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Following setback after setback, A Community of Friends has finally found the light at the end of the tunnel for the beleaguered Lorena Plaza development in Boyle Heights.

Earlier today, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to approve the proposed development, which would consist of a five-story, 49-unit building with ground-floor retail space on a Metro-owned property near the Gold Line's Indiana Station at 1st and Lorena Streets.

Pasadena-based architecture firm Gonzalez Goodale is designing Lorena Plaza, along with several other affordable housing projects in Boyle Heights.

After being stonewalled by procedural obstacles for most of the past year, ACOF's path forward was cleared last week when 14th District Councilmember dropped his opposition to the project.  Streetsblog reports that ACOF made several concessions to mollify the concerns of both Huizar and an adjoining property owner -El Mercado - including agreeing to conduct an additional environmental assessment, seeking funds for a third staff member on-site, additional security personnel, and having tenants sign agreements acknowledging the hours and operations of El Mercado.

Additionally, the proposed building has been redesigned with thicker walls and insulation to reduce sound from the adjoining property, and ACOF has offered up to 5,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space to El Mercado at a reduced rate.

Nonetheless, El Mercado has continued to express opposition to the development, sending a letter of opposition to Huizar and hinting at potential litigation against the project.

In addition to Lorena Plaza, Metro has collaborated with several other developers to create subsidized affordable housing on its properties near the Eastside branch of the Gold Line.  McCormick Baron Salazar has already completed the 80-unit Santa Cecilia Apartments near Mariachi Plaza Station, and ELACC has been announced as the developer of another property located nearby.

North of Soto Station on Cesar Chavez Avenue, Abode Communities has been selected to construct housing on two other vacant sites.

Rendering of Lorena Plaza. Image via Gonzalez Goodale.
Rendering of Lorena Plaza. Image via Gonzalez Goodale.
Lorena Plaza site. Image via Google Maps.

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