Los Angeles Downtown Center
Business Improvement District
HISTORY AND PURPOSE: On Feb. 12, 1998, Downtown Los Angeles joined more than 1,000 cities in North America by forming a Business Improvement District (BID). An impressive 65 percent of the property owners in the Downtown Center -- The Heart of the City -- voted to approve the BID, resulting in a voluntary assessment by 250 property owners of six to eight cents per square foot to fund BID operations.
Although Downtown Los Angeles remains the regions cultural, financial, government and employment center, it suffers from inaccurate public perceptions. Through the BID, property owners aim to dispel the myths about the area, and let the public know that Downtown is safe and clean.
Like successful BIDs in Philadelphia, Denver, Portland, New Yorks Times Square and Wall Street areas, the Downtown Center BID plans to revitalize the city center by marketing the area as a premier location for business, culture, entertainment and retailing.
The budget of about $3.6 million raised each year from assessments provides street cleaning and safety services to supplement those of local agencies, plus economic development and marketing programs.
Consisting of 482 properties totaling 60 million sq. ft., the BID includes 65 blocks, bounded roughly by the Harbor Freeway to the West, First Street to the North, Main and Hill Streets to the East, and Ninth Street and Olympic Boulevard to the South.
BID SERVICES: The BID conducts a three-pronged program to strengthen Downtown's economy:
· Safe & Clean. One of the BID's top priorities is to assure the general public that Downtown streets are free of crime and refuse. Safe & Clean operates a storefront Service Center at 801 S. Hill Street, open to the public and property owners for safety and maintenance concerns from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily, and available by phone round the clock at 213-624-2425.
· The Purple Patrol, a highly visible team of 45 purple-shirted workers, supplements city services 24 hours daily. It provides three important functions:
· Maintenance -- Twelve men and women operate three state-of-the-art automated sidewalk cleaning machines tagged with the BID purple logo, pick up trash, and remove graffiti. The entire team are graduates of Chrysalis, a nonprofit program that works with formerly homeless individuals.
· Safety -- A team of purple-shirted officers on bicycles and in vehicles patrols the area, and serves as a liaison to LAPD's Central Division. The BID contracts with Wells Fargo Guard Services for staff.
· Downtown Guides -- Ambassadors walking the District answer questions and give directions to the public.
· Economic Development. Downtown Center BID staff and board members develop programs and materials directed toward property owners, real estate brokers and developers, site selectors, government, and small commercial businesses to retain and attract more investment and new jobs into the city's historic core. A new "Heart of the City" business development brochure is available.
· Marketing. A Heart of the City advertising and marketing campaign promotes Downtown, with its numerous cultural, entertainment, restaurant and retail attractions, as a destination to the Downtown office work force, area residents, visitors, and the general business community. Publicity about the Purple Patrol delivers the message that Downtown is clean and safe. Special events, city beautification and joint retail promotions are also underway.
A 21-member board of directors, comprised of owners from key area businesses, universities, cultural institutions and the media governs the BID. Carol E. Schatz, Downtown Center BID president, heads a professional staff of nine.