Development would bring Downtown high-rises to Echo Park’s doorstep

Rendering courtesy 1111 Sunset Boulevard

An approximately million-square-foot development with hundreds of apartments, condos, a hotel and two residential towers rising as high as 49 stories would be constructed on the eastern edge of Echo Park, according to plans unveiled today.

The conceptual plans announced for the approximately 5.5-acre site at 1111 Sunset Boulevard —  the former Metropolitan Water District campus — would dramatically change the eastern gateway to Echo Park and mark the expansion of the Downtown development boom.

The investment group behind the project is trying to move quickly to get it built, projecting the giant complex would be constructed by 2023 if the city grants the necessary approvals, according to the L.A. Times. Already, Councilman Gil Cedillo, who represents the eastern edge of Echo Park, has endorsed the $600 million project that is certain to bring more people, traffic and investment to the neighborhood.

Here’s a rundown of the major elements included in the proposed development:

Residential: 778 market-rate and affordable residential units. The residences would be included low-rise buildings as well as high-rise towers, one of which will rise 31 stories, the other 49, said the L.A. Times. 76 of the apartments would be reserved at affordable rates, according to the L.A. Times. The 49-story building would be the city’s tallest skyscraper outside of the Downtown core.

Hotel: A boutique hotel will be the first major L.A. project by noted Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who designed the Tokyo 2020 National Olympic Stadium.

Commercial: “Neighborhood-serving retail” will be located  along Sunset.

Open Space: More than two acres of  terraces, gardens, courtyards, fountains and an overlook views of downtown designed by James Corner Field Operations.  The public will be able to access the site through numerous points located at the perimeter of the oval shaped site.

The proposal is subject to city and public review.

The developer said its concept for  the former water district campus, which sits at the base of the Victor Heights neighborhood, would open the property to the surrounding neighborhood. Currently, the complex, designed by Mid-Century architect William Pereira, sits above Sunset Boulevard, with a retaining wall running along the entire length of the block.

“The design plan activates street life on Sunset Boulevard and integrates with public transit and ride-sharing points along the Sunset Boulevard corridor leading into the Downtown area,” said a statement issued by the developer.

Plans for the giant development were announced soon after Canadian developer Aragon properties filed a final environmental report for a 214-unit apartment complex that would be constructed one block west on Sunset.

1111 Sunset Boulevard project

Rendering courtesy 1111 Sunset Boulevard

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  1. I would like to see a study that says more population growth is a good thing before I gave my support to something like this.

    • Population growth is going to occur either way… we can accommodate that growth next to jobs and amenities or we can accommodate that growth in Palmdale.

      This project would add density not growth, and density has it’s benefits because it puts people closer to “places” not eliminating but certainly reducing the need to travel distances beyond what would be considered walkable, bikable or bus-able. So… while there’s a good chance that most of these people will drive places, there’s a much much higher chance that these people can take the bus or bike or call an uber to get to another place (usually work) nearby. The same cannot be said of those living in Palmdale, which will inevitably be clogging up the freeways and roads as they make the journey anywhere only to get there and also require space for parking.

      Density also supports healthier tax bases, so more people living, earning and spending in that area directly fund things like infrastructure, education, social services for the neighborhood that they live.

    • I agree. Population growth is neither good nor inevitable. These are choices about what kind of neighborhoods and what kind of world we want to live in. Do we want neighborhoods only of concrete and steel, where it is difficult to even find the sun? Do we want a world that only has room for humans, no plants, no animals, no nature? To me this is a dangerous path to follow. While this may be just one project, it is one of dozens planned, just in and near Echo Park. There is no mention of parking or traffic effects. Both of which are becoming huge problems in the area. 78 ‘affordable’ units out of almost 800 is a joke! These projects seem to be primarily about building the wealth of developers and those connected to them.I have been in Echo Park over 25 years. Long enough to know that economic growth is not always in one direction, Downturns will happen, likely soon.

      • Population growth is actually good and it most cases it’s inevitable. If you look at Major US cities with population decline, it reads like a list of most depressing places to ever live.. Camden-NJ, Buffalo-NY, Detroit-MI, Pittsburgh-PA, Indianapolis,IN… these are places infamous for crime and decrepit cities. Population stagnation and decline are objectively BAD in almost every single case, BUT especially for large cities.

        You wax poetic about “finding the sun” in an urban Los Angeles, one of concrete and and steel, the irony is that our city is already one of concrete and steel, so much so that we can not fit and places for PARKS because there is too much demand for PARKING. I’ve lived all over the world and I find it interesting that places like New York or Chicago have way better integration with nature than Los Angeles, with their massive park system, you can be on the 59th floor of a high rise, then step across the street into amazing parks that are leaps and bounds better than anything we have in LA.

        You assume that density means no nature.. when oddly this proposal creates MORE space for humans to interact with plants and other people than the current undeveloped property.

        78 affordable units.. better than 0 affordable units. This project sets aside almost 10% for affordable. I agree, 100% affordable would be ideal, but who’s going to pay for that? Certainly not the city.. Inclusionary zoning has proven to significantly alleviate affordable housing stock.

