Friday, November 15, 2013

First Look at the Martin Expo Town Center

Martin Expo Town Center.  All images from Popularise.

Density averse Westside residents may object, but the Martin family continues to press onward with ambitious plans to convert their Cadillac dealership into a mixed-use development.  Although Martin Cadillac has been a West LA landmark for decades, the coming of the Expo Line motivated the family to re-envision their property with retail, office and residential space.  The Martins have set up a page for the Martin Expo Town Center on Popularise, providing neighbors a venue to offer critiques and suggestions for the project.

Altogether, the Martin Expo Town Center (METC) plans for just over 800,000 square feet of total floor area.  The project's 516 residential units range from studio to three bedroom apartments, divided between low-rise and mid-rise structures.  The tallest residential building would stand 11-stories, featuring roughly 60,000 square feet of street level retail space.  METC's 200,000 square foot creative office component would rise within a 10-story building, towering 160 feet above the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Bundy Drive.  At ground level, the office tower would contain a 10,000 square foot showroom for Martin Cadillac.

Of course, we have yet to see how METC navigates its way through the approvals process and the inevitable fight with the locals.  The West LA Neighborhood Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee voted unanimously to oppose the project back in June, citing concerns over traffic gridlock and the height of the proposed buildings.  While the mid-rise structures are hardly out of scale with the neighborhood (there are multiple 10-story office buildings within a quarter mile radius of the project site), the concerns about traffic aren't completely unreasonable.  The Olympic/Bundy intersection comes to a standstill at rush hour, and the relocation of Riot Games next-door will likely exacerbate the current mess.  METC is also difficult to accept as a "transit oriented development," considering that the full build out of the proposal creates nearly 1,800 parking spaces.


  1. 10 points to the Martin Family for embracing mixed-use density and TOD. They just need to cut down on the parking.

  2. I understand METC is only applying for 1400 car parking spaces and will make room for abut 600 bike parking spaces. Traffic is a concern, but with Riot Games moving in, the apartments are needed more than ever. I'd bet the Riot employees would love to live there and walk down the block to work. That would actually reduce traffic because they wouldn't have to drive to work, and it would activate the sidewalks, getting folks out of their cars and walking.

    I know the West LA Neighborhood Counsel board postponed the vote on the motion that was proposed by the Planning and Land Use Management committee to oppose the METC project, and in fact there were many speakers who showed enhusiasm for the project, especially for the apartments and retail components.

    The area badly needs a mixed-use project like this one to get people out of their cars.

    1. Glad to hear about the reduction in parking spaces. Do you know how the 1,400 spaces would be divided between the residential and office components?