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Later this year, Metro is expected to issue its request for interest for a potential transit-oriented development at the new subway station under construction at 1st Street and Central Avenue in Little Tokyo.  In advance of the pending RFI, an "opportunity overview" published by the transit agency offers up a sneak preview of the could be built atop the underground light rail stop - which will serve the Gold and Blue Lines.

Under the pending updated of the Central City Community Plan, the 1st and Central station site would be eligible for housing and commercial uses, with a minimum building height of three stories and a maximum of an 8:1 floor area ratio with development incentives.  Stakeholder outreach thus far by Metro has indicated community support for the development of restaurant space, independent shops, affordable housing, a grocery store, and a plaza with cultural events at the property.

Due to the orientation of the 1st/Central station box, which cuts diagonally through the site, a substantial portion of the will remain off-limits to new development.  This leaves an approximately 14,500-square-foot area at the southern edge of the property, which is considered feasible for the construction of a mid-rise building.  Another section of the property at 1st and Alameda Streets could also be improved with a low-rise structure.

A series of massing studies were presented at a Community Roundtable convened for the project, showing buildings ranging between two and seven stories in height.

A request for qualifications for the project is scheduled to be released in mid-to-late 2018.

Several other planning efforts have recently addressed the site, including the Sustainable Little Tokyo initiative - which imagined the 1st/Central site as community gathering space - and the new Civic Center Master Plan - which hopes to link the station with other civic institutions through a central pedestrian spine cutting north through a series of City-owned blocks.

Rendering of the 1st/Central Station plaza. Image via Metro.
Development site at 1st/Central. Image via Metro.
Massings of a potential development at 1st/Central Station. Image via Metro.
Massings of a potential development at 1st/Central Station. Image via Metro.

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