Thursday, August 28, 2014

Redesigned Bixel & 6th Development Rendered

Bixel & 6th.  Image credit: LoopNet.

Take another look at Bixel & 6th, the fortress-like mixed-use development currently sprouting next to Good Samaritan Hospital.  Designed by Togawa Smith Martin, the six-story complex will offer 606 studio to three-bedroom apartment units, seated above 25,000 square feet of commercial space and a 762-vehicle parking garage.  The $200 million development also entails the adaptive reuse of an A.C. Martin-designed office building, located at the corner of 6th Street and Lucas Avenue.  The eight-story edifice, built in the 1920s, will contain a total of 42 apartments (including 27 affordable units).

Planned amenities will include rooftop decks, an outdoor pool, a fitness center and new landscaping.  Designs call for a pedestrian paseo to bisect the newly constructed buildings, running north to south from the project's 6th Street frontage.  The paseo would provide open space for residents and potentially outdoor seating for ground-floor commercial tenants.

The approximately 900,000 square foot complex is being developed by Holland Residential, a subsidiary of the Holland Partner Group.  The Vancouver-based organization is no stranger to City West, having previously developed a smaller residential-retail project immediately south of Bixel & 6th.  That project, known as 1111 Wilshire, has helped usher a new wave of development into Downtown's westernmost nabe.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

More on Hollywood and La Brea's Upcoming High-Rise Complex

All images credit: Horizon Hollywood and GMPA Architects

With an official website up and running, we can now take a closer look at the latest tower project slated to realign Hollywood's low-slung skyline.  The $150 million Horizon Hollywood - to be developed by a partnership between by Kennedy Wilson and the LeFrak Organization - would create 410  residential units and 10,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space just a short walk from Hollywood/Highland Station.

Designed by Santa Monica-based GMPA Architects, Horizon would erect a trio of modern buildings on a two-acre property currently occupied by Mosaic Church.  A 26-story tower known as the La Brea Building would be the centerpiece of the development, rising 275 feet from the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and namesake La Brea Avenue.  Renderings portray a white color scheme for the high-rise, similar to that of many nearby historic structures.

Moving northwest from the busy intersection, Horizon's buildings would step down in height to match the scale of adjacent developments.  The eight-story Boulevard Building, to be located in-between the aforementioned tower and an existing residential mid-rise, would stand 88 feet above street level.  The six-story Courtyard Building, the smallest of the proposed structures, would rise 65 feet at the northernmost corner of the development site.  All three buildings would be served by a wide array of amenities, including roof decks, a fitness center, conference and media rooms, and an outdoor pool.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Another Mixed-User Headed to Santa Monica Boulevard

11852 Santa Monica Boulevard

Just as one of West Los Angeles' abandoned car dealership prepares for a mixed-use conversion, a similar development plan is emerging at the same intersection.  According to a recent case filing from LADCP, a quarter-acre lot at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Westgate Avenue is slated for a new residential-retail development.  Plans call for a four-story building, consisting of 39 apartments and ground-level commercial space.  The apartments and retail stalls would be served by a three-level subterranean parking garage.

The low-rise complex would rise directly across the street from a larger mixed-use development, proposed by the Hollywood-based CIM Group.  Their plans, recently discussed with members of the West Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, would create a four-story, 157-unit apartment building on the former site of Beurge Ford.

Adding to this momentum, other development schemes are percolating on properties further east.  CIM Group owns a second vacant car dealership nearby, although exact plans for the property have yet to crystallize.  Surprisingly, Curbed LA reports that development rumors have also surfaced at the former site of West Los Angeles' "Ghetto Vons."

Monday, August 25, 2014

Carmel Partners Revising Plans for South Park Tower

The now outdated design of 801 Olive Street, by GMP Architects

Nine months after revealing plans for a new residential tower in South Park, Carmel Partners is switching up the playbook.  According to a memo issued earlier this month by the Department of City Planning, the San Francisco-based developer's proposed high-rise building at 801 Olive Street has been redesigned by a new, unspecified architect.  Although the fundamentals of the project remain the same (363 apartments above 10,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and a four-level parking podium), the retooled development plan calls for a tower that is both taller and slimmer than previously approved.  The now rectangular-shaped building is set to rise 33 stories (352 feet), representing a six-floor increase from the previous design by GMP Architects.

801 Olive Street is one of several skyline-altering developments planned for the northern section of South Park, including a 50-story condo project from the Onni Group and a 33-story apartment tower from CIM Group.  However, it is a more vertically challenged neighbor that has arguably generated the biggest news for the neighborhood.  Carmel Partners' seven-story G8 development is slated to bring 700 apartments to the Downtown market, a larger total than any of its sky-scraping neighbors.  More importantly, the low-rise building will feature a 42,000 square foot Whole Foods Market when it opens in 2015.  The high-end grocer has been listed amongst the most sought-after retailers for Downtown residents in recent years, perhaps second only to the elusive Trader Joe's.

