan, all of those complying with the terms of their leases will be eligible to move into the new development. In recent months, officials have been offering an extensive array of social services at the project, including groups for mothers and fathers.



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  • Sounds like a carbon copy of what is replacing the Cabrini Greens in Chicago.  Yeah, they’ll let some of the former “pro-gek” dwellers remain, but they’ll be carefully screened and cherry-picked.  Most will have to move elsewhere, in LA’s case, to the high desert or inland.  Where:,0,7407040.story

    • Oil Can Harry

      Excuse me, but Cabrini-Green and this place in Watts were HAUNTED HOUSES. People who entered were possessed by evil spirits and that explains the high crime rate.

      This has NOTHING to do with race which is a social construct anyway.

  • So let me get this straight, they are spending $1 Billion to redevelop an area that is inhabited by 2,400 completely useless welfare dependents?  That comes out to roughly $416,600 PER PERSON! Ok someone on this project is raking in some SERIOUS cash.  There is no way in hell ANY High IQ white developer would ever believe that this development is going to be the thing that “turns these people’s lives around.”  What a joke.  Too bad Amren didn’t include the final line of the article:

    “After the vote, residents gathered with the new developers to pose
    for pictures. One child wore a shirt that said “WATTS IS WORTH IT.”  That was the slogan the group chanted instead of “cheese” before the photos were snapped.

    • Blacks practice magical thinking. There’s no problem in the black community that can’t be solved with large amounts of other peoples money.

      Mo’ money, same problems.

    • mikejones91

      Just like EVERY other urban redevelopment project started in a black majority (black hole) area, it will be BACK in shambles within a decade. (probably less)

  • WmarkW

    Let’s try an experiment.  Move all the residents into the dorms of a local university, and the students into Jordan Downs.  Observe crime and other pathological patterns.  See if a slum is defined by architecture.

    • Oil Can Harry

      Well said. Also, note the relatively low crime rates in the majority-white projects that existed in the mid-20th Century in places like Boston, NY and Philadelphia. 

    • I have a theory about black failure and white success.

      White folk go around and they find places I call ‘nodes of propensity’; magical vortexes  that enable residents to prosper and thrive.  The land mass of the United States is one large node of prosperity. That’s why white folk have been successful; the physical SPACE empowers the people who inhibit it to magical prosper through no effort of their own.  

      Of course, my theory always breaks down when blacks and Hispanics move into white ‘nodes of prosperity’ and then the magical vortex seems to lose it’s powers. I haven’t worked out that part yet.

      I’m working on refining this theory. 

      • robinbishop34

        “when blacks and Hispanics move into white ‘nodes of prosperity’ …the magical vortex seems to lose it’s powers.”

        Blacks and Hispanics are like human kryptonite to societal prosperity and advancement.

  • “The plan calls for knocking down the 700-unit project  whose name has become synonymous with urban blight…”

    Don’t they all?

  • IstvanIN

    Projects don’t have to be stylish to be safe.

    From the 1940s to about 1972 I had n aunt who lived in McGuire Homes in Camden, NJ and it was fine until they integrated it.  Slowly the old white widows moved out and the place went to h#ll.  Even my poor aunt had to move out, and she did have a “racist” bone in her body.  The place just became too dangerous because of you know who.

  • For those of you who have the streaming service from the red envelope DVD company, “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth” can be viewed online now.  Yes, it engages in a lot of left wing excuse-ology, but they make it obvious to read between the lines.

  • This is just an excuse to move these Welfare people into your neighborhoods.  Everyone knows the Government will never put these people out on the Street so, they’ll end up in your neighborhood still paying six bucks a month for rent but this time, they’ll have a house.

    • ageofknowledge

      And history shows that the house becomes the anchor of the streetgang that will take over the neighborhood and corrupt the youth on that block making them worthless citizens.

      • About 10 years ago, they closed the ‘Perry Project’ in Buffalo as part of HUDs HOPE VI initiative to decentralize poverty.

        They gave the residents housing vouchers and bus schedules and directed them to my neighborhood.

        We’ve had three major drug busts involving 20 to 30 arrests. Luckily, police officers actually live in this community so they know what’s going on and they know how to  take action. I’ve had some frank discussions with officers after community meetings and they know who is who and they have no intention of losing their homes to these criminals.

        It’s not the best but we do have the police watching for trouble and taking action. 

        I have seen first hand black drug gangs set up shop. They have their lookouts standing on street corners. When they see a police car, they turn and slowly walk away only later to return.

        Black leaders complain that their black youth are profiled and harassed by the police. There’s a reason. Black males standing around on street corners are usually involved in criminal activity.

        • ageofknowledge

          Just imagine when the politicians and the police in your city are Hispanic and on the take how much they will care then.

  • ageofknowledge

    The problem is the government doesn’t qualify the poor properly.  They refuse to see the difference between a hard working middle-aged person that slaved their whole life paying them taxes before losing everything and developing a serious health problem and the 4th generational crip.

  • patriotdad76

    When their expectations were raised by the communist backed MLK. They were not however expecting equal rights, but rather equal RESULTS.

    And they expected that they would not have to work for it. Workin is for slaves…

    When their raised expectations were not met, they turned violent.

  • Up to my neck in CA

    Maybe this is why there are no trees in the ghetto.