Celebrating the groundbreaking for The Curve
at West Angeles are, from left, Bill Witte, Dr. Lula
Ballton, L.A. County Supv. Mark Ridley-Thomas,
Bishop Charles E. Blake and Belinda Allen. (Ian Foxx Photo)

Sunny skies and beautiful weather were the perfect complement to the June 29 groundbreaking ceremony on a new affordable senior housing development for seniors and special needs residents.

The Curve at West Angeles project, located on the southeast corner of 54th Street and Crenshaw Blvd., is a joint venture of West Angeles Community Development Corporation (WACDC) and Related Companies of California and scores of civic leaders and senior citizens came out to applaud the construction of the $24 million structure.

The transit-oriented features five stories of 70 residential units and 2,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The studio and one-bedroom apartments will be allocated to seniors making between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income.  Rents will be set between $473 and $1,014 per month.

“We give everybody who is concerned about homelessness credit for our accomplishments.  I stand before you with a very grateful heart. For 24 wonderful years, WACDC has been at the forefront of building a stronger South L.A. and surrounding communities,” said Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., chairman emeritus of WACDC as well as presiding prelate of the Church of God in Christ, Inc., and pastor of West Angeles COGIC.

Blake also commended Dr. Lula Ballton, WACDC CEO emeritus, who began work on the project in 2006, and Belinda Allen, WACDC executive director, for their leadership in transforming the proposed development into reality.

The new development is said to aid in the fight against homelessness, and will improve the overall quality of life for residents. (courtesy photo)

“We’re excited about creating a new asset on Crenshaw Blvd. Our mission at WACDC is to increase social and economic justice to demonstrate compassion and alleviate poverty. We do it as a tangible expression of the kingdom of God. That’s what we’re all about,” Ballton said.

Allen added, “We are happy to partner with California Related and improve the lives for seniors in the South L.A. community.”

Remarking that the new development will aid the fight against homelessness, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas noted, “This project is timely, relevant and urgent. We need to build more such units. In L.A. County, we are 500,000 units short.   Through Measure H, we will build approximately 53 units per month. We owe a great debt to indigenous faith-based developers like WACDC.”

As described on the web page of design firm KFA Architecture, the project went through an extensive conceptual design phase that focused on sustainability and quality of life for residents. The final design includes a linear courtyard open on both ends with light and air and programmed for active walking along with common amenities such as a community room, a laundry facility, and bike lockers.

The project’s architecture reflects the Crenshaw Corridor’s history of Art Deco architecture from the 1930s and 1940s, including the historic Baldwin Hills Mall and the Vision Theater on the Leimert Park plaza.

“I thank WACDC for inviting us to participate to help them realize their vision. This isn’t just bricks and mortar, it’s for the totality of services for the seniors that will live here and a stabilizing presence in this changing community,” said Bill Witte, whose company, Related, has constructed 1,500 affordable housing units in L.A. County.

Alluding to the city’s overwhelming homelessness, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer added, “The vision of West Angeles and Related should be heard throughout Los Angeles. The vision is that no one is homeless and [everyone] deserves the respect and dignity in a place that they can feel good about it.”

Other speakers supporting the project were L.A. Deputy Mayor Brenda Shockley, Wells Fargo Bank vice president and WACDC board chairman Byron Reed, and KJLH marketing director and WACDC board secretary Gregory L. Johnson.