Los Angeles skyscraper set to rise after 10-year hiatus

Dive Brief:

  • Suffolk will start construction this month on a delayed, 24-story mixed-use tower that was originally planned for the Pershing Square area of Los Angeles a decade ago, according to Curbed Los Angeles.  
  • The Park Fifth development was first offered up as a 76-story tower, but progress was stymied by the Great Recession. Developers eventually split the project in two, breaking ground on the seven-story piece in August 2016.
  • The smaller, first-phase mid-rise building will feature 313 apartments and 7,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space. The second phase's much taller 460,000-square-foot neighbor will include 347 luxury apartments, a pool, a roof-top kitchen and terrace, retail, restaurants and underground parking. Both buildings are set to be completed by February 2019.

Dive Insight:

This project will add 660 living units to one block, which puts it squarely in the high-density category. These projects typically draw fire from local activists who bristle at the prospect of increased traffic, the resulting air pollution and change of neighborhood character if in a historic district.

Developers of these types of projects can rest a little easier, however, after Los Angeles voters earlier this month rejected a two-year moratorium on the zoning changes that would have put the brakes on most high-density projects. Concerned about the prospects of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative's approval — also known as Measure S — project backers made a run on the Los Angeles permitting and development offices toward the end of 2016, the driver behind a boom in residential development for the year.

Still, determined protestors will continue to take high-density housing projects to court on a case-by-case basis. For example, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which spearheaded the failed Measure S, is still locked in a legal battle with developers who want to build two, 28-story residential towers next door to its headquarters.

The Foundation, and others who supported Measure S, said these developments, most of them luxury, are forcing those who can't afford them out of the neighborhood. Those in favor of building these projects, however, maintain that more residential units will ease the city's severe housing crisis.

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