Known as the Black Beverly Hills of Los Angeles, View Park is one of the most affluent predominantly African-American enclaves in the nation. Black legends like Tina Turner and Ray Charles used to reside in or near View Park in Los Angeles County, as did former Lakers star Michael Cooper.
The neighborhood is largely made up of lawyers, doctors, architects and business professionals (many of whom are African-American). View Park’s attractive central location coupled with the city’s lack of available housing has led to an influx of non-African-American buyers entering the area. But residents are not balking at the change in demographics. Pacific Union Realtor Amy Andreini said the neighborhood is not suffering from gentrification, but rather diversification.
"No one is coming in here to improve the area. The neighborhood is beautiful as is. It is diversifying it,” Andreini said.
To learn more about how View Park is changing, read “Residents Grapple With Change Coming To View Park, LA’s ‘Black Beverly Hills.’”
The largest black neighborhood in Charlotte and what former resident Arthur Griffin calls “the soul of the black community,” Second Ward — aka Brooklyn Charlotte — is undergoing major change.
Prior to the late 1960s, Brooklyn was a black oasis of churches and locally black-owned businesses. But the neighborhood was bulldozed between 1960 and 1968 to make way for urban renewal and affordable housing units that never came. Much of the land in Second Ward has been paved over as parking lots.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, and the development of a $683M mixed-use project called Brooklyn Village has signaled change in the long-neglected region. Developed by a team of three companies under the umbrella BK Partners, the 1,000-unit project could help revitalize what was once Charlotte’s most prominent black neighborhood. The group behind it says it is trying to honor the past and benefit the African-American community, but residents are skeptical.
To read more about the changes underway in Charlotte’s Second Ward, check out “New Developments In Historically Black Neighborhoods: New Mixed-Use May Rebuild Charlotte’s Second Ward, But It’s No Replacement."
Harlem is one of the most-recognized black cultural and business epicenters in the country. The neighborhood is home to major landmarks like the Apollo Theater and Cotton Club, where entertainment legends like Duke Ellington, Stevie Wonder and Lauryn Hill graced the stage.
Harlem’s 125th Street in particular has undergone a retail explosion as of late that brought national brands Whole Foods Market and H&M to the area. Whole Foods opened as the anchor tenant at 100 West 125th St., and Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works collectively took 36K SF at 112 West 125th St. next door. Both Sephora and Macy’s are rumored to be coming.
To read more about the latest projects underway in Harlem, check out “Harlem’s 125th Street Grapples With History Amid Retail Transformation.”
Houston’s historic Third Ward community is known for its strong African-American presence. The recent renovation of formerly neglected Emancipation Park sparked debates about coming gentrification.
Residents worry the $34M park renovation — which features a recreation center, a community center, a bathhouse and a pool — will start a domino effect of new development that will eventually price them out of the area. Affordable housing in the area has been on the decline since long before the park opened. In 2000, there were 1,006 affordable units rented by families making 50% of the area median income. By 2015, only 496 homes were affordable to families making 50% of AMI.
To address these concerns, city officials laid out a plan to protect residents of the Third Ward from rising costs and gentrification. Check out “An Area In Tension: Revitalization And Gentrification In The Third Ward” to learn more.
Miami’s Overtown has attracted a lot of commercial development as of late, including new hotels, a conference center, a transit hub and a proposed $225M soccer stadium that former English professional footballer David Beckham wants to build.
The community has a rich history stretching back to the turn of the 20th century and boasts gems like the Lyric Theater on Main Street (aka Little Broadway) where American singers Aretha Franklin and Bo Diddley performed. The neighborhood was home to a traveling Negro Baseball League team, the Ethiopian Clowns, and in 1958, a then-29-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the Greater Bethel AME Church in Overtown to promote voting rights.
The neighborhood was hit hard by drugs in the 1970s and 1980s and was known as the hub of Miami’s heroin epidemic, fraught with gun violence, drug abuse and homicide. City officials have since worked to transform the area into the trendy neighborhood that has investors flocking to it today.
To read more about the latest projects underway in Overtown, check out “Can The Tech Industry Revitalize Historically Black Neighborhoods?”
Once recognized for its hip jazz scene and hosting stars like Ella Fitzgerald and Miles Davis at its clubs, San Francisco’s Fillmore District has yet to recover from redevelopment in the 1970s that razed many local businesses in anticipation of housing and new development that never materialized.
