Wednesday, December 31, 2014

More Apartments and Retail for Santa Monica Boulevard

11407 W. Santa Monica Boulevard

Santa Monica Boulevard's nascent construction boom is slowly pushing eastward.

According to a case filing from the Los Angeles Department of City Planning, a new low-rise apartment complex is slated for a nearly half-acre property at 11407 West Santa Monica Boulevard.  The project calls for a five-story building, featuring 51 residential units above 1,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space.  An unspecified number of units would be reserved as either affordable or low-income housing.

11407 Santa Monica was once home to the Dolores Restaurant & Bakery, a longtime West Los Angeles landmark which closed in mid-2012 after more than six decades in business.  After a fire later that year spelled the end of a replacement tenant, the one-story building sat vacant until this past August, when it was finally sold to a developer.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Another High-Rise for Hollywood

Yet another property near Hollywood's iconic Capitol Records Building is slated to give way for a tall mixed-use development.

Plans were filed with the City of Los Angeles earlier this month for a new residential-retail complex at 6220 West Yucca Street.  The approximately one-acre property, currently occupied by a series of low-rise residential structures, would be redeveloped with a 21-story tower.  The proposed building would include 277 residential units and 3,300 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.

Located at the southeast corner of Yucca Street and Argyle Avenue, the project is one of three high-rise developments planned for the same intersection.

Little Tokyo Office Tower to Receive Upgrades

A dated commercial building in Little Tokyo is about to receive a much-needed makeover.

The Terraces, a mid-rise office tower located at 420 E. 3rd Street, is poised to receive a series of improvements which will bring the aging building into the 21st century.  The 10-story structure, completed in 1988, is currently 76% occupied according to data from commercial real estate website City Feet.  It is home to a diverse mix of tenants, including dozens of medical offices and the corporate headquarters of Pacific Commerce Bank.

According to a permit application with the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, proposed upgrades include the conversion of a fifth-floor parking deck and a seventh-floor roof into private open space for tenants and guests.  Further renovations are slated for the building's hallways and lobbies.

The Terraces' four-story parking podium will also be remodeled as part of the project.  Plans call for the addition of metal screens around the perimeter of the building, obscuring exposed garage levels from street view.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Long Beach's Newest Tower Peeks Above Ground

Construction is roaring ahead on the Current, Downtown Long Beach's first high-rise building to break ground since the Great Recession.  The $70 million development from Anderson Pacific, LLC had been delayed for roughly ten years prior to starting work in Fall.  As of this past weekend, rebar for the building's basement parking now protrudes above street level.

When finished in early 2016, the 17-story tower will offer 223 studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and penthouse apartments.  At ground level, the project will include for 6,750 square feet of stores, and restaurants.  According to designs by San Francisco-based BAR Architects, an adjacent section of Lime Avenue will be permanently closed to automobiles, creating a 25,000-square-foot public plaza with green space and outdoor seating at the foot of the building.

Following completion of the Current, Anderson Pacific intends to commence work on a second phase of the development: a 35-story condominium tower.  Phase two, which would create the tallest residential building in Long Beach, is slated for a neighboring surface parking lot at the northwest corner of Ocean Boulevard and Alamitos Avenue.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Work Ramping up on South Park Megaprojects

Image: Oceanwide Real Estate Group via the Los Angeles Times

In what amounts to an excellent Christmas for Downtown boosters, work will soon begin on multiple new high-rise buildings in the South Park neighborhood.

Earlier in December, Oceanwide Real Estate Group started clearing the large surface parking lot at 1101 Flower Street, future site of Fig Central.  Now, after much speculation, the Los Angeles Times reports that the long-stalled mixed-use complex is on track for an early 2015 groundbreaking date.

The $1-billion development will feature a trio of skyline-altering towers designed by architecture firm RTKL.  The largest of the buildings - a 49-story edifice at the corner of Flower and 11th Streets - will rise 677 feet above street level, making it slightly taller than the nearby Ritz Carlton Hotel & Residences.  In total, the three towers will comprise 504 condominiums and a five-star, 183-room hotel.

Fig Central was originally conceived as the retail complement to the nearby restaurants and entertainment venues of the LA Live complex.  The retooled proposal from the Oceanwide Group places a similar emphasis on shopping, with approximately 200,000 square feet of stores and restaurants planned for the development

The project as a whole is expected to cater to an affluent clientele, with plans calling for an array of luxurious amenities.  In addition to a variety of high-end stores, the proposed hotel will feature multiple event spaces and a "celebrity chef restaurant."  DTLA Rising reports that Fig Central may also include the first American outpost of the ultra posh Cavalli Club.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Another Big Apartment Complex Proposed in Westchester

6733 S. Sepulveda Boulevard

As Playa Vista gradually booms into one of Southern California preeminent tech hubs, a new wave of multi-family residential development is flowing into the adjacent Westchester neighborhood.  According to a document from the Neighborhood Council of Westchester and Playa Del Rey, the latest example of this burgeoning trend is slated for an approximately two-acre parcel at 6733 South Sepulveda Boulevard.

