By Briget Boyd

I recently had the privilege of participating in Mayor Garcetti’s town hall meetings shortly after his victory in LA’s 2013 mayoral election. In his efforts to set forth an inclusive city government, the mayor asked for participants to identify three areas in which they not only recognized problems, but offered solutions.

As an interior designer and a lover of architecture, I identified the many buildings in and around Downtown, the city’s epicenter, those with and without historical designation – beautiful examples of beaux-arts, moderne, and industrial era architecture – that are simply sitting unused, neglected and falling into ruin.

My solution: assemble a coalition of architects, designers, contractors and engineers- professionals as well as students – to restore and repurpose these gems.

By mining the rich talent resources of this city and setting a mission to answer the current affordable housing shortage issue, city officials could make a significant contribution that would promote the revitalization and transformation of Downtown while simultaneously creating jobs and increasing commerce.


One developer at the forefront of the transformation of Downtown is Yuval Bar-Zemer, Principal of Linear City Development, LLC. Ten years ago, Mr. Bar-Zemer looked at the surplus of unused buildings in our city’s center, and thought about developing them in a way that would not only make them more relevant in the city’s rapidly changing landscape, but also pay homage to LA’s industrial beginnings in the 1800’s.

He took on the daunting task of obtaining permits, purchasing and repurposing an abandoned toy factory; and in 2004, the luxurious toy factory lofts opened. It became the first of a number of this visionary developer’s housing and live-work spaces in the arts district of downtown.

Linear City Development is primed to create a new paradigm for how we perceive urban living and work spaces. It begs the question, “What is the real concept of development?” According to Mr. Bar-Zemer, the answer is acknowledging that the story begins after the development is completed. Amenities such as restaurants, bars, retail spaces, grocery stores, and green spaces must be included to encompass the optimal urban living experience. As one walks through the burgeoning arts district, they become acutely aware of the energy shift taking place in this now lively area.

Evidence of Mr. Bar-Zemer’s respect for the environment, and LA’s rich history, is abundantly clear as bricks from previously raised buildings have been repurposed to pave alleys – turning them from garbage ridden passageways into quaint gardens sprinkled with seating that now provide respite during the work day.  A short walk around the block will lead to a bakery immensely popular with local residents, or the touted gourmet market Urban Radish.

LA’s arts district is a shining example of the positive change that can happen when vision meets desire and commitment. Thank you to Mr. Yuval Bar-Zemer, and Linear City Development for sharing yours with us, and playing such an important role in transforming and revitalizing of our great city!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Wiles Style Editor Briget Boyd is the President and Principal Designer of BBID.  She studied  interior design at UCLA and has designed commercial and residential interiors from Calabasas to Newport Beach. Her design approach is to recognize classical elements, blend them with antique and contemporary  pieces to create intelligent, timeless spaces.
Briget Boyd, Principal
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