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.

However, a compromise solution may provide relief for residents without negatively affecting businesses within the Sawtelle Japantown.  Several neighborhood stakeholders have proposed opening the parking garages of nearby office buildings to public use at nights and on weekends, when they typically sit empty.  One church on Olympic Boulevard has already established this type of relationship with the property owner of an adjacent mid-rise tower.

Parking will likely continue to be an issue of concern for this section of West Los Angeles in the coming years, as a new wave of development begins washing over the neighborhood.  In addition to 1854 Sawtelle Boulevard, a larger 52-unit residential development is planned directly across Missouri Avenue.  Further south, a 73-unit mixed-use complex is planned for the current site of the Westside Family YMCA.