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50 Years Ago: Bunker Hill Funds Approved

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, October 30, 2009, at 10:54AM
1960 View of Bunker Hill Plan Los Angeles Examiner / USC Digital Archives [digitallibrary.usc.edu]

A 1960 diagram shows the Bunker Hill redevelopment plan.

Fifty years ago today, $58 million in federal funding for Los Angeles' 136-acre Bunker Hill redevelopment project was announced, paving the way for the city's redevelopment agency to begin acquiring land.

At the time, Community Redevelopment Agency head Joseph T. Bill told the L.A. Times that "within six years after the land buying begins, all the new buildings on Bunker Hill should be completed." Six, give or take 45 or so...

Senator Thomas Kuchel's October 30, 1959, announcement of the approval was in many ways a formality. The head of the Federal Housing Administration had given his ok earlier in the year.

Still, it was an important enough milestone that the headline ran across the entire front page of the Times the following day.

The $58 million was intended to create $250 million in private investment, turning Bunker Hill from a neighborhood of rundown Victorian mansions into a commercial core.

While many people wax nostalgic about the history that was lost to the wrecking crews, the project was eventually a success. The office towers that were finally built on the hilltop hold many of Downtown's jobs.

Timeline-wise, though, the project didn't exactly go as planned. Most of the towers weren't built until the 1980s, and the parcels intended to house the Grand Avenue Project still sit as parking lots awaiting development.

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