Long-standing plans for a 27-story residential tower in Koreatown continue to plod forward, with the release of the project's initial study by the Department of City Planning.  The proposed Catalina Apartments would rise from a 1.5-acre site at the corner of 8th and Catalina Streets, replacing a small cluster of low-rise buildings.

Designs from Oakes Architects call for an approximately 300 foot tall structure, offering 269 apartments (studio, one and two-bedroom units) and 7,500 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.  Residential units would be served by a total of 562 parking spaces, contained within a podium garage.  Proposed amenities include a fitness center, outdoor pool, and rooftop deck.

The mixed-use development is planned by Colony Holdings, a Beverly Hills-based limited liability corporation.  At first glance, their project would seem to fit in well with the surrounding neighborhood.  The eastern stretch of Koreatown has recently seen the arrival of several large residential complexes, including the 476-unit K2LA apartments and the skyline-altering Vermont Towers.

However, the Catalina Apartments have a more difficult path ahead than either of those projects.  In addition to the various NIMBY hurdles which accompany most high-rise developments, the Colony Holdings proposal will require multiple discretionary actions from the city.  This includes changes to the property's height district and zoning, as well as an amendment to the city's general plan.  The process to obtain these changes is time-consuming, with no guarantee of success.

Should the developer manage to overcome these obstacles, the Catalina Apartments are scheduled to break ground sometime in 2016.  Following approximately two years of construction, Koreatown's newest tower could open its doors in 2018.