A proposal to redevelop a city-owned parking lot in Little Tokyo with affordable housing and community-serving retail has cleared a key milestone, the project's developers announced yesterday.
Earlier this summer, Los Angeles Planning and Housing officials issued environmental and zoning clearances for the "Go For Broke" Apartments, a proposed development from Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) and the project's namesake organization - Go For Broke. Additionally, the project secured a preliminary recommendation for funding from the Housing Department.
“We are so excited, together with our partner, Go For Broke National Education Center, to push forward on this project." said LTSC executive director Erich Nakano in a prepared statement. "[This] is years in the making, and is what the community and our partners have been seeking for a long time,”
The proposed building, slated for an L-shaped site at the intersection of Temple and Judge John Aiso Streets, is envisioned as a low-rise structure featuring 228 studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments - all of which would be covenanted affordable housing. Approximately 50 percent of the apartments serve as permanent supportive housing targeting for unhoused veterans.
Architecture firm Carde Ten is designing the Go For Broke project, which would consist of a six-story building lined with ground-floor shops and restaurants, as well as new offices for Go For Broke and an exhibition space focused on the experience of Japanese-American soldiers World War II.
Besides commercial uses and housing, the Go For Broke development is also intended to include public open space - including a new courtyard flanking the existing Go For Broke monument adjacent to the Japanese American National Museum as well as a new pedestrian paseo which would open onto Judge Aiso Street.
LTSC's director of real estate development Debbie Chen told Urbanize earlier this year that construction could, in a best case scenario, begin as early as 2023.
The origins of the proposed apartment complex date back more than 15 years, when the property was first identified as a potential site for Go For Broke's education center. Although that project failed to move forward, it was later resurrected through a partnership with fellow non-profit LTSC. While the two organizations had initially proposed a smaller 77-unit building, the project roughly tripled in size earlier this year, with City Councilmember Kevin de Leon introduced a motion which folded a former police parking facility into the development site.
In addition to creating new housing and new retail space for local merchants, the Go For Broke development is also billed as a win for community control of land in Little Tokyo. The site, which is part of Little Tokyo's First Street North block, was once home to businesses and residents before it was claimed by the City of Los Angeles via eminent domain in the mid 20th century. Subsequently, all former buildings were cleared to create parking.
Plans for the First Street North block are built from the community-driven Sustainable Little Tokyo Plan, and are designed to interact with developments planned for other publicly-owned properties in the Civic Center such as the Mangrove site, 1st/Central Station, and the land that was once home to Parker Center.
Inquiries for ground-floor commercial space at the Go For Broke project should be directed to Debbie Chen of LTSC at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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