Friday, August 22, 2014

More Residential Flooding into Koreatown's Western Fringe (UPDATED)

Per an LADCP case filing from last month, a sizeable multi-family residential development is headed to the western edge of Koreatown.  The apartment complex, pegged for an approximately one-acre property at 700 South Manhattan Place, would offer 162 residential units within a seven-story structure.  The project site, currently developed with surface parking and a nondescript two-story structure, spans slightly more than one acre near the intersection of Western Avenue and 7th Street.  Residents would be located just one block south of the Purple Line's current Wilshire/Western terminus, offering quick service to Downtown Los Angeles and connections to all other points on the Metro Rail network.

The new development is situated in a highly walkable section of Koreatown, with a slew of stores and eateries strewn about surrounding blocks.  Unsurprisingly, other multi-family projects area slated for the neighborhood.  The locally-based Hankey Group is in the planning stages for a similar low-rise residential development, intended for a long vacant property at the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Hobart Avenue.  South along Western Avenue, a 79-unit mixed-use complex is proposed across the street from Koreatown Plaza.

(UPDATE) An e-mail tipster has noted the following about 700 S. Manhattan Place:
"The project requests three variances: (1) to allow an approximately 35% increase in density; (2) to average floor area ratios across residential and commercial zones; and (3) to permit vehicular access for a commercial zone from a residential zone.

Probably not coincidentally, these variances would be available to the project as Density Bonus incentives if the project provided affordable housing.  Density Bonus projects providing a certain amount of units covenanted for very-low or low income households are entitled to a 35% increase in density, FAR averaging and parking access from a less restrictive zone.  The variance filing appears to be a means of avoiding providing affordable units."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Details Emerge for Adaptive Reuse of Joseph Youngerman Building

Image credit: Bob Safai

Thanks to documents from the Mid City West Community Council's Planning and Land Use Committee, details have emerged for CIM Group's upcoming mixed-use conversion of the monolithic Joseph Youngerman Building. The nine-story office tower, currently vacant, is slated to become a 36-unit apartment complex featuring street-level commercial space.  The mid-rise building occupies a prominent location along the Third Street shopping corridor, situated one block east of the Beverly Center and Cedars-Sinai Hospital.  An above-grade, 107-stall parking garage will be maintained as part of the adaptive reuse project, nearly double what is required by code.

Built during the 1980s office boom, the Joseph Youngerman Building has stood head-and-shoulders above its low-rise surroundings for more than three decades.  The 38,000 square foot edifice was previously home to the Director's Guild of America's pension and health fund, and is named for the union's longtime executive secretary.  However, the DGA's decision to relocate to more expansive facilities along the Miracle Mile last year left the building without a primary tenant, opening the door for CIM Group to purchase the mostly vacant tower for $14 million.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Runyon Group's Platform Takes Shape in Culver City

The above image should be a very familiar to all passengers coming to and from the Expo Line's current Culver City terminus.  Nine months after breaking ground at the corner of Washington and National Boulevards, the Runyon Group is still roaring ahead with construction on their mixed-use development known as the Platform.  The Abramson Teiger-designed  project will feature an eclectic mixture of retail, restaurant and office space.

Steel framing is now in place for Boxcar, a four-story creative office building located at northeast corner of Washington Boulevard and Landmark Street.  Across the street, rebar and concrete is still rising for the Washington Arts Building, a five-story parking that will be structure obscured by murals on upper floors and commercial stalls at ground level.  Out of frame to the left, other buildings that will contain additional retail and restaurant establishments now rise above the the elevated Expo Line tracks.

A significant portion of the complex's commercial stalls have already been leased, with announced tenants including Aesop skin care, Blue Bottle Coffee and a signature restaurant from renowned New York chef Michael White.  As the Platform quickly moves to become a major destination for for shopping and dining, it becomes increasingly difficult to believe that this was still an abandoned car dealership less than one year ago.

Image credit: Abramson Teiger Architects

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

More Multi-Family Action on the Palms/Culver City Border

Downtown Culver City, long a destination for dining out, is quickly becoming a residential community thanks to the never-ending expansion of the Palms neighborhood.  The latest chapter in this ongoing saga is headed to an approximately half-acre property located between Venice and Washington Boulevards.  According plans filed earlier this month with the City of Los Angeles, a parking lot at 3822 Dunn Drive is slated to give way for an 86-unit apartment complex with a vehicular garage.