Land owner 6733 So. Sepulveda Blvd. Associates recently presented plans to the council's Planning and Land Use Committee for a new five-story apartment complex on the property.  The proposed development, which has not been filed with the city, would feature 200 rental units, a residential amenity deck and a two-level underground parking garage.  6733 Sepulveda Boulevard is currently improved with a two-story Class-B office building and a surface parking lot.

The project would sit directly across the street from the Howard Hughes Center, a 70-acre mixed-use campus which consists of multiple office towers and a shopping mall.  The sprawling Hughes complex still features several vacant parcels of land, two of which are currently being developed into apartments by Chicago-based Equity Residential.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Redevelopment Plans Crystallize for Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza

All images: Capri Capital Partners and RAW International

As construction continues on a new subway station at the intersection of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevards, a bold development scheme is in the works for an adjacent shopping complex.

Capri Capital Partners, the Chicago-based owner of Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, is planning to redevelop their 43-acre property with over 2 million square feet of new office space, housing, retail space and hotel rooms.  According to a master plan created by planning and design firm RAW International, the proposed development would replace a series of surface parking lots and low-rise commercial buildings which flank the mid-century shopping center.  The centerpiece mall, anchored by a Macy's department store, would be preserved and rehabilitated as part of the project.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mid-Rise Office Building Breaks Ground in Hollywood

With the end of 2014 fast approaching, construction has finally started on one of Hollywood's most controversial developments.

Earlier this month, the J.H. Snyder Company broke ground on 1601 Vine Street, an eight-story office tower slated for the former site of Molly's Burgers.  The $70 million project, designed by architecture firm Gensler, will consist of approximately 110,000 square feet of Class-A office space, a 2,000-square-foot ground-level retail stall, and 174 underground parking spaces.  The potentially LEED Gold-certified development is scheduled for delivery in 2016.

1601 Vine Street is the third major office complex to break ground near the Hollywood/Vine subway station since 2013, joining campus-style projects from Kilroy Realty and Hudson Pacific Properties.  Office development has thrived in Hollywood during the past several years, despite the overall sluggish performance of the Los Angeles market.  The neighborhood's most recent coup came in the form of media giant Viacom, which will consolidate its Southern California operations within 180,000 square feet of the Columbia Square complex.

Hollywood's office boom has been accompanied by equally impressive performances from the residential and hospitality sectors.  Houston-based Camden Property Trust is currently in the midst of construction on a mixed-use development directly across the intersection from Snyder's project.  West along Selma Avenue, local developer Five Chairs broke ground this past Spring on the 180-room Dream Hollywood.  Additional boutique hotels are slated for nearby properties along Cahuenga Boulevard and Wilcox Avenue.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Big Infill Development Planned Near North Hollywood Station

Even as Metro's bold plan for a high-rise complex atop North Hollywood Station remains dormant, other nearby property owners are picking up the development slack.

Earlier this month, the Redondo Beach-based Urbanest Group filed plans with the city to construct a new residential-retail complex at 11120 West Chandler Boulevard.  The proposed development would rise from a currently vacant one-acre lot, creating two five-story buildings with a cumulative 329 dwelling units and 4,500 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space.

The development site sits immediately east of the NoHo Commons, a large residential, retail and office development which was spearheaded by the defunct Community Redevelopment Agency.  The project, while controversial at the time, appears to have achieved its goal of spurring additional development throughout the North Hollywood community.

In addition to the proposed mixed-use complex at 11120 Chandler Bouelvard, a four-story hotel is planned three blocks east at the intersection of Tujunga Avenue and Weddington Street.  Several smaller multi-family residential developments are planned on block located north of Chandler Boulevard.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sawtelle Japantown Getting More Mixed-Use

More development is slated for the freshly rebranded Sawtelle Japantown.

According to an early December case filing from the Department of City Planning, a new residential-retail complex is proposed for the corner lot at 1854 South Sawtelle Boulevard.  Plans call for a five-story structure, consisting of 23 apartments, two ground-floor live-work units, four above-grade parking levels and two underground parking levels.  The new building would replace a century-old bungalow, one of the few remaining single-family dwellings along the bustling commercial corridor.

With a cumulative six floors of garage space, the proposed development is clearly informed by the parking crunch which frequently envelops the residential neighborhood to the west.  Customers of trendy restaurants located on Sawtelle Boulevard often inundate street parking on adjacent blocks, leading some homeowners to call for the creation of a preferential parking district.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Affordable Housing Planned for Crenshaw Boulevard

Crenshaw Villas Apartments (Image: American Communities, LLC)

As excavation for the $2-billion Crenshaw Line continues to frustrate business owners and motorists alike, two locally-based non-profit organizations are working to build affordable housing near the light rail line's forthcoming northern terminus.

Los Angeles-based American Communities, LLC has filed plans with the city to build a low-rise complex known as the Crenshaw Villas Apartments.  The project would replace an existing commercial building at 2631-2645 Crenshaw Boulevard.

Plans call for a five-story structure containing 50 one-and-two-bedroom apartments, 3,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 36 parking stalls in a partially underground garage.  Residential units would be reserved for low-income seniors who earn less than half of the city's median household income.

