Historic Filipinotown may reach new heights *

With the exception of the neon rats running across the Western Exterminator sign, the skyline of Historic Filipinotown is pretty forgettable. But that will change soon if a cluster of four towers rising as high as nine stories on Temple and Bonnie Brae streets gets built. And it looks like the 248-unit housing complex has a pretty good shot despite the fact that it busts the city’s restrictions on height and density. The project by Temple West Development is scheduled to go before the city’s Planning Commission today, with the backing of the department’s planners.

In return for building bigger and higher than current zoning allows, Temple West will include 46 units of affordable housing. Two of the towers would rise more than 100-feet high, easily dwarfing most of the homes, apartments and business on nearby blocks in this section of Historic Filipinotown that overlaps with Echo Park.

It’s still not clear what kind of impact the real estate bust will have on the Temple West project, which would rise on the site of a former dairy most recently used as a roller skating arena by the L.A. Derby Dolls. But the bigger-is-better school of development has many supporters here. Once the city approves a project that exceeds existing zoning limits, the next builder will want the same treatment. So, expect Historic Filipinotown to look more like the rest of Modern America.

* Update: The Planning Commission approved the project this afternoon.

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