Today, African-Americans make up 5% of the city’s population; at its peak in the 1970s, African-Americans accounted for roughly 13%. Advocates are trying to bring back the culture and heritage of the Fillmore District and Western Addition, and plans are underway by the New Community Leadership Foundation to turn the Fillmore Heritage Center, a former Yoshi’s sushi bar, into a community hub for the area.
To learn more about the efforts advocates are making to restore the culture lost to failed redevelopment in Fillmore District, read “San Francisco’s Fillmore District Works To Bring Back Music, Culture Lost To Redevelopment.”
Washington, D.C.’s U Street, formerly nicknamed the Black Broadway, has been on an identity roller coaster of sorts for the last 50 years.
The neighborhood has gone from a thriving black mecca in the 1950s to a drug-infested high-crime area destroyed by the 1968 riots. That image would remain until the opening of the U Street Metro station in 1991. That pivotal moment sparked major redevelopment in the neighborhood that, 20 years later, would turn the community into a bustling corridor once again.
U Street housing prices have skyrocketed 32% to $594K in less than a decade, and the neighborhood was ranked the second-most-gentrified ZIP code in the country. As for its identity as a historically prominent African-American neighborhood, long-term resident Virginia Ali said, “It’s definitely not the African-American section of town that it was at one time. It's definitely not that anymore.”
To read up on some of the latest projects underway in U Street, check out “Development Wave Has Brought Historic U Street Back To Life — But At What Cost?”
Ever wonder where Black History Month was birthed? That would be Chicago’s Bronzeville, a neighborhood dubbed the “Black Metropolis” for its black-owned and -operated business and entertainment scene. Bronzeville was home to Supreme Life Insurance, the first black-owned insurance company and the black-owned newspapers Chicago Defender and Chicago Bee.
Today, the neighborhood is being exposed to a global audience through increased economic development with a goal of boosting tourism. City officials are also working to get the neighborhood recognized as a national heritage area and to transform the neighborhood’s tech and transportation infrastructure in hopes of creating a future smart community.
To learn more about how city officials are modernizing the Black Metropolis, read “From Redlined To Recognized: The Revival Of Chicago’s ‘Black Metropolis.’”
Known for its mix of business and commerce along Welton Street, Denver’s Five Points — coined the Harlem of the West — thrived from the 1920s through the 1950s thanks to an assortment of real estate companies, restaurants, drugstores, barbers and more than 50 bars and clubs.
Investors like Palisade Partners started grabbing up property along Welton Street Corridor, the main street that runs through Five Points’ business district, in 2013. There are more than 30 developments underway in the neighborhood, including mixed-use projects like Palisade’s The Wheatley, an 82-unit complex that includes 18 affordable units, 14 townhouses and 3,800 SF of retail.
Though economic development and new companies moving to the area have boosted rents in Five Points and forced out some of the African-American business owners in the area, others have seized the opportunity to move in, and the metro area’s African-American community still considers Five Points to be its historic center.
To read more about recent development activity reviving Denver’s Five Points, check out “Development Booming In Harlem Of The West.”
Residents in Atlanta’s Fourth Ward are clinging to their homes and businesses as the neighborhood transforms around them.
Aggressive redevelopment in the area, stretching from Ponce de Leon to DeKalb Avenue and Piedmont Avenue to Freedom Parkway, has pushed property values skyward and priced some long-term residents out of the area.
Old Fourth Ward has been predominantly African-American since the mid-20th century, but redevelopment projects like Ponce City Market and 725 Ponce are changing demographics. This has led to an increase of young professionals moving to Old Fourth Ward in search of the urban live-work-play lifestyle.
To learn more about the transformation underway in Atlanta’s Fourth Ward, check out “For Some Longtime Old Fourth Ward Residents, Redevelopment Has Its Price.”
Boston’s historically black neighborhood is in need of a boost.
Roxbury, one of the 23 official neighborhoods in Boston, has been at the center of the city’s civil rights struggle for decades. It has transitioned from the city’s jazz mecca to urban decay. In recent years, City Hall has put pressure on developers to focus on Roxbury to try to give the neighborhood the same economic lift experienced in other adjacent communities.
The city has invested millions in economic development into the neighborhood and is recruiting businesses to the area in hopes of jump-starting an economic boom that could restore Roxbury to its former glory.
Check out “Why Boston’s Development Boom Hasn’t Taken Off In Roxbury” to learn more about Boston’s push to revive Roxbury.