        I ask that next time you question development, actually weigh the proposal for what it offers vs what the current conditions are. This is objectively better than the parking lot and empty church it currently sits at. YES, there will be added traffic… WELCOME to LA, the city that only planned for car mobility for almost the last 80 years.. we are getting what we planned for TRAFFIC.

        • Actually, growth is not inevitable and at this point, it is certainly is not good. There are things called family planning and other ways to slow population growth. Not only is human population growth bad for nature, many scientific studies show that population density is bad for human health – urban dwellers have more mental health problems and shorter lives than non-urban dwellers. Maybe you missed the part that I have lived here 25 years. The fundemental nature of the neighborhood has been altered by all the local development. I have watched traffic increase, longtime residents displaced, crime and stress levels increase. Skyrocketing costs of living. I have watched with dismay as thousands of trees have been cut down on both public and private property. City records show the loss of 25,000 rent controlled units in recent years. I have lived in and visited many different pIaces. Some allow for more nature and green than others. A park here and there is not enough.If I wanted to live in NY, I would have done so.I felt more drawn to the then open nature and the trees and greenery of the LA landscape. I am quite familiar with the Midwest, the problems of the cities there. Maybe businesses and people should be encouraged to utilize their idle resources, instead of moving here. Since I am not an investor in this development group, I do not stand to benefit. Most likely, like almost all new developments in LA in the last decade or more, these units will be priced above what most Angelenos can afford. If you build it, that will come. At least until the next economic implosion or millennials decide they prefer some green space and less crime for their children.

          • I didnt say growth was inevitable, I said it was generally good. As in cities that grow are prosperous and those that don’t are stagnant. Objectively, large cities require population growth to support and sustain a higher standard of living. There is not 1 case of a large city that isn’t growing that is also improving… Can you provide an example of a large city that isn’t growing that is also “good” by your standards?

            I somewhat agree that population growth is harmful to nature. As more humans exist, we infringe on the boundaries and resources of nature, but if you’re trying to curtail the growth of the human population you’re right up there with the Eugenics / Euthanasia supporters like Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Margret Sanger and the like. Again, population growth is predictably INEVITABLE, how we accommodate that growth directly affects how much nature is destroyed.

            Case in point, Los Angeles has destroyed nature in nearly 60 miles in every direction to accommodate population growth in the least sustainable way by covering hundreds upon thousands of square miles in single family detached homes (NOT DENSE) conversely Madrid (similar in climate, topography and population to Los Angeles) is a place of reasonable density. Because it accommodates people densely, it spares its surrounding natural environs. So.. in a place like Madrid or London or Rome, you can be in nature, farm lands, open space in less than 20 miles from the city center whereas in LA we don’t have so much as a decent park within 20 miles…

            I didn’t miss the part about your 25 years in LA, I think it’s cute because it’s almost the same amount of time that I’ve been operating as a principal urban planner both in Los Angeles and Boston.

            I know and understand the good and bad elements of urban AND suburban typologies. I agree there are several problems with urban living, but what I’m trying to tell you is that urban is objectively better in most cases, despite what you tend to believe about suburbia.

