Boyle Heights developments would bring more affordable housing and stores [updated]

BOYLE HEIGHTS — Metro has tried for years to develop two neighborhood sites it owns only to have met with stiff opposition from residents or other problems. This month, after going to back to the drawing board, officials at the transportation agency will be reviewing new proposals that call for a mix of affordable housing, shops, parks and even even a mariachi cultural center.

On Wednesday, Metro’s planning committee is scheduled to review  recommendations by agency staff for the project next to the Mariachi Plaza Gold Line station  and another site near Cesar Chavez Avenue and Fickett Street. In both cases, the committee members would vote on whether to begin exclusive negotiations with each developer.

Lucha Reyes Apartments Proposal

Rendering of proposed Mariachi Plaza development by East Los Angeles Community Corp. | Metro

The property next to Mariachi Plaza and across from White Memorial hospital was once part of a larger and controversial project that was shot down by residents and activist amid concerns about gentrification.

Metro staff are now backing the East Los Angeles Community Corp. and its much more modest proposal for the approximately 1-acre site.  The same nonprofit renovated the historic Boyle Hotel across the street into an affordable housing complex and has spearheaded efforts to oppose or at least slow the pace of gentrification in Boyle Heights.

Here are the highlights of their Mariachi Plaza proposal:

  • 60-unit affordable apartment housing complex named in honor of mariachi Lucha Reyes
  • About 6,300 square-feet of ground floor retail space
  • Mariachi cultural center
  • Community garden

More details about the project can be found here.


Chavez Gardens  Proposal

Rendering of Chavez Gardens by Abode Communities | Metro

The  proposal for Chavez Gardens by Abode Communities, the developer recommended by Metro staff, includes a grocery store for these Metro-owned lots at Cesar Chavez Avenue and Fickett Street. Abode is the same developer that is building La Veranda, a 77-unit  affordable housing complex one block west of Chavez Gardens.

Here are the highlights of the Chavez Gardens proposal:

  • 60 units of affordable housing in two buildings connected by a pedestrian bridge
  • 25,000-square-foot grocery store
  • 6,500-square-foot community park

Go here for the project details

After Metro’s planning committee weighs in  on the staff recommendations, the full Metro board will review the projects later this month.

Update: The planning committee approved the start of negotiations with the two developers. The matter now goes to the full Metro board for a final vote.

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  1. Can we agree that the phrase “affordable housing” needs qualification, that is who
    it is affordable to.

    If these are $1500 a month studio apartments, the phrase should be “affordable housing, for those single individuals making $55K or more a year.”

  2. apennyadaymakessense

    People complaining about new construction apartments charging too much rent have no clue whatsoever on how much it costs to develop a project these days. To break it down for everyone, it’s like asking your favorite taco stand to sell you tacos for 50 cents when the meat and tortillas are 25 cents each.

  3. pennysmartdollardumb

    The problem with defining “affordable housing” is that it is dependent on 1) “family” size, 2)income limits, and 3) median income for the area. A good resource is to use the Los Angeles city website http://hcidla.lacity.org/affordable-housing or some of the other affordable housing websites you can find online. Because the apartment complex doesn’t know how big your family is and the area median income varies from year to year, the price for a unit varies depending on limits imposed by the city/county. Many times, these affordable housing units cannot be rented by people with too high an income, so a person making $55K a year may not be allowed to rent there at all. It varies depending on which regulations are involved.

    Hope this helps!

    It is very expensive to build any housing in Los Angeles so to include non-market rate units means the builder is losing money with each unit. If you did a full months work and instead of getting a paycheck your boss gave you a bill, would you work there? Many builders are leaving LA to build in other states instead. So to encourage building of less-than-market rate units, the city/county may allow a builder to add more than the normally approved total number of units, tax brakes, or other incentives.

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