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June 14, 2024
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New Retail Center Completed by Primestor at Redeveloped Mixed-Use Community in South Central L.A.


Freedom Plaza, a brand-new neighborhood center that is the retail element of the Jordan Downs mixed-use development in Watts, a city in South-Central Los Angeles, has been completed. The 114.4k sf project, developed by Primestor Development and designed by Nadel Architecture + Planning, includes retail space for stores and restaurants, as well as landscaped promenades and community gathering spaces.

Located at 9901 South Alameda St, Freedom Plaza is the centerpiece of Jordan Downs, a 700-unit public housing apartment complex owned and managed by the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA). Jordan Downs, originally built as housing for returning military personnel, had morphed into drug-ridden projects in recent years. The 105-acre, high-density community was recently transformed into a sustainable mixed-use master-planned village.

The City of Watts earlier this year celebrated Freedom Plaza’s grand openings of a Smart & Final Extra! supermarket with a floral department and online delivery in two hours or less, as well as a Blink Fitness studio. Additional retailers at the center include Nike, Ross, Starbucks, and The Habit.

The project is located just blocks away from the historic Watts Towers Art Center. Nadel provided authentic and aspirational design services that incorporated the culture of the people of Watts in the building architecture, brightly colored murals, and public art.

“Our goal was to create a neighborhood center with community ties to its environment – one that is part of the very fabric of this urban neighborhood,” says Greg Lyon, chairman and principal for Nadel. “This is expressed in design elements ranging from the edgy, industrial-inspired high-design buildings to the contemporary street art throughout the center, which celebrates culture and the local community.”

Among the unique elements of this new center is an architectural fountain designed and constructed by OTL, based on a general concept by landscape architects Fong Hart Schneider-Partners. The water feature amenity incorporates a public art piece titled “Instill,” which is composed of dark grey polished natural basalt columns with hidden lights. The columns are embedded with images and phrases significant to people in the Watts community including ‘Community,’ ‘Unity,’ ‘Family’ and ‘Love’.

The Instill project fulfills a 1% for Art Programs ordinance by the City of Los Angeles mandating that 1% of the cost of any public works capital-improvement project be set aside for an art component, Lyon explains.

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