WESTWOOD (CBSLA.com) — After languishing for nearly two decades, the once-vibrant Westwood Village is desperate to make a comeback.
Following a string of gang violence in the late 1990s that cleared the streets immediately surrounding the UCLA campus, local businesses had hoped to draw back visitors to what was once a hub of nightlife activity at dozens of neighborhood bars, restaurants and other one-time hot spots.
But despite the addition of a new hotel complex, a CityTarget store and longtime draws like In-N-Out and other Westwood staples, revitalization efforts have fallen short of expectations.
Now a new campaign is underway to transform the Village into an arts and culture destination.
The Hammer Museum on Wilshire Boulevard has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Goldhirsh Foundation to launch “Arts ReStore LA: Westwood”, an urban renewal project aimed at setting up a “pop-up village” of local shops and galleries in the struggling district.
UCLA CityLAB has also proposed a public gathering space at the crossing of Westwood and Broxton called the “Zocalo”, which would be located at the arrival point from the MTA station portal and would host public events ranging from a weekly farmer’s market to a Hammer speakers forum.
But Chapman University urban studies expert Joel Kotkin told KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO the collective vision for Westwood Village is still a far cry from its current reality.