Monday, December 15, 2014

First Look at the Re-redesigned Park Fifth

Image: DLANC

Less than one year after unveiling substantially downsized plans for Downtown's erstwhile Park Fifth site, developer MacFarlane Partners has opted to rework the entire project.  The San Francisco-based investment management firm will give a first glimpse of the redesigned - and slightly upsized - development program to the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council's Planning and Land Use Committe this Tuesday.

Like the previous Harley Ellis Devereaux-designed proposal, the retooled Park Fifth complex will consist of mid-rise and high-rise components.  However, the new design from Portland-based Ankrom Moisan Architects features minor changes to the overall specs of the project, including an increase in proposed residential density from 615 to 660 apartments and a decrease in cumulative commercial area from 17,000 square feet to slightly under 14,000 square feet.

Moisan's new design calls for several alterations to Park Fifth's 24-story tower, which is slated for the corner of Fifth and Olive Streets.  The proposed building's peak height has increased to 255 feet above-grade, as well as its width in a north-south direction.  Unlike in the earlier plan, the high-rise building will comprise the bulk of the Park Fifth's residential density, featuring 348 apartments and roughly 5,800 square feet of ground-floor commercial uses.  The tower will be "similar in feel," to other Moisan-designed projects, which include South Park's Luma and Elleven condominium complexes.

Hollywood Cherokee Apartments Get a Redesign

A draft environmental impact report recently published by the Los Angeles Department of City Planning has unveiled a new look for the proposed Hollywood Cherokee Apartments.  The mixed-use development from Los Angeles-based Champion Real Estate is slated for a 1.14-acre parking lot located just north of Hollywood Boulevard, between Las Palmas and Cherokee Avenues.

The Hollywood Cherokee complex entails a four-to-six-story building, featuring 224 studio, one-and-two-bedroom units above nearly 1,000 square feet of ground-level commercial space.  Twenty-four of the building's residential units would be reserved for very-low income individuals.

Plans call for a standard array of residential amenities, including a gym, a swimming pool, a rooftop deck and a community room.  The apartments would also offer parking accommodations for up to 305 vehicles and 252 bicycles, contained within a four-level, partially underground garage.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Work Quietly Starting on Downtown Condo Projects

In response to the resurgent Downtown Los Angeles condo market, a new wave of for-sale housing is quietly taking off in the South Park neighborhood.

On Thursday, workers installed protective fencing around the half-acre parking lot at 1050 South Grand Avenue, future home of a $100 million condominium tower from developer Trumark Urban.  The 24-story building, designed by local architecture firm HasonLA, will contain 151 residential units above a retail and parking podium.  One laborer at the development site stated that construction is scheduled to commence before the end of December.  However, previous coverage from the Downtown News points to an early 2015 start date.

The project, formerly known as the Glass Tower, originally received approvals in 2007.  However, like many other Downtown condominium developments, the tower found itself unable to move forward in the midst of the global recession.

Shiny New Rendering for Academy Square

A striking new look has emerged for Kilroy Realty's Academy Square development, courtesy of commercial real estate publication Bisnow.

The $300 million project, designed by local architect Joey Shimoda, would create a 3.5-acre mixed-use campus in the heart of Hollywood.  Plans call for a campus of low-rise and high-rise structures, offering a combination of apartments, offices, ground-floor retail and possibly hotel rooms.  The project's name is a nod to an abandoned plan by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to build a museum on the property.  Academy Square would also sit directly north of the Pickford Film Center, another facility owned by AMPAS.

Kilroy's development is highlighted by a 23-story high-rise tower, slated for the corner of Ivar and DeLongpre Avenues.  The mixed-use building could move forward with up to 250 apartments, or under an alternate development program, up to 100 hotel rooms and 50 fewer residential units.  Both options would include retail space on the tower's ground floor.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Finishing Touches on Culver City Apartments

In Culver City, construction is wrapping up on the Oliver Apartments, a residential-retail complex from the Vancouver-based Bastion Development Corporation.  Standing three stories at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Marcasel Avenue, the building will include 30 one-and-two-bedroom apartments above 8,700 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space.  The low-rise structure, clad mostly in smooth-finish stucco and wood paneling, features private balconies on three sides.

Bastion's project is slated for completion in March 2015.  It may be joined in the near future by a larger neighbor which would straddle the Los Angeles-Culver City border.  Plans filed with the city at 11925 Louise Avenue call for a five-story building, containing 97 apartments and 15,000 square feet of ground-level commercial space.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Budokan of Los Angeles Gets a New Look

Budokan of Los Angeles (Image: Rafu Shimpo)

In October 2014, the Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) proudly announced that it had crossed the 50% threshold in its $23 million fundraising campaign to build the Budokan of Los Angeles.  The proposed recreation center, a longtime goal of many community stakeholders, would replace a surface parking lot at 229-49 S. Los Angeles Street.  Now, in an article published by the Rafu Shimpo, LTSC has unveiled a new look for the project designed by local architecture firm Gruen Associates.

The proposed three-story edifice--named for Tokyo's famous Nippon Budokan--would feature two full-size basketball courts, meeting rooms, a kitchen and landscaped rooftop terraces.  A one-level garage would sit beneath the 44,000-square-foot building, offering parking accommodations for up to 64 vehicles.  LTSC expects multiple uses for the facility, including after-school programs, martial arts tournaments, basketball and volleyball.

