Historic Downtown Los Angeles

Design guidelines are one of many urban planning tools communities can use to encourage adaptive reuse, rehabilitation, and enhancement of older downtown areas. This approach has been adopted and implemented in many of America’s largest cities, including New York, Seattle, and Denver. In many cases these programs are city-sponsored, but have the overwhelming support of merchant associations, building owners, business improvement districts, or downtown associations.

In Los Angeles, a consortium of interest groups including the Los Angeles Conservancy (the Conservancy), the Historic Core Business Improvement District (BID), the Downtown Center BID, and the Fashion District BID, sponsored and prepared the Historic Downtown Los Angeles Design Guidelines (Design Guidelines) with a grant from the Getty Grant Program’s “Preserve LA.”

The purpose of the Design Guidelines is to aid the BIDs, the Conservancy, government agencies, building owners, developers, ten-ants, merchants, architects, and contractors in embarking upon effective preservation and adaptive reuse projects in Los Angeles’ historic commercial center. The historic character of downtown is one of its greatest assets, and the Design Guidelines are intended to highlight and promote these features. They serve as a tool to enhance economic activity and attract investment in the area by encouraging high quality, historically compatible design.