June 19, 2017
Los Angeles is undoubtedly going through a renaissance, and the city has made a conscious effort to allow housing in new areas that has prompted an increase in development and thus a great shift in the landscape of the city. From a bullish cycle following the recession, to an influx of Chinese developers pumping billions of dollars into the city, Los Angeles is evolving into a vibrant region full of thriving micro-economies and new neighborhoods.
City West is one area of Los Angeles that is not regularly mentioned when we discuss development opportunities to revitalize neighborhoods. Dan Gura, director at MVE + Partners and life-long Angelino, sheds some light on the transformation that is ensuing just a few blocks from 7th and Fig. and the impact it’ll have on the community. He will be part of a of Connect Los Angeles panel this week titled, Repositioning Space and Transforming Neighborhoods.
Q: Can you describe the changes that are beginning to occur in City West?
A: City West is arguably the next best region of Los Angeles for development opportunities because of the massive shortage of housing in the area, and close proximity to jobs, restaurants and entertainment in Downtown. There are currently few proposed projects and a couple under construction that have the potential to transform the corridor into a dynamic environment.
The existing real estate consists of service‑based shops or convenience stores that often close at the end of the business day, low-rise apartments that date back to the development boom in the 1970s, and a few other empty structures resulting in a minimum amount of pedestrian traffic throughout the day. City West is less than a half of a mile from the 7th Street Metro Center on Figueroa, and presents an opportunity for developers to promote economic growth and revitalize the area by providing housing for people looking to locate near DTLA jobs.
Q: How is MVE involved in the transformation in the region?
A: We are the architect of record on a planned project for Lifan Group, a major Chinese manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles, called Lifan Tower, a 29-story mixed-use building at the corner of West 7th and Witmer Street. The proposed project will transform the area with a modern glass-clad design and nearly 6,000 square feet of restaurant and retail opportunities that will move it towards a more walkable lifestyle that is very attractive to younger generations.
The transformation opportunity in City West is very similar to the current revitalization of the Historic Core. We have two projects under construction there – 8th & Spring and 732 Spring Street – that are both mixed-use high-rise projects being developed by Holland Partner Group. The Historic Core is the heart of the old financial district that has been transient-ridden and cluttered with abandoned buildings for decades. The two Spring Street towers were designed to pay homage to the area’s rich history, and create an unmatched sense of place that aligns with the desires of today’s renters. The Historic Core is quickly changing, and we believe City West is following suit.
Q: How does the design of Lifan Tower differ from other projects?
A: Many Chinese developers are looking to push the envelope for design when building in Los Angeles – and Lifan Group’s vision for the towner parallels that objective. However, much of what is planned for City West is mid-rise apartment product. Other than one or two other towers proposed in the area, Lifan Tower is much taller than most proposed projects and boasts expansive wrap-around decks for each unit. We will be premiering new renderings for Lifan Tower later this summer, and are in line with Lifan’s goal to break ground before the end of the year.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser