Ever since its completion in 2007, the Santee Court/Santee Village complex has felt a bit isolated. Sitting at the northern edge of the Fashion District, the 381-unit condo and apartment complex spans six former industrial buildings overlooking a central courtyard. The complex, along with the 64-unit Textile Building, are the only residential structures on the block defined by Seventh, Eighth, Los Angeles and Maple Streets.
Too far east to feel like a contiguous part of the Historic Core, yet starkly different than the neighboring Flower District and Skid Row. With a much higher density of residents than the rest of the Fashion District, Santee can feel like a bit of an odd duck. Albeit a wonderful, unique, community-driven odd duck (full disclosure, I live there.)
Now, Santee’s isolation appears to be at an end. A handful of new mixed-use adaptive reuse projects and street improvements are filling in the gaps and transforming the area for the better. Here’s our full breakdown:
First up, there’s Capital Foresight’s Garment Lofts, located at 217 E 8th Street. This adaptive reuse project brought 77 live-work lofts and 3,479 SF of retail to the neighborhood when it opened this past summer. Best of all, the project saw the full restoration of the beautifully ornate facade of the original 1926 Garment Capitol building. The residential units are reportedly leasing up briskly. No word yet on what what retailers or restaurants might be leasing the ground-floor commercial spaces.
Just south of Garment Lofts at 819 S Santee Street are the Maxfield Lofts - another team effort from Capital Foresight and PSL Architects. When completed, this 12-story adaptive reuse project will bring an additional 96 live-work lofts to the neighborhood, ranging from 571 square feet to 1292 square feet in floor area. The Maxfield Lofts will also contain a retail component of an as-of-yet undetermined size on its ground floor.
The project commenced in 2014 and is slated for completion in early 2016.
Grether & Grether Lofts
Also under construction is Grether & Grether Lofts, an adaptive reuse project by investment group Duns Capital in — you guessed it: the Grether & Grether building. Located at 730 S Los Angeles Street and flanked by Santee Village and Santee Court, the six-story project will bring 72 live-work lofts to the neighborhood along with 30 underground parking spaces, a landscaped rooftop deck, a dog run and yoga area, and a whopping 11,500 square of retail space.
The ground floor is noteworthy as it will be an arcade of sorts, with retail situated along the sides of the building and public entrances on both ends (Los Angeles Street and the Santee courtyard). The front of the building will be occupied by a 127 seat restaurant with outdoor patio.
Construction of the Grether & Grether Lofts began in June 2014 and is slated for completion in early 2016.
Lastly there’s the Gill Lofts, an upcoming adaptive reuse project of the 102-year old Grayco Building at 752 S Los Angeles Street. The project will replace the current mix of office and light-industrial uses on upper floors with 54 new live-work units. The existing 6,432 square feet of retail located on the ground and mezzanine levels will remain.
The project’s namesake is building owner T.S. Gill, who also owns the Stillwell Hotel in neighboring South Park.
No word yet on when construction will begin.
Dovetailing with these residential developments is the second phase of the Department of Public Works’s Los Angeles Street Streetscape Improvement Project. Spanning a three block stretch of Los Angeles Street between 7th Street and Olympic Boulevard, the project will bring new street trees, sidewalk repairs, improved pedestrian lighting, landscaped pedestrian bump-outs, continental crosswalks, and access ramp improvements.
Construction is slated to begin in Spring or Summer of 2016.
The renewed economic development in the neighborhood has coincided with a renewed sense of community engagement. The past year has seen a variety of neighborhood events taking place, including impromptu live music shows, outdoor film screenings in the Santee courtyard and neighborhood yard sale days. In that vein, the Fashion District BID will be sponsoring an “Urban Dinner Party” on October 15th, featuring a four course meal served on a 96-foot dining table at Santee and Eighth Streets. Event info and tickets can be found here.