A five-acre property near Mariachi Plaza that has long served as a Japanese retirement community could soon add new multifamily housing, according to an application submitted to the City of Los Angeles.
Originally developed as the Jewish Home for the Aged in the early 20th century, the campus at 325 S. Boyle Avenue was converted into housing for Japanese seniors in the mid-1970s, when it was purchased by the non-profit organization Keiro. Keiro operated two separate communities on the property - a retirement home and an intermediate care facility - until 2015, when the organization sold the campus to real estate investment firm Pacifica Companies, LLC.
As a condition of a sales agreement approved by then California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Pacifica was required to continue operating the Keiro facilities - with the same level of care and culturally-sensitive offerings for Japanese-Americans - for a period of five years. Now, with that term coming to a close, the San Diego-based firm is able to pursue development options.
Under the application submitted to the Planning Department in early August, Pacifica would redevelop a recreation field at the southeast corner of the Boyle Heights property with a 40,000-square-foot structure containing 50 residential units and a rooftop garden.
According to Ryley Webb, land development manager with Pacifica, some ground improvements are proposed with the project to provide additional recreation areas for residents. However, Pacifica does not plan to rebuilt the field elsewhere on the campus.
Additionally, the facility's intermediate care facility (ICF) - a five-story structure built in the 1950s - would be converted to a 45-unit multifamily apartment complex. A surface parking lot located between ICF and the neighboring US-101 Freeway would be developed with a standalone parking structure.
ICF, which is an assisted living facility, remains in operation, according to Webb. While the pending entitlement application calls for the building to be potentially converted to housing, the facility is expected to continue operating for the time being.
According to a project description, the existing retirement home - now known as Sakura Gardens - is to be retained in its current form. Memory care units located in a 1930s section of the property, which dates to its origins as a Jewish senior home, would also be maintained under the proposed development.
The project application indicates that Downtown-based David Lawrence Gray Architects is designing the housing project.
- Boyle Heights (Urbanize LA)