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.

An Overhead Perspective on Playa Vista Phase Two

Only from above can one fully appreciate the massive amount of construction underway throughout the Playa Vista neighborhood.  The thousand-acre expanse, formerly a component of the Howard Hughes aerospace empire, is now giving birth to creative office space, pricey chain retailers, and thousands of luxury apartments, condominiums, and single-family homes.  Take a quick photo tour through phase two of the planned community, from a vantage point high up in the Westchester Bluffs.