Plans to replace the vacant San Pedro Courthouse with multifamily housing has inches one step closer to reality following a vote taken yesterday by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

View from 5th and CentreMVE + Partners

In 2018, the Board entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement with Genton Cockrum Partners (GCP) regarding the proposed redevelopment of the 2.8-acre courthouse site at 515 Centre Street.  The Pasadena-based firm is now in the planning stages for a new eight-story complex that would feature 300 studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, in addition to 25,500 square feet of ground-floor commercial space (including a full-service market or food hall) and parking for up to 559 vehicles.

The apartment complex is being designed by MVE + Partners, and is depicted in renderings as a contemporary podium-type building with an M-shaped footprint above street level, creating a series of courtyards for use by residents.  Additionally, plans call for 6,000 square feet of publicly accessible open space at ground level.

The arrangement between GCP and the County requires that a minimum of 20 percent of the proposed apartments - 60 in total - are offered at rents considered affordable to households earning no more than 80 percent of the Los Angeles area median income.  To enable the inclusion of the below market-rate units, the County has agreed to support GCP's efforts to obtain a welfare exemption for property taxes. 

The San Pedro CourthouseGoogle Street View

To meet the requirements of the California tax code, the County will provide a $1 million loan to the developer, which would be fully funded with rent prepaid by GCP.  The prepaid amount would result in a reduced rent for GCP over the first 20 years of its ground lease.

GCP will also be required to employ prevailing wage labor on the project's construction, per the terms of the agreement.

With the new funding now agreed upon, GCP is expected to submit a demolition application for the courthouse building to the City of Los Angeles within 90 days.  The Long Beach Press-Telegram reports that construction of the apartment complex is expected to begin in 2022.

GCP is the second developer to try its hand at the San Pedro Courthouse site.  Holland Partner Group was previously selected to build a 250-unit complex on the property after a request for proposals process in 2016, but the Vancouver, Washington-based company was unable to reach final terms with the County.

Location of the San Pedro Courthouse propertyGoogle Maps

The Courthouse site is one of a handful of publicly-owned properties in Downtown San Pedro currently poised for redevelopment, including the Ports O' Call Village and the Rancho San Pedro public housing complex.  Parking lots at 711 Beacon Street and 500 Mesa Street are also being considered as potential development sites by the City and County.

Other projects from GCP include a 12-story Four Seasons-branded condominium tower now wrapping up construction in Beverly Grove.