Los Angeles Plugs Into A New Electrified, Tech Trendy Future With Some RMB

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Los Angeles downtown district  Photo Credit: Getty

Getty

California has long been a land of innovators, and that continues to be true to today from tech-centric San Francisco to the creative energy of Los Angeles, whieh is undergoing a tremendous surge in redevelopment of downtown.

The EB5 program that encouraged Chinese investment in real estate is largely gone now, but developers appear to be unstoppable. I haven’t seen as many buildings under construction since Shanghai a decade ago. New apartment buildings, office properties and hotels are popping up too, very trendy ones at that too, like the Ace Hotel tucked right into the historic building that still houses the United Artist Theatre built in 1927, adjoined by a converted luxury boutique hotel in 2014, and sporting a bistro menu from a James Beard winning chef. Then there’s the 1920s Figueroa Hotel that’s also been renovated and is just across the street from the hopping LA Live Entertainment Center — and also gets a lively crowd who love dining next to the courtyard pool. Downtown LA is starting to turn the corner and attract young people who want to live there.

Part’s of its new-found attraction is easier transportation options not just into downtown but across LA. I discovered that the Bob Hope Airport has commuter train service right into Union Station – what a relief from LAX.

Los Angeles has also become a base for electric vehicle makers that have clustered in California. As Judy Kruger of the Los Angeles World Trade Council points out, there are three main types of EV companies headquartered here: in supercharging, manufacturing or R&D, and autonomous vehicles.

What’s fuelling the growth in Orange County? Government policies offering tax benefits and rebates, high occupancy vehicle lanes, and regional colleges that have partnerships with Tesla, Ford, GM, Audi, Honda — not to mention numerous Chinese-connected electric vehicle makers such as BYD, Karma, and Faraday Future.

I’ve pointed it out before but it’s worth stressing here: LA is becoming the new Detroit, and with China influence, and in some ways is becoming more like Shanghai with loads of brightly lit skyscrapers.

 



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