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New Metro line excites some businesses, threatens to push out others

The city of Inglewood took the next big step in constructing a new Metro line that would bring riders into the city and to its entertainment venues like Sofi Stadium. 

Chef Babette Davis is proud of the vegan food she serves up at her restaurant “Stuff I Eat” located on Market Street in downtown Inglewood but she said it has not been easy to attract people to come to her eatery. 

“When we first moved in there was nothing between Regent (Street) and Queen (Street), ” she said. “There was nothing. It was dead over here.”

The city plans to build 1.6 miles of track called the Inglewood Transit Connector, which officials believe will bring in tons of new business and get cars off the streets.

“We have the forum that’s reopening,” that 17,000. We have Sofi Stadium that can hold up to 100,000. We have the Intuit Dome that will open in the fall of 2024 which would hold 18,000,” said Mayor James Butts. 

Butts added that the train could move 11,000 to 12,000 people an hour.

“You’re going to have tens of thousands of people getting off at Florence Avenue and Market Street and now a couple hours before the game they can shop, they can eat, be entertained on Market Street,” said Butts. 

On Tuesday night, the City Council approved the relocation plan for 41 businesses that lie in the path of the new Metro line. If each business gets an equal share of the estimated $12 million, each will receive about $292,683. 

“I expect to see loads and loads of brand new customers,” said Davis.

While some businesses like Davis’ are excited about the potential new customers, places like a shopping center at the corner of Market Street and Florence Avenue will be forced to relocate in order to make space for one of the three Metro stations moving into their spots.

“They’re only saying about $12 million for relocation costs,” said jewelry store owner Amelia Hernandez. “That’s less than $1 million for the 41 businesses.”

According to LoopNet, an online marketplace for commercial property, on average retail space for lease in Inglewood is about $31.04 per square foot. The smallest available commercial space is 300 sq. feet, which would approximately cost a business $9300 in monthly rent. Per year, that would equate to about $111,600 — or roughly 38% of the payment they will receive.

The relocation costs have concerned Hernandez and her family, believing that her business will not survive. 

“We will have the funding that will help them financially,” said Butts. 

The city still has to get federal funding for the rest of the $1.6 billion project. 

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