Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has unveiled renderings for a proposed mixed-use development which would rise from long-vacant lots at the corner of Vermont and Manchester Avenues.
The project, which would rise across a 4.2-acre site at the 8400 and 8500 blocks of Vermont, calls for the construction of two six-story buildings featuring 180 units of affordable housing, 50,000 square feet of retail space, and a boarding school with 200 dorm rooms. Other features of the project would include basement and structured parking for up to 383 vehicles, as well as 20 faculty apartments and space for commercial tenants including a grocery store and a bank.
KFA Architects is designing the project, which would frame a proposed 52,000-square-foot transit plaza near the heart of the property. The development site sits along a busy transportation corridor that is slated for the construction of a bus rapid transit line in the distant future.
The proposed development is made possible by a unanimous vote by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in December 2017 to initiate eminent domain proceedings for the development site at a cost of $15.7 million. The development site, currently owned jointly by the private development firm Sassony Group and CRA/LA, has been vacant since the early 1990s.
In more recent years, Sassony has proposed the construction of an open-air shopping mall on the property, dubbed the Vermont Entertainment Village. However, despite a ceremonial groundbreaking held in 2015, construction for the project has yet to begin. The blighted conditions were the basis of a 2017 report in L.A. Weekly, which described the Vermont and Manchester property as having been held "hostage," for a quarter century.
The lack of progress eventually led to the County's proposed acquisition of the property, which is being contested by Sassony. The legal dispute will be considered at a court hearing in mid-April.
Congresswoman Maxine Water is convening a community meeting to solicit feedback on the proposed development this Saturday, February 10 at 12 pm at the Community Christian Reformed Church, located at 10611 S. Hoover Street.
A timeline for the Vermont Manchester project has not been announced, nor is it clear who would serve as its developer.