          • James, I did find two things interesting about your comments. You seem to know alot about me, or a least believe you do. Second, my guess about your career was correct. First, as far as cities which are concidered to have slow growth and be livable, how about Portland. Until recently, it was even quite affordable. Unfortunately, those fleeing California’s high costs are driving up costs in Portland and other Western US cities.
            As any decent person would, I MUST STRENUOUSLY OBJECT to your ACCUSATION that I support anything as vile as Eugenics! I do not see any basis for your accusation. I OPPOSE EUGENICS. I do not appreciate such ‘ad homonen’ attacks, which might violate the terms of use for this site.
            As a planner, I am surprised that you seem unaware of other, civilized, scientifically proven means to deter human population growth, including family planning, including access to birth control, general education, especially of females, even tax policy can effect population growth As, far as the enevitability of population growth, as you said “in most cases it’s envitable,” I think many areas of Japan and parts of Europe prove otherwise. Places like Mexico, China and now even India is proving that population growth is not inevitable.The current proclaimation of Echo Park being ‘Hot’, is the 3rd since I moved here. Not every trend is perminent.
            Of course, whether growth; population, physical structures and/or economic; is good, is somewhat subjective. While, I am not a fan of growth just for growth’s sake, I am not opposed to all growth. If you went back to my original post, you will see I began by agreeling with another posts call for further, critical study of this project before it is permitted to proceed.
            You seem to view the property where this project is proposed as a blank spot on a map. I am sure a biologist would disagree. It is home to both plants and animals. It is also a shame that Los Angeles does not protect its historical and architectural legacy. The article states 2 acres will be open space. This is certainly better than none, but in a city so deficient in open space that it is seriously concidering turning a major freeway into a tunnel, to install a park above it, at undoubtedly an almost unfathomable cost, maybe the city should instead think about the much less expensive option of purchasing property like this and open it to the public.
            As you did notice my comment about sunlight, I am sure that many in the neighborhood will be less than thrlled with the shadows cast by 39 and 49 story buildings.
            As you point out, and I agree, the spread of urban growth into rural, agricultural and wild areas is not desireable. How about a balance. Since this project would add almost 800 housing units to LA’s residential stock, maybe the developers and/or the City could purchase a similar number of units near the urban/wild land interface and return it to its natural state and preserve it. This would reduce costs for fighting wildfires, mudslides and many other issues.
            While on this line, why shouldn’t development pay for all it’s costs. Why should current and future residents and taxpayers be burdoned with these external costs, including not only congestion, but pipelines bursting and replacing aging utilities and other infrastructure unable to handle the dramatic increase in demand placed on them. Then there are the needs for more schools, fire and police services, medical facilities and, of course, parks!
            The last time I checked, every drop of water in California is already claimed. Actually, far more than 100%. This is such a serious problem, the State legislature passed a law (You probably missed that drought, while busy with your many travels) which requires that all large (800 residential units, hotel and many retail spaces?) projects prove that a viable water supply is available to support all the residents and users of these developments, and financially guarantee that supply for at least 100 years. Considering that there is no unaccounted for water in California, I will be curious to see how this project addresses this law’s requirements.
            I understand your preference for places like Rome, so why move to LA? As far as a preference for suburbia, what is important, is not my preference, but the public’s. Just as LA is flooded with motor vehicles of proportions more suited to agricultural or military needs, Americans seem to prefer space and privacy in their homes. As I already suggested, eventually many of the young people in the city, especially as they begin families, will, as they have for generations, grow tired of the congestion, high costs, crime(I have had my vehicle broken into twice, my home burglarized twice and even been robbed at knife point) and stress of the urban core and move to greener, safer, less crowded digs, even if it means a long commute. Maybe a planner can figure out a way to satisfy these desires with less environmental harm. It will, undoubtedly be easier with a more stable population.
            Also, as I know people who live in some of those”most depressing places ever”, I can assure you that they do object to that characterization. These areas are full of underutilized resources, including land, infrastructure and people! One particularly abundant resource there, so lacking in much of the rapidly growing Western US, is water. Why not try to encourage growth is these underutilized areas. There are 10’s of thousands of vacant homes and vast acres of property, not currently agricultural nor wild, available for commercial or industrial development.
            I moved here because I like it, I am not so enthusiastic about the many of the changes. Already, over half a dozen large residential developments have been built within 6 blocks of my home, with at least a dozen more planned in the vacinity. This proposed project is about 6 blocks from my home. You did not state whether you live in the area.

      • If you know build more housing you won’t even be able to afford to live there anymore. Build build build!

    • You can’t control it. If you don’t want to be in a thriving city, move to the mid-west.

    • LA Population is growing by 60,000 people a year regardless. If this gets built or not. That’s 60,000 MORE people that need housing.

  2. I love it! It fits the vibe of the adjacent building, as well. Sunset Blvd around this part of town is so sleepy. I’m really hoping this will activate it while simultaneously bringing much needed housing relief.

  3. Fantastic. This is great news for the neighborhood and for LA. Kudos to the developer for thinking big and sticking to it. That run down part of Sunset is finally turning the corner. 76 affordable units is also a nice plus.

  4. It’s exactly what Garcetti wants , he’s done nothing but entertain big developers that offer no affordable housing , and handing out liquor licenses , that will be his legacy , Gavin Newsom all the way

  5. Grab some popcorn ladies and gentlemen, this should hit 300 comments easy!

  6. I lived in this neighborhood and there is literally no parking ever, lots of break ins and this building is 10x’s larger than anything in this area. This is a REALLY stupid idea. But at least the rich people who’d reside in it could send their assistants to grab their heroine from jack n the box

  7. It’s interesting to see the return of William Pereira’s iconic pierced sunscreens on the low-rise building at the center of the project–screens which the developer removed, we believe, to prevent the compound from being landmarked. We’ll watch with interest, and continue to advocate for a sensitive restoration of the extant Pereira campus, and of the 1960s-era water features and landscaping. For more on our Pereira in Peril campaign, including video of a site visit, see http://esotouric.com/pereira/

  8. Build, baby, Build! Fantastic!

  9. yay..can’t wait for traffic 24/7..this city sucks besides the weather

    • no need to wait, it’s already upon us!

      It’s a shame we didn’t create a city for people so that we could move about without a car, even more of a shame that we won’t even try to embrace walkable density!

  10. I live in Victor Heights and I highly highly approve of this project.

  11. Lets add hundreds of more cars to dodgers season

    • Good call, let’s plan the future of our city based on the 174 hours in a year when Dodger’s traffic is heavy.

      Better yet, scrap this proposal and pave a 10 lane highway straight through the hillside. Wouldn’t want anyone waiting to watch the sports!

  12. wow. great looking project. build it ASAP before NIMBY madness sets in and delays it 5 years and makes it cost 10x more than it should,

  13. Love it. Build baby!

  14. I’m shocked by the comments so far because I expected foaming at the mouth the neighborhood has been ruined fits. It will ruin Beaudry as a short cut to DTLA. Otherwise, build it. It will be interesting to see what it does to EP values and rents.

  15. Glad they will remove that stupid church.

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