Thursday, March 6, 2014
Here's something you don't see everyday: something tall planned west of the 405 freeway. According to documents just released by the Los Angeles Department of City Planning, West LA-based Douglas Emmett Inc. intends to construct a new 34-story residential tower at 11750 Wilshire Boulevard. The Landmark Apartments, first spotted moving through LADCP last December, would rise 338 feet above ground and contain 376 one and two bedroom units. A conceptual site plan drawn up by Gensler indicates that the apartment tower would stand on the southern side of the property, replacing a low-rise structure which previously housed a Pavilions supermarket. In addition to the standard outdoor pool deck, residential amenities would include a lobby, lounge, fitness center, recreation room, and bicycle storage area. The project also includes a standalone 4,700 square foot retail structure, which would directly front the corner of Wilshire and Stoner Avenue. Although no renderings of the project are provided by the LADCP documents, the design is described as consisting of "a slim, concrete frame lined with floor-to-ceiling glazing accented by light metal and fritted glass panels." Construction would last approximately 30 months, with completion anticipated in 2017. Sounds awesome, so bring on the Westside NIMBY gauntlet.
It might be a little behind schedule, but development is finally coming to K.O. the underutilized space atop the Westlake/MacArthur Park subway station. According to a document from the Los Angeles City Council, Metro and developer McCormack Baron Salazar are gearing up to start work on the second phase of their $45 million MacArthur Park transit oriented development. Set to rise five stories in-between Alvarado Street and Westlake Avenue, the Roschen Van Cleve-designed structure will contain 81 low-income apartments above approximately 17,000 square feet of ground floor retail space. The highly successful phase one, which opened across the street in May 2012, received over 1,000 applications for its 92 affordable units. Given that level of demand, it's probably safe to assume that phase two will have little trouble finding tenants. Especially at a location which provides a front row view of MacArthur Park. The city memo indicates that work on phase two must commence by March 24, 2014 in order to comply with affordable housing financing requirements. In other words, Red and Purple line passengers should be on the lookout for construction fencing and heavy equipment.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
We're one month into construction on the $2 billion Crenshaw/LAX Line, and the view from Exposition Boulevard has already changed significantly. With Earlez Grille safely relocated two blocks south, the low-rise commercial structures which previously stood next to Expo/Crenshaw Station are no more. By 2020, this now vacant lot will sit above the northern terminus of Metro's newest light rail line. Set to add 8.5 miles of track and seven new stations to the Metro Rail network, long term plans call for extensions of the Crenshaw Line to Wilshire Boulevard and even as far north as Hollywood. But that kind of talk is putting the cart way before the horse.
In the background of the above picture, green construction fencing is visible surrounding the future site of District Square. The 300,000 square foot shopping center, designed by the Irvine-based KTGY Group, will bring a variety of large chain retailers to the Crenshaw neighborhood. While perhaps not the ideal development for a parcel near the intersection of two rail lines, District Square is certainly an improvement upon the strip mall that it replaces. Pedestrian friendly, street fronting buildings beat acres of surface parking any day of the week.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Check out some grainy cell phone pictures from a rainy afternoon in Palms. The aptly named Motor Avenue Apartments, which broke ground just over one year ago, now rises five stories north of Palms Boulevard. The $30 million project from locally-based Frost/Chaddock Developers includes 115 apartment units above ground level retail space. The building's street-facing urban window provides a glimpse into an internal courtyard, while a rooftop atrium offers residents sweeping views of the Los Angeles basin. Designed by Santa Monica's Killefer Flammang Architects, 3425 Motor Avenue stands in stark contrast to Palms' almost limitless stock of low-rise, stucco-clad residential buildings. One of those stucco-clad neighbors is Palms Point, the fascinatingly ugly mixed-use project which recently opened across the street. Taking the name "Motor Avenue," to heart, almost half of the building appears to be devoted to automobile parking. We'll have to take the good with the bad, as developers look to cash in on the coming Expo Line station located a quarter-mile northeast. When Palms Station opens in approximately two years, residents of the Westside's most densely populated neighborhood will have destinations such as Santa Monica, USC and Downtown LA just a short train ride away.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
The controversial Village at Westfield Topanga, scourge of neighbors and Southern California taxpayer advocates alike, is shrinking. According to an economic feasibility study commissioned by the LA City Council, the Australian mall developer has dropped its plans for a hotel as part of the first phase of their Warner Center mega-project. The hotel, which Westfield may still pursue at a later date, would have risen 16-stories from the intersection of Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Erwin Street. The Daily News reports that it had been envisioned as a 158-room Hyatt. However, it's not all bad news coming out of the West Valley. As an olive branch to the neighbors, City Hall and the Westfield Group have carefully negotiated a community benefits package to be included with the project. These amenities include $3.325 million trust fund, a new location for the Valley's "Walk of Hearts," event, digital signage and public art.