Toy Manufacturer Planning Mixed-Use Campus in the West Valley

MGA Entertainment, the Los Angeles-based manufacturer of the popular Bratz doll line, is planning a 1.2-million square-foot mixed-use complex in the San Fernando Valley

The proposed development, located at 20000 West Prairie Street in Chatsworth, would rise upon a nearly 24-acre site which once served as a printing plant for the Los Angeles Times.  The project, which is being designed by Killefer Flammang Architects, calls for a campus-style setting that would include office space, rental apartments, and community-serving retail.

MGA Entertainment's new corporate headquarters would serve as the development's focal point.  The toy maker would relocate approximately 250 employees into an existing 250,000-square-foot facility.  The nondescript two-story structure would be substantially remodeled "with a theme reflective of MGA's products."  Proposed additions include a 7,500-square-foot employee cafeteria, a daycare center, outdoor patio space and significant water features and landscaping.  The building would also contain 43,000 square feet of leasable creative office space and limited assembly, production and showroom space.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Plans Emerge for Playa Vista's Remaining Office Parcels

12099 and 12126 W. Waterfront Drive

With Yahoo! on the cusp of signing a 130,000-square-foot lease in the under-construction Collective campus, Tishman Speyer Properties is now forging ahead with plans for their remaining Playa Vista real estate.

According to a November case filing from the Department of City Planning, the New York-based developer intends to construct two low-rise office buildings adjacent to Playa Vista Central Park.  The first, a six-story structure, would rise from a nearly four-acre site at 12126 West Waterfront Drive.  Directly across the street, plans call for a five-story building and associated surface parking on the six-acre property at 12099 West Waterfront Drive.

City records do not currently indicate the exact footprints of the proposed buildings.  However, a January article from the Los Angeles Times reported that Tishman Speyer had entitlements to build up to 400,000 square feet of office space on the two properties

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

New Wave of Residential Developments Hitting K-Town

Wilshire Professional Building, 1932 (Image: Water and Power Associates)

According to a series of recent case filings from the Los Angeles Department of City Planning, a slew of new multi-family residential developments are planned throughout the hyper-dense Koreatown neighborhood.

Plans were submitted to the city in late November for a new 16-story, 220-unit residential tower at 3875 Wilshire Boulevard.  The one-acre property, listed amongst the portfolio of office landlord Jamison Services, is currently developed with the 12-story Wilshire Professional Building.  The Art Deco landmark has stood at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and St. Andrews Place since 1929.

It is currently unclear whether the proposed development entails the adaptive reuse of the historic building, or new construction on an adjacent surface parking lot.  Jamison Services had previously submitted plans to the city for a low-rise apartment building which would abut the historic office tower.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Rainy Day Westlake Construction Update

As the supply of unclaimed parking lots decreases in Downtown Los Angeles, many developers have begun looking to the neighborhood's fringe for new infill opportunities.  During the past year, multiple projects have emerged in once unfathomable locations outside the Central City freeway ring, including proposed high-rise complexes in Chinatown and South Los Angeles.  However, the chief beneficiary of this shift is undoubtedly the long downtrodden Westlake neighborhood.  The predominantly immigrant community, once considered "Los Angeles' answer to the Champs-Élysées," is now experiencing a resurgence in commercial and market-rate residential development.

Arguably the most conspicuous addition to the neighborhood is Good Samaritan Hostpital's Medical Plaza and Outpatient Pavilion.  The seven-story structure, designed by architecture firm Ware Malcomb, will feature an exterior of shimmering blue-tinged glass.  Budgeted at $80 million, the Medical Plaza will eventually house a pharmacy, multiple clinics and a new ambulatory surgery center.  Additionally, the building will feature a ground-floor café and a window display focused on medical history.

The approximately 190,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open in 2015.

Monday, December 1, 2014

New Look for Culver-City-Adjacent Mixed-User

Image: NMS Properties

Developer NMS Properties has unveiled a new rendering for the NMS Culver City, a residential-retail complex currently under construction along the border between Palms and Culver City.  The $63 million development, designed by Santa Monica-based Killefer Flammang Architects, will feature 131 apartments above 12,500 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space.  The low-rise structure is located at the northwest corner of Washington Boulevard and Hughes Avenue, directly across the street from both Sony Picture Studios and the Kirk Douglas Theater.

Construction crews recently began applying exterior materials to the building's six-story wooden frame.  However, progress on the low-rise development has fallen significantly behind its previously announced schedule.  At the time of groundbreaking, the project was expected to reach completion in mid-2014.  According to the NMS Properties website, opening is now scheduled for sometime during 2015.

Friday, November 28, 2014

K-Town Apartments Finally Shooting Upwards

685 New Hampshire Avenue

In Koreatown, construction forges onward for phase two of K2LA, a low-rise apartment complex from developer Century West Partners.  The project, designed by Los Angeles-based architect David Forbes Hibbert, will consist of two seven-story buildings at 680 Berendo Street and 685 New Hampshire Avenue.  Phase two, which is replacing back-to-back surface parking lots, will offer a total of 347 studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments.  Each building will feature a fitness center, conference rooms and a rooftop amenity deck.

