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Downtown L.A. Is Officially A Boomtown (Again)

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Downtown Los Angeles is America's second most prominent boomtown in 2016, says a report compiled by Realtor.com. Using extrapolated data predicting job growth and housing development, the website attempted to determine which ZIP codes across the U.S. were about to or currently are experiencing the most amount of growth.

ZIP code 90012, encompassing much of downtown and surrounding areas to the neighborhood's north like Chinatown, Elysian Park and parts of the Arts District, will supposedly see the number of households grow by 8.8 percent over the next five years. According to The Real Deal LA, more than 22,000(!) housing units are supposed to begin construction in 90012 this year alone.

This probably shouldn't be too surprising if you've been watching the radical transformation of downtown Los Angeles real estate over the past few years. Condominiums are flying up faster than you can say "DTLA," and a horde of gigantic mega-projects will radically alter the look of downtown's skyline, and virtually create whole-new neighborhoods in less than a decade.

Though much of the development blasting its way through downtown occurs outside of the particular ZIP code, a stroll up Broadway or Spring Street will pass by literally dozens of six or seven story apartment complexes under construction. The neighborhood has also been home to a significant amount of controversy about overbuilding.

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For example, as Urbanize.LA reports, the immense 700-unit College Station was initially supposed to include a pair of 20-story towers. These were eliminated from the development plans after community activists argued the project was simply too big for the surrounding neighborhood to support.

If you know a little bit of L.A.'s history, the headline that downtown is a "boomtown" might elicit a giggle. Newspapers over a century ago ran headlines saying the very same thing, persuading would be migrants to leave their cramped and crowded cities of old to the eden that Los Angeles was purported to be.

Hundreds of thousands flocked to Los Angeles, largely settling in the area we now identify as downtown and Bunker Hill. About 50,000 people lived in L.A. in 1890, doubling by 1900, and then tripling again to more than 300,000 by 1910.

As a bonus, here are a few pictures of what downtown L.A. used to look like then, all courtesy the fantastic archives of the Los Angeles Public Library: