The three design schemes look distinct on paper and include different names — “Island,” “Soft Edge,” “The Yards.” However, they all have the same aim: restore wildlife habitat, plant people-friendly landscapes and develop flood-control methods for a place that has been the topic of so much negligence, deemed, fancying and debate: The L.A. River.
Among the loudest conversations concerning the transformation of the 51-mile L.A. River center on Taylor Yard, what had been a greasy, soot-filled tangle of rail lines and boxcars. All through the 1940s and ’50s, freight trains rumbled to and from the yard named after the Taylor Mill that when stood on the location. When Southern Pacific Railroad vacated the land within the mid-1980s, the corporate left behind a contaminated plot along the concrete-lined waterway.
Taylor Yard, also known as the G2 parcel, has emerged as the heart of the ambitious L.A. River Revitalization Plan, an initiative for an 11-mile stretch of river and a part of a multipronged effort to renew habitat and create green area for Los Angeles residents in adjoining neighborhoods alongside San Fernando Road — Cypress Park and Glassell Park — in addition to Elysian Valley throughout the river.
In 2017 the town of Los Angeles paid $60 million for the 42-acre parcel, which is adjacent to Rio de Los Angeles State Park and the Bowtie, a but-to-be developed 18-acre parcel owned by California State Parks. The complete remediation and redevelopment of Taylor Yard will take nearly a decade, with sections of the riverbank opening to the public in phases beginning in three to five years.
The new Spanish architecture office Selgascano will create a viewing platform at Taylor Yard, so the public has some access to the changes to the river habitat previous to the 2028 opening.