Community Organizers and Residents Protest the Reef’s South LA Development Plans

By Hawken Miller

Residents and community advocates protested outside the Reef development project in South Los Angeles on Monday to demand that City Council members vote down a plan that would allow developers to build apartments, condominiums and retail space across a 9.7-acre site.

The proposed design includes more than 1 million square feet of new buildings, with 528 apartments, 895 condos, multiple hotels, a grocery store and 28,000 square feet of restaurants. The two-block complex will be located on the corner of Broadway and Washington Boulevard.

Outside the Reef project, protesters chanted, “We want affordable housing!” and “No more Reef!” They think the project will push people out of the area because residents cannot afford to pay the high rent, which they say will increase in surrounding areas with the addition of the development.

“These 43,000 people at risk should be considered before anyone else,” protester Donnaliseth Quintanilla said. “They’re being [sic] at risk because the price…and the extreme inflation of rent.”

If the development is passed, Dreamers of South Central LA, a group that organized the protest, said they want half of the Reef’s residential development to be affordable housing.

Adriana Cabrera, LA City Council candidate for the 9th District, also said it is important to support residents in the community who are at risk of gentrification.

“I am here to stand in solidarity with my community,” Cabrera said. “I have lived here for 24 years and it’s important that when we see something that’s going to cause displacement, that we stand up and we speak up against it.”

Others disagree — they say that the development will improve the community and bring new opportunities to South LA residents.

“I support the Reef because it’s going to bring new life into the community,” said Sara B. Juarez, whose husband, Sergio Juarez, is a pastor at the Community of Christ Church in South LA. He shares the sentiment.

“We need investment in this area to make many changes — economical, physical — and I feel the opportunity of this project to bring the resources that are really needed,” he said.

Representatives from the Reef development team said they have met with thousands of people in the South LA community to inform them about the project.

They noted that developers agreed to set aside 5 percent of the apartments in the project as affordable units, in addition to a community benefits package, which includes giving $3 million to nonprofit associations working in the South LA area and $15 million to preserve existing affordable properties.

The City Council is scheduled to hold a hearing on the project Tuesday at 2 p.m., following a recommendation by the LA City Planning Commission that they allow the development. The hearing may decide whether the Reef can begin construction next year.

Reach Staff Reporter Hawken Miller here. Follow him on Twitter here.

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated which council would vote on the project on Nov. 1. It is the L.A. City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.

Originally published at on October 31, 2016.