The first phase of K2LA, located on an adjacent property at 688 Berendo Street, opened this past May.  With 130 apartments, the seven-story structure offers a similar blend of dwelling units and residential amenities to its phase two counterparts.

K2LA is one of several new multi-family residential developments which have recently sprung up on the eastern periphery of Koreatown.  Less than a half-mile southwest, a team of local investors plans a 27-story apartment tower at the intersection of 8th and Catalina Streets.  Further east, Century West Partners has proposed a seven-story mixed-use development on a property near Lafayette Park.

685 New Hampshire Avenue (Image: David Forbes Hibbert)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

More Details on the Re-Redesigned AMP Lofts

Image: Bolour Associates

An initial study published earlier this week by the Los Angeles Department of City Planning has revealed new details about the AMP Lofts, a proposed mixed-used complex in the eastern Arts District.  The project, which is being developed by Bolour Associates, would rise from a 2.38-acre site bounded by Seventh Street, Santa Fe Avenue and Imperial Street.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Demolition Imminent at Fig Central Site

In October, Oceanwide Real Estate Group finally revealed their new three-tower plan for the long-awaited Fig Central mega-development.  Just two months later, the Bejing-based developer is already moving ahead with an important first step in the construction process.

Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety issued demolition permits for the existing structures at 1101 S. Flower Street.  The 4.6-acre property, purchased by Oceanwide in late 2013, is currently developed with a pair of low-rise mechanical buildings and an underground bank vault.  Construction of the new tower complex will necessitate the removal of all existing structures.

As of Monday, the process had already kicked off with the arrival of heavy equipment along the Flower Street side of the project site.  This afternoon, a skeleton crew was hastily assembling a chain-link fence which now encircles the property.  One worker stated that demolition was scheduled to begin soon.

Affordable Housing Project Takes Form in Pico Union

Vertical construction is largely complete for Vermont Manzanita, an affordable housing project located in the Pico Union neigborhood.  The five-story structure, which is being developed by the West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation (WHCHC), will feature 40 one- and three-bedroom apartments units.  According to a document from the State Treasurer's office, rents in low-rise complex will range from $233 to $1,292 per month.

In developing Vermont Manzanita, one of WHCHC's primary motivations is ensuring the safety of at-risk children.  Fifteen of the building's residential units will be reserved for families with children under the age of five.  Additionally, the Children's Institute - a local nonprofit which combats child abuse - shall act as Vermont Manzanita's lead service provider.

Designs from architecture firm Hatch-Colasuonna Studio call for lush landscaping on all levels of the building.  Other private amenities will include a children's play area, a barbeque pit and tenant community garden.

The project, located at 1225 South Vermont Avenue, sits along the path of multiple bus lines.  The building will also accommodate a small amount of automobile parking, with garage space at ground level.

Construction of Vermont Manzanita is scheduled for completion in October 2015.  For housing applications and additional information, please visit WHCHC's website.

(Image: Dreyfuss Construction)

Monday, November 24, 2014

New Pomona College Science Building to Open in 2015

All images courtesy of Pomona College

Construction of Pomona College's new 75,000 square-foot Millikan Science Hall is ahead of schedule, with the building slated for completion in mid-2015.  The project, imagined as a new local landmark, was originally scheduled to open next Fall.  When complete, the low-rise structure will house the school's astronomy, mathematics and physics departments.

Copper panels are currently being added to the exterior of the building's planetarium dome, while ceramic tiles and windows are being installed on other parts of the facility.

Millikan Hall, designed by San Francisco-based architecture firm EHDD, will include: a domed digital planetarium; an outdoor physics lab; a two-story atrium; a remote observation room for Pomona's one-meter telescope at NASA's JPL Table Mountain facility; machine, wood and metal shops; a colloquium room with eating for 80 to 100 people; a 50-seat classroom and 16 physics teaching and research labs, in addition to classrooms and study spaces.  Matt Construction is the contractor for the project, which also entails a renovation of the adjacent Andrews Science Hall.

West Valley Doubles Down on Mixed-Use Developments

6912 Reseda Boulevard, looking north

Reseda Boulevard, long an auto-dominated corridor, has gradually come to the forefront of the push for walkable urbanity in the West San Fernando Valley.  The latest installment in this saga, a proposed residential-retail complex, would replace a brief stretch of automobile repair shops and drive-thru restaurants.

According to plans submitted to the city earlier this month, the proposed development at 6912 Reseda Boulevard calls for a six-story building, comprised of 170 residential units and 15,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space.  The project would span across an approximately 1.5-acre site, occupying the majority of a city block between Basset and Hart Streets.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Shiny New Renderings for 3033 Wilshire Boulevard (UPDATED)

3033 Wilshire Boulevard (All images: Steinberg Architects)

New information has emerged regarding 3033 Wilshire Boulevard, a proposed high-rise apartment complex which would straddle the border between Westlake and Koreatown.

Los Angeles-based Steinberg Architects, design architect for the project, recently updated its website with a new a page for the proposed 18-story building.  The tower, as envisioned by developer UDR Incorporated, would consist of 190 apartments, 5,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space, and four levels of below-grade parking.  Residential units would range in size from studios to luxury penthouse spaces, each of which would contain two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Steinberg's design for the building would feature an exterior consisting primarily of glass.  A series of protruding decks would gradually change in shape and size while moving up the tower's mass, giving the facade a fluid texture.  The building would be capped by a rooftop pool and amenity deck, offering panoramic views of Downtown Los Angeles, the Hollywood Hills and the Pacific Ocean.

