The opening of Forever 21’s sleek new headquarters in Lincoln Heights last November brought with it jobs, revenue and a parking crunch to the neighborhood. The retail chain has come up with a solution but it comes in the form of a six-story, 615-space parking structure that has generated some mixed feelings.
Following the influx of 2,000 employees and their vehicles to a neighborhood that was already parking challenged, residents have been faced with “unending parking nightmares” and other problems, said local resident Jack Harding. He now believes the 200,000-square-foot structure, which would be built in the southwest corner of the company’s Mission Road property, may bring with its own set of problems.
“Even if there is a structure built, if they charge their employees to park there, our problem will not be solved. Now I suppose our views of the hills are going to be taken from us as well,” said Harding in email to The Eastsider. Representatives at Forever 21 could not be reached for comment.
Harding has sent letters to Councilman Gil Cedillo with complaints regarding the lack of parking caused by Forever 21 employees. Fredy Ceja, communications deputy at Cedillo’s office, said they were not aware of the parking structure being built and that they have not received any complaints from residents regarding the parking situation.
The parking structure, which is expected to begin construction in January, is designed to respect its fellow neighbors, although there was no restrictions as to how tall it would be, said Steve Gallegos, project manager at Funes Architecture, the company designing the structure.
“We didn’t want to make it look like a parking structure. We designed it with some sensitivity to the apartment buildings across the street. We took it upon ourselves to dress it up a bit and make it look like more than a boring parking structure,” said Gallegos.
Gallegos said they did some design work to avoid making the building look like a big cement block but he believes the neighboring residencies will keep their view of the surrounding hills.
Lucy Guanuna, a journalism student at Cal State Northridge, has reported on a variety of issues, including business, education and social justice movements in her native Los Angeles. Her work has been published in the Daily Sundial, L.A. Activist, and the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.