The concrete flood trench that runs through LA and was made famous in the chase scenes in Terminator 2 and To Live and Die in LA is getting a makeover.

The final engineering plans call for fewer shotguns, less Arnold.

A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to return the Los Angeles River [concrete flood channel] to a more natural state would cost $1 billion and has speculators circling even before the funding’s in place.

“The private money is already moving,” said Stapleton, a vice president at commercial real-estate brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (JLL)“They’re looking for opportunities. It’s the private money that’s going to make the vision happen.”

While revived waterfronts have driven development from San Antonio to New York, it’s hard to picture the L.A. River being a party to anything like that. Untamed, it looks more like a desert arroyo than London’s River Thames. Even in the wet season it doesn’t exactly gush, and much of the liquid in it is from waste-treatment plants.

 “Some pretty dramatic work will have to be done,” said Henry Cisneros, a former San Antonio mayor and chairman of the investment firm CityView, which partnered with Blackstone Group LP (BX) on a 2013 L.A. condo project. “But I can see how it could happen because people are always attracted to water.”