ATWATER VILLAGE — The family of developer-turned-philanthropist Morton La Kretz is leaving quite a mark on North Atwater, with La Kretz contributing millions of dollars to construct a cable-suspension bridge across the L.A. River. Now, the La Kretz family wants to build 60 townhouses on an industrial property a short walk from where the La Kretz Crossing will be constructed.
The project, one of the largest, single residential projects that would be built in Atwater in recent years, would rise next to North Atwater Park on a nearly three-acre property on the eastern tip of Chevy Chase Drive, where Scenic Expressions, an entertainment industry transportation and storage company is currently located. The La Kretz family has owned the property for about twenty years, said consultant Daniel Tellalian.
Plans by project architect Rios Clementi Hale Studios include homes ranging in size from 1,400 square-feet to 1,700 square-feet as well as “substantial landscaping and permeable walking paths in an urban-park design,” Tellalian said. “The family’s decision to convert an old industrial property into rustic residential near the river is a natural extension of those same civic interests” that supported the new L.A. River span, he said.
But getting the project built would require changing the site’s agricultural zoning to allow for residential development. The agricultural zoning was put in place in the early 1970s as part of efforts to protect nearby stables, equestrian facilities and access to riding trails, Tellalian said.
The project is now being presented to Atwater groups, including the chamber of commerce and neighborhood council, as the La Kretz family tries to built support. Luis Lopez with the Atwater Chamber of Commerce said a lot of thought has been put into the project but his group is concerned about the further loss of commercially-zoned property and jobs, he said.
Tellalian, who said the project would not displace jobs or residents, said construction would start in 2016 if the necessary zoning changes and other approvals are granted.