A 920-unit residential project raises concern among Solano Canyon residents


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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  1. NImbyism at its finest. We need housing. This is blighted land that is next to a metro station in downtown LA. 920 units is the min that should be built

    • Agreed! There aint no barn owls and cooper hawks on that highway adjacent trash sliver that the site is currently.

      Solano is very peaceful little community, but totally isolated. They should be welcoming of new shops and retail just a few steps from their homes. ESPECIALLY if this project provides linkage to the park below.

    • This proposed development will not serve the historically vulnerable and economically disadvantaged populations living in Chinatown, Solano Canyon, and Lincoln Heights. Housing and homelessness is a huge crisis across Los Angeles. However, these market-rate high rises are not providing any solutions to the issues we are facing, rather they are inciting landlords to drive up rent prices and displacing long-time residents. A 1 bedroom apartment in this proposed development will most likely cost at least $2,100+ per month – most cannot afford to pay this on just a single salary. The two new apartment buildings in Chinatown, Jia Apartments and the Blossom Plaza, are market-rate and have less than 10% affordable units available. More folks are being displaced while a measly 5-10% affordable housing is offered in return and on a lottery basis. The City needs to take a hard look at the ripple effects on communities before fast-tracking these projects.

      • The ripple effect is that if you do not build new housing, the new rich folks will come for the existing units. See Silver Lake and Echo Park for example. No new condos mean the Swedish DJ’s and west side clippers spend their money on old bungalows. That’s how gentrification happens. Build units on empty blighted lots while we can. MORE HOUSING

      • You literally have no idea how the real world works. Wow

      • That’s not how it works, Jenny. We need all the housing we can build, period.

    • Don’t be ridiculous, they’re going to be over price regardless of how many units they build. People like you and Garcetti think mow housing will lower rent but it won’t. None of these new apart mentioned complexes and lofts have proven that

      • More***

        Also, how does am apartment complex help bridge a gap between neighborhoods. Especially on this sliver of land

        • These fancy looking high-rises are doing nothing to help address the housing problem in LA. The only people who can afford to move into these market-rate buildings are artists, trust fund babies, and millennials with decent jobs that offer year-end bonuses. Many families are getting priced out of their own neighborhoods while younger folks are moving in due to “cheaper rent” in relation to these developments. I drive by the high-rises in Chinatown everyday and they look half-empty – this one will be just the same… No one is staying in these developments long-term and supply isn’t driving down rent prices. This is all just a money making scheme between the City and developers!


      THIS IS A TINY STRIP OF LAND! Barely big enough for a micro-loft! HELLO — have you seen it? This is NOT where you put a building! It’s a ridge between a street and a railway…… EVEN WORSE than having apartments overlook a freeway. This is insanity………… and will cause insane traffic as 920 residents have only ONE way to get home – Broadway. During Dodgers season? Forget about it? Yes, “LA needs housing” but on LAND that makes sense. This is a sliver of a bluff and COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE FOR A BUILDING.

      • If they can build on the steep slope – and I imagine they can – this is a great place for high rise housing. It’s very close to downtown, and a short walk to the Gold Line.

        No, it’s not going to serve the homeless or the economically disadvantaged. In many cities, the urban core is expensive. And dense.

        This is a totally reasonable site for this kind of urban infill.

      • Most of the building is to be at the southern end where it widens up.

  2. “NIMBY” vs. “Smart Growth” arguments aside, that’s an oddly shaped lot… it’ll be a unique building, that’s for sure. Solano Canyon residents should push for some kind of public bridge from this lot over the train tracks to the park. More housing and better access to green space. Win/win.

  3. Serious questions:

    1. Where is the Barlow Hospital/housing project in the City Planning process? Weren’t they proposing 900 or 1000 units? These 2 projects combined absolutely have short and long term effects on the entire area.

    2. Has anything this big been built and occupied (by long term renters, not AirB&B/short term renters) in Hollywood or Downtown, within walking distance of a Metrorail station? Can the parking situation, i.e. number of parking spaces per unit; distance to schools, healthcare, markets, etc be compared?

    3. Have any of these huge projects with large numbers of bike parking spaces near metro stations actually filled up all their bike parking by the actual residents who have given up one or more cars? Or do all the residents also have cars?

    Actual statistics of comparable sites IN LOS ANGELES would be useful, instead of the angry rhetoric from both sides of this issue.

  4. Bad bad idea.

  5. Current effort are for “SCOPING” contents of the EIR to be prepared…Step #1 in a long process…
    Various groups within Sierra Club are preparing comments NOW
    Visual aesthetics, Noise, air Quality
    Old oil field…gas leakage problems seismic shocks
    Historic foundations and ChinaTown #2…and pedestrian bridge BrdwySpring
    South/North side of Brdwy Landuses – needs specific plan
    Renting/Owning – Env.Justice
    PPP Use of Metro/CHSR/RR spur-track

    • So basically the typical, racist, nimby response to anything that would address the housing and by extension homelessness crisis. Gotcha ?

      Any true environmental group will do the opposite of opposing smart density development because it eliminates sprawl and reduces emmissions and congestion.

