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South L.A. officially marks opening of retail-housing complex

June 7, 2010 | 12:27 pm

Los Angeles officials planned to mark the grand opening Monday of a $40.6-million retail and residential development that backers say has brought renewed life to a long-neglected corner of South Los Angeles.

The project at East Adams Boulevard and South Central Avenue includes 80 apartments for low- and moderate-income residents, as well as a Fresh & Easy grocery store and other retail space at street level. The apartments are situated above the retail outlets.

Developers are hopeful that Bank of America, which helped fund the project, will open a branch at the site. A mix of city, state and federal funding helped finance the development, which involved public tax credits and a Bank of America loan, said Chris Maffris, an official with developer Meta Housing Corp.

The South L.A. neighborhood has long lacked shopping venues, forcing many to either travel long distances to shop or to buy products at corner groceries, where choices are limited and prices may be higher than at large chain supermarkets. New affordable housing is also in short supply.

The newly developed site has long been vacant and littered with trash, Maffris said. A grocery store that once existed there has been out of business for years, he said. The new project began two years ago.

Rents at the complex range from $497 to $887 per month, depending on income, for the one-, two- and three- bedroom units, he said. The apartments already are fully occupied. The Fresh & Easy grocery store has been open since February.

-- Patrick J. McDonnell