One common theme in most of the discussions about living in Los Angeles is rising rents. Rising rents are caused by supply-and-demand and changing demographics, as in people moving into less-gentrified areas for the artistic or “small-town” vibe they give off. While this may be good for landlords in the area, it end ups removing some of the character that makes the location unique and desirable in the first place.
One current example of this that is currently receiving media exposure is the Snap Inc., the owner of Snapchat, and its takeover of Venice Beach’s boardwalk properties for use as office spaces. Consequently locals are seeing their quaint and quirky neighborhood, filled with street performers and vendors, transform into a bored-walk, characterized by Snap security guards and tinted windows that used to belong to busy restaurants.
Snap has bought up old living spaces to use as offices and turned old restaurants into worker-only cafeterias. This use of boardwalk real estate for their employees may benefit worker morale, but its effect on the town as a whole is much more noticeable. The entrance of a new buyer with billions stuffed into their deep pockets into the Venice real estate market has caused the leverage of leaseholders on the boardwalk to lessen, and thus with increased demand, the rents increase until the local businesses are forced to vacate and Snap can scoop up this new property.
This example of a well-known, artsy part of Los Angeles being taken over by large corporations is just one threat to the artist scene in the great city. Rents are increasing throughout the city due to the desire of the rich to live in the trendy and historically cheaper area of Los Angeles and this is forcing not only more artists to move elsewhere, but also is forcing more affordable housing to be built to keep artists in the Arts District.
Businesses and the more upscale members of Los Angeles will always be a part of the city, but they should not be allowed to destroy the allure of the artsy areas of the city by buying up these areas for their own personal use.