It’s an unlikely looking piece of land for a large residential development — a narrow ribbon stretching nearly a mile between N. Broadway and the Gold Line tracks with a forbiddingly steep slope in middle of the site
The developers say the 920-unit project will help link neighborhoods. But residents of one of those neighborhoods, Solano Canyon, are less than thrilled about the construction of buildings rising as high as 14 stories on the other side of Broadway from their century-old community.
Real estate development giant Lincoln Property Company – in partnership with Steve Riboli, who runs San Antonio Winery in nearby Lincoln Heights — is seeking to build the 1.16 million-square-foot project called The Elysian Park Lofts. Located on the border of Chinatown and Solano Canyon, The Elysian Park Lofts would be a mixed-use development that would include nearly 18,000-square-feet of retail space, 17 live-work units, 1-1/2 acres of green space in addition to hundreds of residential units.
Currently, the southernmost bulb of this parcel in Chinatown is a mix of vehicle storage, equipment storage, parking, and construction staging areas. The rest of the land, which overlooks L.A. State Historic Park, is bare.
“The project will link important neighborhoods such as Chinatown, Lincoln Heights, Glassell Park and Echo Park together,” said Rob Kane, executive vice president at Lincoln Property Company. He also noted that this stretch of Broadway “has largely been disconnected from the surrounding community for decades.”
Kane also noted that the south end of the project site is just 200 feet from Metro’s Chinatown station, making it convenient for anyone who doesn’t want to use a car.
But as the Elysian Park Loft project makes its way through the city’s planning and review process, neighbors in Solano Canyon are raising concerns about density, traffic, the process of the public notice and the impact on local wildlife on the eastern edge of Elysian Park, which is across Broadway from the proposed development.
“There are many native pollinators here, and I have personally seen Western Screech Owls, Barn Owls, coyotes, voles, Coopers Hawks, Red Tail Hawks, butterflies and more,” said Sara Harris, who lives in nearby Solano Canyon.
Jenny Huynh, another Solano Canyon resident, also criticized the public outreach about the project, noting the city sent materials only to property owners within 500 feet of the development site. In addition, while her neighbors speak Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese, city officials confirmed that the outreach materials were only in English, supplying a contact phone number for translation assistance.
In response, the city has given the public more time to comment on the initial study of project
An initial study of the project said there would be less than significant impact on biological resources, according to Cheryl Getuiza, a public information officer with the City Planning department.
However, the same study says that the project could have “potentially significant environmental impacts” when it comes to air quality, cultural resources, noise, traffic, transportation and other issues. Getuiza added that the department is still studying the area, and could discover new information as it drafts the environmental impact report.
Huynh have also noted that the project website does not indicate plans for affordable housing units. Kane responded, “We are planning to have affordable units but the amount has not been determined.”
The public has until Jan. 31 to comment on the project in a letter, email or fax on the intial study. It’s part of a lenghty process that will include a more detailed environmental impact as well as additional public hearings and review.
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