Councilmember Huizar, the Department of Recreation and Parks and MacFarlane Partners announce $2 million in funding and the creation of Pershing Square Renew, a collaborative initiative to re-envision Pershing Square
Los Angeles (September 17, 2014) – Councilmember José Huizar, the Department of Recreation and Parks and MacFarlane Partners announced Wednesday that $2 million has been pledged toward the overhaul and improvement of Pershing Square, a five-acre urban park in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. This marks the beginning of a joint partnership between the city and the Councilmember’s Pershing Square Renew initiative to overhaul and improve Pershing Square in the short and long term.
A year ago, Councilmember Huizar created a task force of 21 Downtown stakeholders to come up with ideas and concepts on how to re-imagine Downtown Los Angeles’ historic Pershing Square, which first became dedicated as public space in 1866. The group included Downtown residents, design and architectural experts, business representatives and property owners, as well as representatives from governmental agencies like the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, LAPD and the City’s Planning Department.
Today, the task force is engaged in the process of developing a joint partnership between the City and a newly created entity, Pershing Square Renew, which will work with the Department of Recreation and Parks to conduct intensive community outreach and engagement around an effort to redesign the square.
“Pershing Square lies in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles and has a storied history as an important public space,” said Councilmember José Huizar. “With the help of the community and the additional resources that we are announcing today, Pershing Square Renew gives us a unique opportunity to re-imagine this historic square and return it to its former glory as an iconic public space.”
MacFarlane Partners, one of the task force partners and the developer of a 99,000-square-foot-site at 5th and Olive Streets overlooking Pershing Square, announced a $1 million pledge to seed Pershing Square Renew.
“The timing for Pershing Square’s redesign is perfect for Downtown and for our project,” said Jeff Berris, Managing Director of Development for MacFarlane Partners, and the chairman of the original task force. “It is our distinct pleasure to assist Pershing Square in reaching its full potential as a world-class public space.”
Additionally, the Department of Recreation and Parks announced $1 million in funding that will go toward the park in the immediate future for infrastructure improvements and amenities.
“We have made great progress in improving our collaboration with the downtown community through improved programming, summer concerts and capital improvement plans,” said Recreation and Parks General Manager Mike Shull. “I am excited about continuing to build on that success and to evolve Pershing Square into the park that best fits the current and future needs of the downtown community.”
Eduardo Santana, a Southern California native with 15 years of experience in community and real estate development, has been named the Executive Director of Pershing Square Renew, and will be tasked with overseeing the activities of the volunteer task force, fundraising and community outreach. Gensler LA, a global design and architecture firm, and a member of the original task force, developed the group’s name and logo and We Are Giants, a Downtown-based creative agency, designed its website (pershingsquarenew.com).
This is not the first time that Huizar has spearheaded a massive revitalization effort in Downtown. His Bringing Back Broadway initiative, which started six years ago, is credited with spearheading a rash of revitalization along the Broadway corridor that has attracted the likes of the Ace Hotel, Urban Outfitters, Acne, Umami Burger and a revitalized Grand Central Market.
“As an urban planner, I am passionate about taking our public spaces, whether they be streets, parks or squares, improving them, making them more livable, more pedestrian friendly and ultimately improving the quality of life for Angelenos in the neighborhoods that they live in,” Councilmember Huizar said.
About Pershing Square Renew
Pershing Square Renew, Inc. was created to drive the re-design of Pershing Square, a five-acre urban park in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. Bounded by 5th Street to the north, 6th Street to the south, Hill Street to the east, and Olive Street to the west, Pershing Square has been a popular gathering place since 1866. The effort to re-envision historic Pershing Square is led by Councilmember José Huizar, the Department of Recreation and Parks, MacFarlane Partners and other Downtown leaders. For more information, visit: www.pershingsquarenew.org.
About MacFarlane Partners
MacFarlane Partners is a real estate development and investment management firm with approximately $4 billion in assets managed on behalf of some of the world’s largest pension plans and institutions. Founded in 1987, the firm pioneered the urban investment concept among institutional real estate investment managers in the 1990s and today is a leading investor and developer of properties that promote smart growth, urban revitalization and sustainability in urban and high-density suburban areas nationwide. MacFarlane Partners is headquartered in San Francisco, with regional offices in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. For additional information, please visit the firm’s website at www.macfarlanepartners.com.
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