Los Angeles Metro will offer local businesses compensation for lost revenue during construction of the Purple Line Extension into Westwood.
Metro authorized the expansion of the Business Interruption Fund, which provides funds to locally owned small businesses impacted by transit construction, to compensate businesses for revenue lost during construction of the third and final section of the Purple Line Extension. The extension project will bring two new stations to the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Westwood Avenue and the Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles Medical Center.
The BIF will distribute $10 million annually. Businesses may receive a maximum of $50,000 in BIF assistance per year. The funds generally go toward operating expenses like utilities, rent, payroll and insurance, according to Metro’s website.
The BIF is already aiding businesses affected by construction of sections 1 and 2 of the Purple Line Extension. The first section will extend the current Purple Line from Koreatown through Miracle Mile. The second section of the Purple Line Extension will continue the Purple Line from Miracle Mile through Beverly Hills and into Century City.
Factors like the location of the business, the type of business and demonstration of revenue loss during the time of construction all affect how much and if businesses receive BIF funds, said Paula Carvajal, the Metro BIF program manager.
Location is the most important eligibility requirement, Carvajal said. A business must be located along Wilshire Boulevard to be eligible for the BIF.
A business must employ fewer than 25 full-time workers to qualify. Metro’s goal is to help these businesses thrive throughout and after construction of the Purple Line Extension, according to Metro’s website.
Construction for the Westwood extension will start in 2020, and Metro is currently reaching out to businesses in the area, Carvajal said.
Ilya Ivanov, a UCLA Extension student, said he works at the Hammer Museum and there is noticeable construction nearby. He added that although he can sometimes hear the construction while working, it has not affected the museum or its business in any major way.
However, Ivanov said construction may affect private business owners differently.
Andrew Thomas, executive director of the Westwood Village Improvement Association, said he thinks it is important to help Westwood Village businesses during construction.
“These businesses really add so much character and uniqueness to our district that it’s very important that we give them all the help they need during what we know is going to be a very difficult time,” Thomas said.
Thomas added the WVIA has become increasingly concerned about how construction may limit people’s access to the Village.
“There’s not a lot of ways to get to (the Village), so it’s important that everybody be creative and open to solutions that will help us survive the construction,” Thomas said.
Sithara Menon, a second-year biology student, said although Purple Line construction may be inconvenient in the short term, the long-term benefits will outweigh the costs.
“It’s a small price to pay to have a little bit of construction now to actually have a good transit system in the future,” Menon said. “We need sustainable and affordable transportation systems, and it seems that everyone around here is forced to depend on their cars.”
Thomas said the WVIA invited Metro to the association’s July meeting to further discuss upcoming construction and additional efforts to help people access Westwood Village, such as maps, signage and other forms of public transportation.