The project site - located at the northwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Virgil Avenue - was first slated for high-rise development nearly one decade ago.  According to the website of consulting firm PMA, the new apartment tower is scheduled for completion in February 2016.

UPDATE 11/22/14: Heavy equipment and construction materials are present at the development site.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Renderings Revealed for Martin Expo Town Center

A draft environmental impact report published by the Los Angeles Department of City Planning has revealed new details about Martin Expo Town Center (METC), a large mixed-use development proposed in West Los Angeles.  The project, designed by architecture firm Togawa Smith Martin, would create three low-rise and mid-rise structures with a combination of office, residential and retail uses.  Located at 1201 W. Olympic Boulevard, METC would rise from the current home of Martin Cadillac, just one block north of a future Expo Line Station at Bundy Drive.

Apartments Headed for Random Little Tokyo Parking Lot

During the course of Little Tokyo's mid-20th-century urban renewal, entire city blocks were leveled to make way for modern retail and office complexes, including the Japanese Village Plaza and Paker Center.  When the dust had finally settled in the 1980s, a small parking lot between Weller Court and the Kajima Building had somehow managed to escape the process almost completely untouched.  Now, after sitting idle for decades, the roughly half-acre property has been enveloped by Downtown's ongoing residential construction boom.

According to plans filed with the city in early November, the proposed development at 118 Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Street would consist of a six-story building, featuring 66 apartment units above ground-floor retail space.  The low-rise structure would also feature a subterranean parking garage, although city records do not currently specify the total number of vehicle stalls planned.

The proposed building joins several other residential-retail complexes that are currently remaking Little Tokyo's western perimeter.  A half block south, developers Avalon Bay and the Sares-Regis Group are building two low-rise projects which comprise more than 500 new residential units.  West across Los Angeles Street, a seven-story, 236-unit apartment building is planned adjacent to the historic Cathedral of St. Vibiana.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Another Skyscraper Planned in the Historic Core

737 S. Spring Street

Yesterday, the Downtown News reported that Holland Partner Group had recently paid $12.5 million for a parking lot at the intersection of 8th and Spring Streets, with still unrefined plans to build apartments.  According to a recent case filling from the Department of City Planning, the Vancouver-based company intends to join the the burgeoning trend of high-rise development in Downtown's Historic Core.

Plans for the property at 737 South Spring Street call for a 24-story tower, containing 320 apartment units and ground-floor retail uses.  The proposed development would result in a larger building than the property currently allows for, and will thus require a transfer of floor area rights from a different site.

A set of promotional renderings, first seen on DTLA Rising, may offer hints about the project's future.  The conceptual design from Chris Dikeakos Architects featured a soaring 34-story tower above a retail and parking podium.  The actual project at 737 S. Spring Street calls for a slightly shorter building, albeit with a significantly higher level of residential density.

Although Holland Partner Group is no stranger to Downtown, or the Southern California region, the proposed tower will be their first project located east of the 110 Freeway.  The developer is currently building a large residential-retail complex at the corner of 6th and Bixel Streets in City West.  Their earlier work includes a 210-unit mixed-use development on Wilshire Boulevard.

Infill Developments Planned in North Hollywood

11326 weddington Street (Image: Ikon Hospitality)

North Hollywood, home to the dual terminus of Metro's Red and Orange Lines, is gradually embracing its role as one of the San Fernando Valley's few urban hubs.  Plans are already in the works for a high-rise commercial development atop the station's sprawling park-and-ride lot.  Now, according to environmental documents published by LADCP, smaller infill projects are starting to take form on nearby properties.

Ikon Hospitality, a local investor specializing in Southern California hotel properties, is one of several developers active in the neighborhood.  Last year,the company submitted plans to the city for a boutique hotel at 11326 Weddington Street, just one block south of North Hollywood Station.  The four-story development, designed by Irvine-based architecture firm nKlosures, would contain 43 guest rooms and gallery space for local artists.

A slightly larger 70-room inn, also designed by nKlosures, is planned further east on parcels at 11135-45 Burbank Boulevard.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor: Rendered

Though its June 2018 opening date looms on the distant horizon, few details regarding the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor (ESFVTC) are set in stone.  The project, partially funded through $170 million in Measure R revenue, will improve public transportation along a nine-mile swath between the Orange Line busway and Sylmar.  The proposed transit line would serve an area which is home to over 460,000 people--a larger total than either the cities of Atlanta and Miami.  Approximately 35% of residents within this region are deemed transit dependent, a fact which is exemplified by the high level of bus ridership along Van Nuys Boulevard.

