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$200 Million Grove-Like Center Breaks Ground On Site Destroyed By Riots

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Construction began today on a $200 million dollar retail and entertainment center in South Los Angeles on the site of a former indoor swap meet destroyed by fire 23 years ago today during the 1992 L.A. riots.Plans for the development, known as The Vermont Entertainment Village, include restaurants, retailers, a grocery store, and an open-air promenade that will feature a live performance stage, fountains, kiosks and more. And though it's taken over two decades to put the land to good use, the project is slated for a relatively quick turnaround, with completion planned for winter of 2016.

According to developer Sassony Properties, the property will cover two city blocks at the corner of Vermont and Manchester Avenues, and include 190,000 square feet of leasable space and 40,000 square feet of outdoor area. The site of the development sat vacant for the past 23 years-with the exception of small structures built on portions of the lot-following a massive fire that began during the riots, CBS LA reports

Among those who attended the groundbreaking ceremony today was City Councilman Bernard Parks. Parks was a deputy chief of the Los Angeles Police Department at the time of the Los Angeles riots in 1992.

The new project is far from the first attempted on the site, as developer and property owner Eli Sasson of Sassony Properties began proposing projects there as far back as 1999, according to Streetsblog LA. Sasson has met with criticism in the past for being largely unresponsive to community and local business needs, and it remains to be seen how the latest development will be considered.

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And while the design renderings from the Sassony Properties website suggest a flashy, Grove/Americana-style spectacle, the transformation from vacant lot to a destination for more options for retail, restaurants, and social space, is likely to be considering by many as a welcome addition to the neighborhood.

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