Predictably, the feasibility study states that the amount of parking has decreased with the reduction of the hotel tower. However, the report hints that the street fronting surface parking seen in renderings will still be part of the project. Certainly a huge urban design flaw for Warner Center, which purportedly aims to be a "pedestrian and transit focused community." The feasibility study also announces that the Village will implement a paid parking program, expected to generate over $2 million per year in revenue. While parking fees have become the norm at other Southern California shopping centers (like Westfield's flagship Century City location), few malls in the San Fernando Valley have implemented such a program until now. Regardless of these changes, the project is still moving forward, with permits for the controversial Costco outpost currently in the works.
Friday, February 28, 2014
Anyone approaching Downtown Los Angeles from the east may have noticed that a new object joined the skyline earlier this week: a bright, orange construction crane. Rising high above the low-slung Arts District, this tower crane will assist in the construction of Lowe Enterprises' Mega Toys killing mixed-use development. Scheduled to open in 2015, the Togawa Smith Martin designed complex will consist of 320 apartment units and 15,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space. Buildings are set to rise five stories on opposite sides of Garey Street, which will be converted into a pedestrian-only paseo flanked by stores and restaurants. Located a short walk down the street from the nearly finished One Santa Fe development, the Mega Toys crane can expect some company within the coming year. According to the Downtown News, Legendary Development plans to break ground on a three-building, 472-unit project next to the SCI-Arc campus this Spring. Further south, Bolour Associates revived the pre-recession AMP Lofts late last year, with a new look courtesy of the Downtown-based Shimoda Design Group. To top it all off, Metro is also looking into the possibility of adding as many as two new Red/Purple Line stations near 1st and 6th Streets. With a wide variety of mixed-use developments in the pipeline and a subway link potentially on the way, we're looking at a very different Arts District five years down the line
Thursday, February 27, 2014
|2867 Sunset Place|
Resurgent Koreatown continues on its upward trajectory, with a new residential development planned one block south of Wilshire Boulevard. A surface parking lot at 2867 Sunset Place, just a short walk from Lafayette Park, is set to make way for a new 60-unit apartment building. Located three blocks east of Wilshire/Vermont Station, the development would include parking accommodations for 77 vehicles. This section of the neighborhood is currently in the midst of mini-development boom, with the signs of adaptive re-use projects and ground up construction apparent throughout the neighborhood. The J.H. Snyder Company is currently wrapping up construction on the $200 million Vermont Towers, which will open its 464 apartments later this year. Jamison Services, one of Los Angeles' largest commercial landlords, recently converted the mid-rise office building at 3075 Wilshire into 123 apartments. Midway between Lafayette and McArthur Parks, the New York-based Somerset Group plans for 154 luxury condominiums at the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Coronado Street. An 18-story high-rise was also planned at the northwest corner of Wilshire and Virgil Avenue, although the future of that project remains unclear at this point.
- Case Information Summary Sheet (LADCP)