  6. The Eastsider has its history wrong. Solano Canyon was established in 1866, making 2018 its 152nd year. Francisco Solano, my great-great-grandfather, built his adobe on the stream that flowed from a spring that was high up Solano Canyon. This thoughtless development will, indeed, ruin the character of the community of Solano Canyon. As a Solano descendant myself, I consider this ill-conceived project to be a potential death-knell for this small, historic community.

    • This is overly dramatic… how is it that a empty sliver of land full of trash is having ANY averse affects on the canyon itself?

      I truly appreciate Solano Canyon, it’s very quiet, peaceful and tucked away; but I don’t see how anyone could jump to the assumption that 900 people spread across 3/4 mile will have any impact on your streets and quality of life.

      ESPECIALLY if this project includes a connection to the park below.

      • From an outside looking in perspective, it’s easy for people like you to make those ignorant statements. This project WILL impact the streets and quality of life of Solano Canyon. Parking is already a daily, ongoing problem with current residents. There’s been insane congestion issues from Dodger season traffic and Waze drivers. The tiny streets in this “very quiet, peaceful, and tucked away” community are being gridlocked with bumper-to-bumper traffic each day. A project of this magnitude and “900 more people spread across 3/4 mile” will only exacerbate current issues at-hand: air quality, noise pollution, congestion, and pedestrian safety. Don’t be so quick to jump to assumptions.

        • There’s lots of traffic thru that part of Solano Canyon because it’s a way to and from the 110. High-rise housing on the other side of Broadway is not likely to have a huge effect on the people who live in the canyon.

          But yes, a bridge and passage over there railroad is a decent trade-off — since it would give people in Solano Canyon easier access to the LA State Historic Park.

      • You just cant teach common sense to some people…james clearly does not drive in Los Angeles. No uber is not driving…

      • It’s not 900 people; the proposed development is 920 units. At 2-to-3, or even 4, people per unit, the population suddenly balloons to 1840–3680 people. To suggest that this potential number of people will have little effect on a quiet community that already suffers the indignity of Dodger Stadium traffic and Waze re-directs is to ignore reality.

    • Lmaoooo. This is hilarious. Ya the new housing and development will ruin the character of the neighborhood, not the current strip of trash, tagging, discarded items and chain link fences…..

    • Fascinating Lawrence, thank you for the rare history lesson of what used to be in paved over Los Angeles.

  7. If you ride Metro by this on a regular basis like I do, you’d quickly realize this is a creative use of otherwise sh*t land. But let all these armchair warriors continue to rail against new housing when we have a world class crisis on our hands…

  8. It’s a good thing this country had a chance to build some of the great things we have such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Hoover Dam before this “building by committee” crap started. NONE OF YOUR OPINIONS MATTER. They are going to build it because it’s a good idea, people need housing, it’s smart because it’s on a rail line. Yes, it will change the neighborhood. News alert, EVERY NEIGHBORHOOD CHANGES!

  9. Everyone has missed the boat on what this piece of land could have been… “Elysian Park Lofts” is the worst name you could come up with… This sliver of land could be the rebirth of LA’s defunct Little Italy! The architecture is substandard: all window, all views from my luxury apartment market rate building that lacks imagination or a sense of community building. Shame on Steve Riboli for not strengthening his community that has it’s major Italian Catholic Church & Cultural Center across the street on Broadway. We can not bring back Little Joe’s but we could do a lot better than what is now being proposed today. Think before you build & if you want to name something the “Elysian Park Lofts” shouldn’t it be on Vin Scully Ave where they are going to build Dodgertown or are they going to rebrand that mega unit mixed use, code compliant, development the “McCourt-East-Echo”?

  10. This neighborhood does not need something like this. The roads can’t sustain it. It will decrease home values. Its near dodgers stadium. LA needs housing but structures like this keep going up that will not house those who need it. Its a stale argument. Move this bullcrap to the galleria.

  11. Only thing that we can do about it is voice our concerns on this Eastsider. I personaly invested to stop a project that was going to impact me personaly and with the support of other active community members we defeated. Unity is power! open a trust account hire a attorney. count me in….

  12. 1. Its a bad idea
    2. This housing isn’t going to be for most “people”
    3. It is not near a rail line, more so uphill and one neighborhood away from the nearest one

    Comparing this called in design to something that actually serves the public like the Golden Gate bridge? Wow.

    think before you speak, JFC!

  13. Its basic math and economics at play here in the Los Angeles housing market. Its a simple equation of supply and demand. Imagine if these 900 units are not built, do you think the individuals that would have occupied these 900 spaces will move to a different state or county? No they will simply go find other places available for rent and compete for space taking up prices or they will end up buying fixers or lower priced homes kicking out the persons or families that were once living there. The bottom line is that developments of these magnitudes have negative aspects but the key factor to understand and remember is that the positive attributes far out weigh the negatives.
    Yes you will have more traffic and congestion but you will also now have 900 less units to be competed for occupancy across Los Angeles. When you have less demand you also have a drop in rental rates and when you have a drop in rental rates you have a drop in the number of homelessness.

    Another key factor most do not keep in mind is these empty lots of land cost us the tax payer to maintain and keep clean as they become a public dumping ground so often. When you have a new development project like this you now are not only not spending tax payer money to keep the land clean but you are now generating tens of millions of dollars in new property tax and income tax revenues from the developers. These taxes can then be put back into our communities to contribute to fixing up our roads, bridges, schools, providing more police etc…

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