The proposed multi-family building is one of developments in Palms and Culver City that has been prompted by nearby Expo Line Stations.  The mixed-use NMS@Culver City is currently under construction immediately south of 3822 Dunn Drive, bringing 121 apartments and 12,000 square feet of retail space to the corner of Washington Boulevard and Hughes Avenue.  A few blocks west, an art deco-inspired apartment complex is planned on Overland Avenue, directly across the street from Sony Picture Studios.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Perpetually Stalled Hollywood Office Building Getting Active

Image credit: Loopnet.

Over three years after Molly's Burgers served its final customers, one of Hollywood's most polarizing projects is poised to emerge unscathed from development hell.  1601 Vine Street, a mid-rise office tower first proposed in 2006, is miraculously on pace to break ground before the end of this calendar year.  Last week, demolition permits were pulled for the pair of drab commercial structures that currently occupy the project site.  This follows construction permits for the new office building, which have been in the works since earlier this summer.

The eight-story, glass-clad structure will contain 112,000 square feet of creative office space, a 2,000 square foot ground-level commercial stall, and a five-level, 194-vehicle underground parking garage.  The Gensler-designed building will stand approximately 130 feet tall, adhering to Hollywood's historic (but non-binding) height limit.

The turning point for 1601 Vine Street came last year, when the locally-based J.H. Snyder Company took over development of project.  Although a bureaucratic hiccup towards the end of 2013 delayed a previously scheduled Spring groundbreaking, the city and the developer worked quickly to put their ducks in a row.  Snyder told Bloomberg earlier this year that he expects to break ground on the speculative development sometime in September.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Second Phase of K2LA Still Inching Along

680 Berendo Street

Construction is slow but steady in Koreatown, where developer Century West Partners is (still) working on the 347-unit phase two of their K2LA apartment complex.  The two seven-story buildings, designed by local architect David Forbes Hibbert, have progressed slowly since breaking ground in late 2013.  After nine months of construction, the structure at 685 New Hampshire Avenue protrudes just one floor above ground, while its companion at 680 Berendo Street has yet to reach street level.  Both buildings were previously scheduled for completion in late 2014, a target date which is now highly unrealistic given the project's current status.

On the other hand, the more punctual phase one of the development opened its doors this past May.  Located at 688 Berendo Street, the seven-story building offers 130 studio, one and two-bedroom apartment units.  The low-rise structure features similar amenities to its phase two counterparts, including a fitness center, conference room, club house, and two roof decks with outdoor grills and fire pits.  Although 688 Berendo Street does contains no street-fronting retail space, the building does utilize a green wall to obscure its podium-level parking garage.

Over the past several years, Century West Partners has emerged as a prolific developer of multi-family residential buildings throughout Los Angeles County.  Besides K2LA, the company is also in the midst of construction on multiple mixed-use complexes both in Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica.  The developer is also in the planning stages for a second project in Koreatown, which would replace an unused property at 6th Street and Virgil Avenue with 399 apartments and 20,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.

680 Berendo Street, rendered. Image credit: David Forbes Hibbert

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Introducing Altitude at Howard Hughes Center

With thousands of residential units flooding into the massive Playa Vista campus, it appears that the lucrative multi-family action has started flowing south towards LAX.  Courtesy of TCA Architects, take a first look at Altitude, a low-rise residential development now under construction at Westchester's Howard Hughes Center.  Consisting of two six-story buildings at 5900 and 6040 Center Drive, the project from Equity Residential will offer a combined total of 545 studio, one and two-bedroom apartment units.

The architecture of the residential development is described as a "contemporary interpretation of art deco," and is designed to reflect the aeronautical history of the Howard Hughes Center's namesake.  Sweeping roof lines and canopies mimic the look of airplane wings, while glass towers at important corners emanate a campus-like presence.

Plans Filed for Four New Mixed-Users in Downtown

One year after announcing ambitious Downtown expansion plans, Barry Shy is officially putting his money where his mouth is.  Over the past several weeks, SB Properties has filed plans with the city for four new residential developments, including multiple high-rise towers and an adaptive reuse project.  The four mixed-use complexes are being designed by Los Angeles-based DT Architects, and will invigorate current pedestrian dead zones along Broadway, Main and Hill Streets with approximately 1,000 market rate apartment units and street-level commercial space.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mixed-Use Development to Replace Westside Family YMCA

West Los Angeles' Sawtelle Corridor has received a new lease on life in recent years, as trendy stores and restaurants have poured into the historic Japanese American enclave.  Now, a new development could add extra pedestrian traffic to the busy commercial corridor.  According to a recent LADCP case filing, a new mixed-use development is proposed at 1947 Sawtelle Boulevard, with plans calling for 73 apartment units and an unspecified amount of street-level commercial space.  The low-rise project would require the demolition of the West Los Angeles YMCA, a three-story structure which has stood at the corner of Sawtelle and La Grange Avenue since the early 1970s.

