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Survey says: Arts District residents want more grocery stores, restaurants and green space

By Hayley Fox
Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2012, at 03:36PM
Omar Shamout

Arts District residents want more groceries and more green space, according to a new study.

Arts District residents seem to be living the good life, according to a new study -- they're mostly wealthy, young, educated and work in a variety of "creative industries." According to a new demographics survey released by the Business Improvement District (BID) in the area, about 90 percent of residents have jobs, and the average annual household income is $126,000.

The internet survey polled 286 residents out of the area's approximately 2000, said Estela Lopez, executive director of the district's BID. The study included the Arts District 60-block neighborhood, bound by 7th Place, Alameda, the 101 Freeway and the L.A. River.

The survey concluded that the average amount of time residents have lived in the area is three years and that the average age of an Arts District dweller is 38. About 60 percent of the area's residents are men and 71 percent of are Caucasian.

The study also evaluated quality of life factors such as employment, income, education and extracurriculars -- in addition to polling residents about what they think their neighborhood is lacking.

This is where the BID comes in.

"Every BID has economic development as one of the pillars as why it exists," said Lopez.

She said this survey helps identify what type of amenities are needed in certain areas: In the Arts District, it's grocery stores, restaurants and green spaces. As of now, the only park the Arts District has is a dog park -- and that's mostly dirt, said Lopez.

Those surveyed also asked for more retail and food stores (a Trader Joe's was the overwhelming choice), where they can buy healthy, prepared food to-go.

One thing the district is not short on? Coffee shops. The Arts District is "the most caffeinated area" in Downtown, said Lopez with a laugh.

Lopez said the types of businesses the Arts District attracts "aren't the cookie cutter options you'd find anywhere else" -- so this survey is merely a jumping off point for the BID to try to attract the businesses residents want.

On Friday, Lopez and her organization will lead a tour of DTLA for prospective tenants to try and encourage investments in the area.

“This great enclave of individuals, businesses and organizations have come together to form this vibrant community,” said Lopez in a statement. “Now we want to make sure that the neighborhood evolves in a way that provides the kind of services our residents, businesses and visitors need and seek, yet stays true to its creative DNA and innovative edge.”

BIDs throughout Downtown have used this survey tool to build their local economy, Lopez said, citing the Ralph's supermarket on 9th Street as a direct product of a similar study.

The survey conducted this month was the first for the Arts District, said Lopez. She added that now is the prime time to do it, because the area has changed so dramatically over the past few years.


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