For decades, the residents of the diverse Figueroa Corridor in Los Angeles struggled with a lack of quality jobs and business opportunities, low educational attainment, high poverty, health issues and substandard housing conditions.
After a period of research, planning and engagement, the concept of Mercado La Paloma was born, providing hope and opportunity for the community. Esperanza Community Housing Corporation, a nonprofit organization that supports affordable housing, health, arts and sciences, education and economic development, renovated a former garment factory into a 35,000-square-foot mixed-use building. Mercado La Paloma opened its doors in early 2000, with space for retail, restaurants, local small businesses, nonprofits and art and cultural groups.
The mixed-use rehab project has been a huge success. On the ground floor they have an incubator for restaurants, basically, and a few of those restaurants have graduated to having their own freestanding restaurant elsewhere. Upstairs, they offer space to several nonprofits through Esperanza. They offer community facilities upstairs with community services while on the ground floor they offer healthy foods for the community as well as job creation with the incubator element.