Thanks to CityGrows, take a first look at 950 Third, the mixed-use development slated for the vacant lot adjacent to SCI-Arc. The low-rise project - originally slated to break ground this summer - is being developed by a team consisting of Ohio-based Associated Estates Realty and Glendale-based Legendary Development. Renderings from Kava Massih Architects portray multiple brick-clad structures, standing between five and six stories in height. Residential buildings would contain a total of 472 apartments, centered around a 922-vehicle parking garage. The developers intend to mitigate the project's sprawling footprint by creating a new road through the the property.
Although the empty, 5.6-acre lot represents a major hole in the northern Arts District, some residents have expressed discontent with the the proposed residential-retail development. In an open letter to City Councilman Jose Huizar, CityGrows creator Stephen Corwin blasted the project's design as "soulless....cheap and uninviting." He further notes that the project's copious parking accommodations - nearly double what is required by code - run counter to City Hall's effort to build a more walkable, sustainable Los Angeles.
Past development schemes at 950 East 3rd Street have also been met with criticism. Nearly a decade ago, Downtown-based Meruelo Maddux Properties (since rebranded as EVOQ Properties) proposed two 40-story condo towers for the lot. Arts District residents staunchly opposed that plan, which was deemed to be out of character with the surrounding neighborhood. Legendary Development experienced similar difficulties with their first attempt at the project two years ago, producing a design that was described to the Downtown News as "banal [and] boring."
The project is representative of a sea change currently underway in the Arts District. Up until recently, most residential and commercial development in the neighborhood had consisted of the adaptive reuse of former warehouses and factories. However, high demand for housing has a introduced a new element into Downtown's easternmost nabe: ground-up construction. Developments such as One Santa Fe and the revived AMP Lofts offer a stark contrast to the aesthetics and amenities of the Arts District's existing housing stock.