Friday, October 10, 2014

More Low-Rise Action in the Arts District

1800 East 7th Street (Image credit: HansonLA via The Architect's Newspaper)

In an excellent summary of the Arts District's ongoing identity issues, the Architect's Newspaper has quietly revealed plans for the neighborhood's newest mixed-use complex.  The proposed development, a 122-unit residential building, would rise seven stories from a current parking lot at 1800 E. 7th Street.  The building's exterior would be clad in lightweight concrete panels, accentuated by a "sculptural glass corner."  An artist's rendering of the project, which is being designed by local architecture firm HansonLA, portrays the building with ground-level commercial space at the corner of 7th and Decatur Streets. 

Plans for the residential complex are emerging as Arts District stakeholders grapple with the rapid changes sweeping through the community.  Trendy restaurants and coffee shops have made the neighborhood a regional destination, but this increased recognition has been accompanied by an increased demand for housing.  However, rather than accept an uninhibited building spree, residents and business owners have instead taken an active role in shaping the designs and content of new construction.

One example of this dynamic is seen a few blocks east at 695 S. Santa Fe Avenue, the site of a proposed mixed-use development from Bolour Associates.  Although initial plans for 695 S. Santa Fe took inspiration from the Arts District's industrial past (and present), feedback from the community eventually prompted a complete redesign.  The revised proposal, though less visually striking than its predecessor, now includes more live/work units and greater accessibility to its central green space.

These local efforts will likely be aided by the Arts Distric Live/Work Zone, a proposed zoning overlay which aspires to maintain the neighborhood's existing character while doubling its housing stock from 1,500 to 3,000 units.  Specifically, the overlay 1) encourages live/work units in lieu of traditional apartments and condos, 2) regulates more intensive industrial land uses and 3) enforces urban design standards.

Like its proposed neighbor down the street, HansonLA's design for 1800 E. 7th Street is also informed by these principles.  Residential units would consist entirely of live/work lofts, as favored by the Arts District Live/Work zone.  Additionally, the building would wrap around a central courtyard and a paseo, two amenities encouraged by the proposed overlay.

1800 E. 7th Street

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