Like most large scale developments in West Los Angeles, traffic congestion will likely reign as the chief concern of future neighbors.  Two mixed-use projects planned near Expo Line stations at Sepulveda Boulevard and Bundy Drive have faced opposition from some Westside residents over their anticipated impacts on already-gridlocked streets.  One block north of the YMCA redevelopment, a proposed apartment complex recently cut its ground-floor retail component, citing traffic concerns raised by neighbors.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

High-Rise Complex Proposed at Hollywood and La Brea

7107 Hollywood Boulevard

As the developer of the controversial Millennium Hollywood proudly declares its property fault-free, another skyline altering project will soon go before the neighborhood's notorious NIMBY gauntlet.  Last week, plans were submitted to the city for a new mixed-use complex at the northwest corner of Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea Avenue.  The proposed development would consist of a "six to twenty-six story building," containing retail space and an unspecified number of residential units within approximately 466,000 square feet of floor space.

The two-acre development site - currently home to the nomadic MOSAIC church - lies just outside the southernmost boundary of the Hollywood fault zone.  The exact route of the fault line has become a contentious issue over the past several years, as outspoken neighbors have fought several proposed high-rise buildings on the basis of earthquake safety.  Developments falling within 500 feet of an active fault line require stringent seismic testing, in order to avoid the potential dangers posed by a surface rupture.  In this particular case, a video flyover produced by the Los Angeles Times portrays the fault zone as running a half-block north of the project site, ending near Franklin Avenue.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Westwood Boulevard Office Building to Make Way for Apartments

Low-slung Westwood Boulevard is slowly but surely raising its height profile.  According to new environmental documents from the Department of City Planning, locally-based Halco Management intends to replace a mid-century office building near Olympic Boulevard with a new residential-retail complex.

Plans call for a low-rise structure at 2134 Westwood Boulevard, containing 64 studio and one bedroom apartments, 5,500 square feet of retail space, and a two-level subterranean parking garage.  Based on information from the Albert Group Architects, Halco intends to market the project as housing for UCLA undergraduate and graduate students.  The development would also cater to working parents, offering an on-site childcare center.

The mixed-use building's design would feature an uneven roof line, as stipulated by elements of Los Angeles' zoning code.  Due to the inclusion of a six-unit low-income housing component, the project would rise five stories along Westwood Boulevard, a slight increase from the property's current height limit.   Moving east, the building would step down to two stories along an adjacent single family zone.  This back section of the development would also feature terraced roofs with significant landscaping, providing additional privacy for the adjacent houses

Halco also plans a similar residential-retail development further north, near the intersection of Westwood and Santa Monica Boulevards.  That project would replace a stretch of low-rise commercial structures with a second five-story mixed-use complex, featuring 71 apartments above 6,000 square feet of ground-level commercial space.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Suburbia Alive and Well on Fairfax Avenue

America's most prolific home builder is once again plying its trade in Mid-City Los Angeles.  As pointed out by a few keen observers, Forth Worth-based developer D.R. Horton recently broke ground on a 60-lot residential subdivision at the corner of Sawyer Street and Fairfax Avenue.  Each new homes will stand two-stories, offering three and four bedroom floor plans ranging from 2,590 to 2,900 square feet in size.  Renderings from Santa Monica-based Van Tilburg, Banyard & Soderberg Architects portray a series of Spanish Revival style houses, inspiring one e-mail tipster to quip that it "looks like a piece of the Inland Empire has landed in Mid-City."  Asking prices will reportedly start at $1.2 million (ouch).

In previous years, the approximately ten-acre development site served as home for the classic KHJ AM Radio Towers.  Built in the mid-1930s, the towers were a well known landmark for commuters along the Santa Monica Freeway until their demolition last Spring.  For more on their history, check out this article from the Long Beach Report.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Closer Look at 7500 Sunset: Hollywood's Latest Mixed-User

Earlier this month, Curbed LA revealed renderings for a new residential-retail complex in Hollywood, intended to replace a cluster of one-story commercial buildings at 7500-7580 Sunset Boulevard.  The mixed-use development from West Hollywood-based Faring Capital would invigorate two sleepy blocks between Gardener and Curson Avenues with 236 luxury residential units above 30,000 square feet of neighborhood-serving retail and restaurant space.  Designed by Santa Monica's Killefer Flammang Architects, the project calls for two low-rise structures featuring high-quality finishes and ample outdoor amenities.

The western building - intended for a rectangular property between Sierra Bonita and Curson Avenues - would feature four stories of residential units above 16,000 square feet of street-level commercial space.  The design is intended to evoke a classic Hollywood look, with facade elements including sandstone and brass.  Upper levels are stepped back from Sunset Boulevard, creating private balconies above and a more intimate ground-level experience below.  Further in line with this emphasis on the pedestrian, vehicular access to the structure's underground parking garage would be located away from the building's Sunset Boulevard frontage.