An ambitious plan to bring a Frank Gehry-designed cultural center to the banks of the Los Angeles River in South Gate has cleared a key hurdle.

Exterior of SELA Cultural CenterGehry Partners LLP

On December 19, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to move forward with development of the Southeast LA Cultural Center, or SELA Cultural Center, which would be located on a County-owned site at the confluence of the L.A. River and the Rio Hondo. The roughly 85,000-square-foot complex would consist of multiple structures, including a performance hall, a music education space, recording studios, a dance theater, a cafe, workshops, and galleries. Plans also call for a plaza, gardens, and a parking lot.

The project, which is currently led by the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountain Conservancy, has secured $124 million in state funding to date, as well as additional philanthropic support.

Interior of SELA Cultural CenterGehry Partners LLP

A motion from Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis, the current and former representatives of South Gate on the Board of Supervisors, notes that the development of the center supports goals in the Countywide Cultural Policy calls for creating new county-owned creative spaces. Additionally, the space would provide a space for youth arts and education - including creative workspaces, training areas, and opportunities for performances and presentations.

The vote by the Board of Supervisors instructs the County's Chief Executive Officer and other departments to create a work plan to deliver the SELA Cultural Center project, and provide a report back within 90 days.

Aerial view looking northGehry Partners LLP

The cultural center is the first of seven signature projects to be implemented from the Lower Los Angeles River Revitalization Plan, which encompasses the segment of the river corridor to the south of Downtown Los Angeles. Gehry, the architect behind the SELA Cultural Center, also helped to develop the County's master plan for the total 51 miles of the river.

Other large investments may be coming to the surrounding area, with the Rio Hondo confluence identified as a major project zone under the Lower L.A. River plan. The site sits on the south side of Imperial Highway, and near other upcoming Los Angeles River projects such as South Gate's 30-acre "Urban Orchard." Additionally, the cultural center would sit a short distance from the right-of-way of Metro's West Santa Ana Branch light rail line.

Rio Hondo Confluence Area PlanGehry Partners LLP

Follow us on social media: 

Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn / Threads / Instagram