Los Angeles Economic Development Framework

HR&A worked with the City Administrative Officer and Chief Legislative Analyst of the City of Los Angeles to evaluate and recommend a new approach to citywide economic development.

Following the recent dissolution of Community Redevelopment Agencies throughout California and the lingering effects of the 2007-2009 Great Recession, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously in support of a new framework for the City’s economic development structure. HR&A prepared this framework with the following recommendations for a new public-private structure to deliver economic development services:

  • A new Economic Development Department to support the City’s businesses, industries, and communities; direct production of a citywide economic development strategy; manage and facilitate the distribution of federal and state resources; and consolidate certain economic development functions from existing City entities, including workforce development.
  • A new independent Citywide Economic Development Nonprofit partner, operating under contract with the City, to manage the City’s strategic real estate assets; advance major economic development and public-private real estate projects; manage the City’s off-budget finance entities; and provide expert research, analytic, and transaction negotiation services.
  • A Deputy Mayor for Economic Development charged with ensuring coordination among the Mayor’s office, the economic development department , the independent economic development non-profit, other related City departments, proprietary agencies, and external economic development stakeholders.

This new framework will provide the organizational platform required for the City to create new jobs, attract new businesses and industries, maintain global competitiveness in the 21st Century, and grow its tax base.

The report’s recommendations are based on the HR&A team’s analysis, which was completed in three months of intensive work. The analysis included interviews with more than 80 key stakeholders, including executives and staff from the Mayor’s office, City Council, City departments, proprietary City agencies, nonprofit and community-based organizations, and private industry leaders; an online survey distributed to more than 160 economic local development entities; detailed organizational reviews of 19 City departments and proprietary agencies; and in-depth case studies of economic development organizational models employed in eight other U.S. cities.

To date, the City Council has approved formation of, and allocated the inaugural-year budget for, a new Economic and Workforce Development Department, and Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed a new Deputy Mayor for Economic Development in 2013.

Image Courtesy: Historic Core of Downtown Los Angeles

City and County of Los Angeles, California