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Kaiser Permanente, new businesses to open in South LA

May 31, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Over the years, buildings came down, business owners had disagreements and there were a number of false starts in South Los Angeles.

"Just as we thought we were making progress, the developer went bankrupt and the bank that he was dealing with went bankrupt," said Los Angeles city councilmember Bernard Parks, adding that a litigation ensued.

But during that process, city officials had an idea.

"Going through bankruptcy, let's not just sit on our hands. Let's buy as much property -- the city can then be a leverage partner when it comes out of foreclosure," said Parks.

In two years, an abandoned lot at Marlton Square Shopping Center will be the new home of a Kaiser Outpatient center, along with street-front retailers.

"My mother, a single mom with five children, didn't have a car, so we would have to walk to get the groceries," said Carolyn Hull, a regional administrator for South Los Angeles Region. "So when I came to this community, I completely empathized with what this community was going through."

Hull has worked on the project for six years and says it's the proudest day of her career.

"Kasier coming into the community, serves as an anchor, not just because they are a healthcare provider, the high-quality jobs that it will provide," she said.

In an area with no major hospitals, few grocery stores and sit-down restaurants, some who live in the neighborhood say they are hopeful the project will breathe new life into the area.

"We really needed to have this project finished. To have Kaiser come in here, it's really a joyous occasion to have somebody that's interested in the health of the community," said Thomas Martin of Leimert Park.


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