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.

The Santa Cecilia Apartments are part of a broader effort by Metro to build affordable transit oriented developments on its various East Los Angeles properties.  However, many of these projects have inspired a lukewarm reaction from their surrounding neighborhoods, and in certain cases outright hostility.  A particularly controversial proposal known as Lorena Plaza has sparked fierce debate over its inclusion of housing for mentally ill and formerly homeless individuals.

At Mariachi Plaza, the Santa Cecilia Apartments are merely the first component of a much larger plan.  Additional Metro-owned land to the north of the subway station is also slated for development, although construction is not imminent.  An earlier proposal for the site called for a low-rise complex, featuring community-serving retail and medical office space.

Further improvements are also in the works for other properties surrounding the Gold Line station. West across Boyle Avenue, La Monarca Bakery is currently building out their new location on the ground floor of the Boyle Hotel, a 19th century Victorian structure which now serves as affordable housing.  On the opposite side of the intersection, a public park is tentatively planned for a quarter-acre site controlled by CRA/LA.


  1. If you check the Metro agendas for this month, I think they may have picked joint developers for the other east LA sites too

    1. Whoa, nice catch. Really like the project at Soto Station, at least what I can see of it in the grainy rendering.