Metro is currently compiling a draft environmental impact report for the project, which will study six different options for the ESFVTC.  These alternatives include: 1) no-build, 2) transportation systems management, 3) curb-running bus rapid transit, 4) median-running bus rapid transit, 5) low-floor light rail transit/tram, and 6) median-running light rail transit.  Although the eventual mode of transportation remains undetermined, a series of artistic renderings portray the hypothetical changes which could be wrought through the project.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Mack Urban's New South Park Towers Revealed

1120 Grand Avenue (Image: DLANC)

Late last year, a joint venture between AECOM and developer Mack Urban announced plans for a $750 million mixed-use complex on six acres of South Park real estate.  The first phase of the development - a pair of low-rise structures on Pico Boulevard - was revealed in April to consist of 360 condominium units and roughly 6,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.  Now, take a look at phase two of the mega-project, courtesy of a presentation to the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council's Planning and Land Use Committee.

The largest of the two buildings would rise from a 1.6-acre parking lot at 1120 Grand Avenue.  Designs from architecture firm AC Martin call for a 37-story structure, containing 512 condominium units and slightly under 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space.  The building would be served by a total of 752 parking spaces, situated on six above-grade and two below-grade levels.  Residential units would consist of a mixture of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, in addition to six townhouse units along the western side of the project site.  An outdoor deck atop the building's podium would provide an assortment of residential amenities, including a dog run, exercise space and a swimming pool.

The Mack Urban-AECOM towers are among the first high-rise developments to emerge since Los Angeles eliminated its longtime rooftop helipad mandate.  With that in mind, AC Martin has taken full advantage of the now relaxed policy in its designs for 1120 Grand Avenue.  The tower is to be adorned with a dramatic 100-foot spire, greatly augmenting the building's 386-foot roof height.

Downtown Residential-Retail Complexes Gets Moving

Six months after breaking ground in South Park, construction has gone vertical at Olive & Pico, a new residential-retail complex from the Wolff Company.  The seven-story edifice, designed by Downtown-based TCA Architects, will consist of 293 studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments above 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail and restaurant space.  The low-rise building will sit atop a three-level underground garage, which will accommodate up to 75 vehicles and 342 bicycles.

Plans filed with the city indicate that Olive & Pico will offer a diverse assortment of residential amenities, including a fitness center and multiple outdoor decks.  Additionally, the project will feature 24-hour on-site concierge and valet service, providing a hotel-like experience for residents and guests.

Completion of the $54 million development is scheduled for mid-2016.

Olive & Pico (Image: The Wolff Company)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Miracle Mile Apartment Complex Re-Revealed

Image: LOHA Architects

Take another look at 727 Cloverdale Avenue, a striking low-rise apartment complex planned just south of the Miracle Mile.  The purely residential development, designed by Los Angeles-based LOHA Architects, would rise from a half-acre parking lot adjacent to the landmark Dominguez-Wilshire Building.  Plans submitted to the city call for a four-story structure, containing 43 dwelling units above a four-level underground garage.  The project includes a total of 246 parking spaces, intended for use by both residents and office tenants.

LOHA's design for the apartment complex is intended to complement the Art Deco stylings of its octogenarian neighbor.  Facade elements would include repetitive vertical fins and floor-to-ceiling aluminum casement windows.  The building would maintain an elevation of 48 feet, matching the height profile of adjacent structures along Cloverdale Avenue.

The project's design is also motivated by a desire to provide "indoor-outdoor living."  727 Cloverdale would feature two distinct private courtyards, framed by a meandering exterior walkway.  A fourth-floor pool and shade garden would provide additional open space for residents, offering views of Downtown Los Angeles and the Hollywood Hills.

As of October, Carnegie Hill is in the process of obtaining permits from LADBS which will allow for construction of the project to begin.  However, an official development timeline has not been released.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Multi-Family Rental Projects Rising in Marina Del Rey

After stalling out amid the global recession, fancy residential developments are once again rising in Marina Del Rey's so-called "Arts District."  At 4044 S. Redwood Avenue, construction is nearing completion on a 22-unit low-rise apartment building.  The four-story edifice, designed by Venice-based architecture firm Dex Studio, features private balconies and a bright turquoise panels along its western facade.  The new residential complex replaces two single family homes, an increasingly rare commodity along the Culver City - Marina Del Rey border.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Whoa: Koreatown High-Rise Project Revived

3033 Wilshire Boulevard, by Steinberg Architects (Image: PMA, Inc.)

Longstanding plans to build a high-rise apartment building in eastern Koreatown have suddenly kicked back into gear.

According to a series of permit applications with the Department of Building and Safety, Colorado-based developer UDR, Inc. is moving forward with an 18-story residential tower at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Virgil Avenue.  The 201-foot building, designed by Steinberg Architects, would feature 190 residential units and slightly over 5,500 square feet of ground-level retail space.

Plans call for a wide variety of indoor and outdoor amenities, including a rooftop pool, a fitness center, and bike-storage racks.  The mixed-use development would also offer parking accommodations for as many as 302 vehicles, situated within four podium levels.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Second Mixed-User Headed to La Brea/Willoughby

Over the summer, many Los Angeles preservationists were outraged by the unannounced demolition of the Mole-Richardson Building, a one-story Art Deco structure built in 1930.  Now six months later, a case filing from the Department of City Planning has finally revealed why the 84-year-old building met with such an undignified ending.

According to plans submitted to the city last week, a new residential-retail development will be constructed on the now vacant lot at 900 North La Brea Avenue.  The seven-story complex would contain 169 apartments and slightly over 37,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.  Fourteen of the building's residential units would be reserved for very-low-income households.

