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As the supply of unclaimed parking lots decreases in Downtown Los Angeles, many developers have begun looking to the neighborhood's fringe for new infill opportunities.  During the past year, multiple projects have emerged in once unfathomable locations outside the Central City freeway ring, including proposed high-rise complexes in Chinatown and South Los Angeles.  However, the chief beneficiary of this shift is undoubtedly the long downtrodden Westlake neighborhood.  The predominantly immigrant community, once considered "Los Angeles' answer to the Champs-Élysées," is now experiencing a resurgence in commercial and market-rate residential development.

Arguably the most conspicuous addition to the neighborhood is Good Samaritan Hostpital's Medical Plaza and Outpatient Pavilion.  The seven-story structure, designed by architecture firm Ware Malcomb, will feature an exterior of shimmering blue-tinged glass.  Budgeted at $80 million, the Medical Plaza will eventually house a pharmacy, multiple clinics and a new ambulatory surgery center.  Additionally, the building will feature a ground-floor café and a window display focused on medical history.

The approximately 190,000-square-foot facility is scheduled to open in 2015.

One block west of the hospital, construction has quietly started on Valencia, a residential-retail complex from developer Sonny Astani.  The $60 million development, designed by Killefer Flammang Architects, calls for a six-story structure featuring 218 studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments above 4,400 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.  The project is located on a 1.5-acre property at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and namesake Valencia Avenue which was previously occupied by a cluster of small commercial buildings.

Valencia is Astani's second venture in Westlake, following the Vero condominium complex at 1234 Wilshire Boulevard.  The Beverly Hills-based developer is currently partnering with the Wolff Company on two low-rise apartment buildings in South Park.

Immediately northeast of Good Samaritan Hospital, Vancouver-based Holland Partner Group is in the midst of construction on one of the largest residential developments in the city of Los Angeles.  Bixel & Sixth, named for its primary cross streets, will create 606 studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments within a pair low-rise structures.  The colorful six-story buildings, designed by architecture firm Togawa Smith Martin, will feature 25,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and 762 underground parking spaces.

Plans for the $200 million development also entail the adaptive reuse of 1136 West Sixth Street, a vacant eight-story medical office building.  The mid-rise edifice, built in 1923, will contain 27 affordable housing units and 15 market rate apartments.

Holland Partner Group expects Bixel & Sixth to come online in phases between 2015 and 2016.

For a quick rundown of further developments slated for Westlake, check out this map from Curbed LA.

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City Looks to Update Land Use and Transportation Along Rail-to-River Corridor

A freight railway that cuts through South L.A. is set for rebirth as an active transportion corridor.
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In 2012, Metro began exploring the possibility of transforming a segment of a former freight rail right-of-way that cuts through the heart of South Los Angeles into an active transportation project.  The project, now known as the Rail-to-River corridor, would convert the Harbor Subdivision - which runs east-to-west along Florence and Slauson Avenues - for use by pedestrians and cyclists.

To capitalize on this investment, the Cit