INGLEWOOD — The Inglewood Unified School District has announced an ambitious plan to build low-income and affordable housing on underutilized public land near SoFi Stadium in Inglewood.
The 22.6 acre property is available for development via a long-term lease. It is located between Morningside High School and Woodworth-Monroe K-8 Academy on West 104th Street.
The property is two blocks from the new SoFi Stadium, which is scheduled to open in July.
“Given our housing crisis and the issues we’ve been dealing with as it related to the rising costs of rent and gentrification in the city of Inglewood, we’re absolutely excited about the prospects of working with a developer to build things like affordable housing, workforce and teacher housing,” said D’Artagnan Scorza, president on the Inglewood school board.
Scorza said he also is excited about the prospect of bringing much needed additional revenue into the school district to possibly raise salaries for teachers and fund new educational programs for students.
“This is a unique opportunity for us in the midst of all the economic development that’s happening here in Inglewood now… to bring these economic opportunities to our residents so that they ultimately get to benefit from the use of public land,” Scorza said.
To make that idea a reality, the district is looking for a qualified developer to partner with to jointly develop the site, which has been deemed surplus property because the district is building a new football field and baseball diamond closer to Morningside High School.
“I am incredibly excited for the district to be offering this major property to a qualified developer capable of bringing a quality residential or other suitable project to our community,” said Erika Torres, the county administrator overseeing the Inglewood Unified School District.
“The school district is interested in seeing this former school property developed in a way that will benefit its students by enhancing the economic viability of the district for years to come.”
Torres said the development can bring “significant money” to support students by improving schools and educational programs in Inglewood.
“Encouraging families to come to Inglewood Unified School District is always a top priority for this community,” Torres added.
“I support it,” Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. said.
Butts said leasing surplus property will help the district balance its budget and pay back more than $20 million in emergency loans the district accepted from the state in 2012 to avoid bankruptcy.
The district has been under state control ever since. The district will not be able to exit state receivership until the emergency loans are paid back.
“It is the only alternative to generate more funding for the district unless the state changes its funding formula to take into account that the city of Inglewood will be producing far more property taxes than we have in the past,” Butts said. “Because with our developments, we will be giving the state so many more millions of dollars and a greater proportion of that should go to the Inglewood Unified School District.”
Meanwhile, district leaders said several other properties have been identified as possible surplus land, which could become an important source of income for the district.
On 104th Street, the ultimate goal is to create an affordable housing environment where students would be able to walk next door to school from Transitional Kindergarten through 12th Grade.
“Building a strong educational community in and around Morningside and Woodworth-Monroe TK-8 will allow us to increase enrollment and again, provide educational opportunities for our children and our families for years to come,” Scorza said.
By John W. Davis