Update: The Metro Board's Planning and Programming Committee voted against moving forward with the proposed development unless the developer would agree to provide additional affordable housing, per Streetsblog.
A local physician who has invested heavily in property in the Westlake community is now pitching a mixed-use development for Metro-owned property across the street from MacArthur Park.
The Walter J Company - named for founder Dr. Walter Jayasinghe - is poised to enter into an exclusive negotiation agreement with Metro for the development of properties located above the Westlake/MacArthur Park subway station. According to a presentation scheduled for this week's meeting of the Metro Board's Planning and Programming Committee, the proposed project would feature 665 residential units - including 120 subsidized affordable units - in addition to a 252-room hotel, approximately 70,000 square feet of commercial space, and approximately 75,000 square feet of open space amenities. Additionally, plans call for a "cooperative marketplace," for local artisans and vendors - building off of the existing space for street vendors at the station plaza.
A conceptual illustration of the proposed development depicts low-rise structures rising on the Metro-owned land above the station, with pedestrian passageway cutting between two buildings and linking with a mid-block crossing of Alvarado Street. In the background, tall masses depict an existing medical office building owned by the Walter J Company along Wilshire Boulevard, as well as a potential new building fronting 7th Street.
Upon the approval of the Board of Directors, Metro staff would executive a short-term exclusive negotiating agreement with the Walter J Company for the project, providing opportunities to address community amenities, affordable housing, outreach, and a design concept for the project. A full-term exclusive negotiating agreement period could be approved at a later date.
The project bears some resemblance to The Lake on Wilshire, another proposed development from the Walter J Company slated for a property located one block west. That development calls for the construction of a 41-story, 478-unit apartment tower on what is now a surface parking lot, as well as the conversion of a 14-story office building into a 220-room boutique hotel.
This is the second attempt at a development on the Westlake/MacArthur Park Station site, following an earlier proposal from McCormack Baron Salazar which called for an 82-unit low-income apartment complex with retail. The new proposal is not an exclusively affordable housing development, but does call for a larger number of subsidized homes for rent.
McCormack Baron Salazar previously completed a low-income apartment complex on another Metro-owned site located a block west at 7th and Bonnie Brae Streets. That community received more than 2,000 applications for just 90 apartments.
- Westlake/MacArthur Park Metro TOD (Urbanize LA)