Although the project is still in the earliest stages of the city's approval process, the experiences of a similar development across the street hint at a difficult path ahead.  La Brea Gateway, currently under construction, fought against a zealous neighborhood coalition for close to ten years prior to breaking ground this past Spring.  During that process, the project was gradually whittled down from a seven-story, 219-unit development to a more modest five-story, 179-unit building.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Metro Planning New Developments in Boyle Heights

Mariachi Plaza, seen during a recent CicLAvia (Image: Shannon Ino)

Yesterday brought the pleasant surprise of a new mixed-use development catacorner to the Gold Line's Mariachi Plaza Station.  Looks like that was just the tip of an oncoming TOD iceberg.

According to the agenda of the November 5th meeting of Metro's Planning & Programming Committee, the agency is planning new mixed-use developments on four additional properties in Boyle Heights.  This decision follows an 11-month selection process, in which Metro staff evaluated multiple proposals for each site on the basis of 1) their overall development program, 2) project feasibility, 3) the experience and qualifications of the development team and 4) a financial proposal to the agency.

The resulting transit-oriented developments would feature mixtures of affordable housing, retail and office space.  All are located within walking distance of high-frequency bus and rail service, a core tenet of Metro's TOD plan.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mariachi Plaza Getting an Affordable Mixed-User

Conceptual rendering (2012) from DE Architects via Metro

Five years after the Gold Line's Eastside branch opened, development is finally headed to one of the Metro-owned properties above Mariachi Plaza Station.  According to plans submitted to the city in late October, an mixed-use affordable housing project will be constructed on the vacant 1.5-acre lot at 1750 E. 1st Street.

The proposed residential complex, dubbed the Santa Cecilia Apartments, is being developed by a partnership between Metro and McCormack Baron Salazar.  According to a document from the State Treasurer's Office, plans call for 79 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, with rents ranging from approximately $450 to $1,200 per month.  Units would be reserved for families making 30-60% of the Los Angeles median household income.  The four-story development would also include approximately 4,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, situated at the southwest corner of 1st Street and Boyle Avenue.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Big Arts District Warehouse Becoming Office Space

The Arts District continues to shed its industrial past, as yet another adaptive reuse project joins an already considerable list of proposed developments.  According to an October case filing with the Department of City Planning, a 280,000-square-foot warehouse complex at 2060 E. 7th Street is slated for a mixed-use conversion.  Plans filed with the city call for 40,000 square feet of retail and 20,000 square feet of restaurant uses within the development.  Upper floors of four-story complex feature rectangular floor plates, each of which can be combined to offer 88,000 square feet of contiguous office space.

The project is being developed by the Shorenstein Company, a San Francisco-based real estate firm which recently purchased the towering Aon Center.  The above warehouse, dubbed Seventh & Santa Fe, originally opened in 1915 as the Ford Motor Company's Southern California base of operations (Thank you, John Crandell!).  Designed by famed Los Angeles architect John Parkinson, the facility was used primarily for the assembly of Model T's and Model A's.

Seventh & Santa Fe is located in the southernmost section of the Arts District, an area which has recently experienced a noticeable uptick in investment.  Two additional mixed-use developments are planned nearby along 7th Street, potentially creating over 400 new market rate housing units.  Retailers and eateries have also taken notice of the neighborhood, including Bestia and Stumptown Coffee Roasters, both of which are located across Santa Fe Avenue from the proposed office project.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Details Emerge for Hollywood's Academy Square Development

Image: Kilroy Realty via Curbed LA

Over the summer, developer Kilroy Realty unveiled renderings for Academy Square, a $300 million mixed-use development on Vine Street.  Now, a set of environmental documents released by LADCP has revealed additional details about the project, which would create apartments, ground-floor retail, office space, and possibly hotel rooms on a site once intended for the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

Academy Square would rise on a full city block, bounded by Vine Street, DeLongpre, Ivar and Homewood Avenues.  Plans for the 3.55-acre site call for a combination of low-rise and high-rise structures, bisected by an landscaped paseo running east-to-west across the property.

A trio of four-story buildings would flank the northern and southern perimeters of the site, containing approximately 280,000 square feet of office, retail and restaurant space.  According to a conceptual ground-floor site plan from the Shimoda Design Group, a significant portion of the proposed commercial space would be devoted to a 40,000-square-foot market at Vine Street and Homewood Avenue.

Academy Square is highlighted by a 23-story apartment building, which would stand at the northwest corner of the property.  The proposed tower would move forward under one of two development programs currently being considered by Kilroy Realty.  Under the first alternative, the building would contain as many as 250 apartments.  Under the second alternative, the project would feature 100 hotel rooms, in lieu of up to 50 fewer residential units.  Both options would include a fitness center, swimming pool and other standard amenities.

Despite its location a few blocks south of Hollywood/Vine Station, Academy Square would feature approximately 1,349 parking spaces, divided accordingly between residential, office and retail tenants.  Vehicular access to an underground garage would be provided via DeLongpre, Ivar and Homewood Avenues.

According to environmental report, construction of the potentially LEED-certified development is expected to last 27 months, starting in late 2015 and ending in early 2018.