Monday, December 23, 2013

Shiny New Renderings for the Historic Core's Topaz Mixed-User

Topaz's Main Street frontage.  Image from Tate Snyder Kimsey Architects.

During Downtown's mid-2000 development boom, the bulk of construction work within the Historic Core consisted of converting derelict office towers into residential space.  With most suitable buildings now spoken for, developers have set their sights on the neighborhood's limited supply of surface parking lots.  One such parking lot between Main and Los Angeles Streets is the site of Topaz, a mixed-use development proposed by Fashion District landlord Jade Enterprises.  Topaz would rise seven-stories, containing 159 apartment units and 23,000 square feet of commercial space on its ground floor.  The Tate Snyder Kimsey designed project is tailored to complement the architecture of both the Historic Core and the adjacent Toy District.  TSK even includes a modern version of the Historic Core's classic blade signs on Topaz's Main Street Frontage.  However, the project's most interesting architectural feature is undoubtedly the urban window and light curtain along its Los Angeles Street face.  The light curtain, which shall be illuminated at night, should be a mainstay on Instagram feeds for years to come.

Topaz's Los Angeles Street frontage.

540 Main Street, outlined in red.

Topaz is in fact one of several projects currently seeking to reinvigorate the boundary between the Toy District and the Historic Core.  Veteran developer Barry Shy intends to submit plans to the city in January for a residential high-rise at the intersection of 6th and Main Streets.  SB Omega would rise roughly 40-stories, towering well above the Historic Core's existing mid-rise structures.   One block east of Jade Enterprises' project, the Skid Row Housing Trust recently completed work on the Michael Maltzan designed Star Apartments, a 102 unit supportive housing development at 6th Street and Maple Avenue.  The six-story edifice was built atop an existing low-rise commercial structure.

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