Last Wednesday in a presentation to the Little Tokyo community leaders, developer AvalonBay Communities, Inc. detailed their latest plans to build two mixed-use projects (residential over commercial) on two parcels within the 6-acre “Block 8” development site in Little Tokyo — bounded by 2nd, Los Angeles, and San Pedro.
Avalon Bay is a national apartment developer with over 50,000 units across the country. They plan to develop two parcels at 2nd and Los Angeles St into 280 total market-rate apartments for rent in two separate mixed-use buildings. Layouts will include studios, one, two, and three bedrooms. Construction on the first phase will be at the intersection of 2nd and Los Angeles St where 104 rentals will rise in 6 stories. The second phase just south of phase one, also at 6 stories, will consist of 176 units and will break ground not long after the first phase according to the rep from Avalon Bay.
The project is being designed by Thomas P Cox Architects (TCA). Renderings presented at the meeting were asked not to be photographed by the developer. Nevertheless, the older rendering of the project (seen above and also designed by TCA) is very similar to the new design with some minor alterations, such as a new plaza for the intersection. Basically, you’ll still get an idea what the project will look like by viewing the older rendering.
The entire project is currently dubbed “Ava Little Tokyo” (originally known as “Matsu” back in 2007) and will have a total of 20,000 square feet of retail space fronting both 2nd and Los Angeles St. When completed, the corner intersection will have a square-shaped plaza that could be used for outdoor dining if a restaurant ends up leasing the corner commercial space. According to the developer, “Ava” is a new moniker Avalon Bay is calling their “urban projects.”
Block 8 is divided into 4 separate parcels (A, B, C, D) where Ava Little Tokyo will be developed on Parcels A and B, divided by a private street named Toyo Miyatake Way. So far, only Parcel C has been successfully developed into 230 rental apartments known as Sakura Crossing completed in 2009. Parcel D was recently purchased by Sares-Regis from Related (escrow closed this month) with plans to develop their own mixed-use project. You may remember Sares-Regis developed the massive Westgate Apartments in Pasadena.
According to the rep from Avalon Bay, permits for construction have been filed and they plan to break ground as early as fall of this year. When completed in late 2014 (approximately 2 years), Ava Little Tokyo will be the most important urban connection between Little Tokyo and the Historic Core, currently two districts severed from each other by the massive anti-pedestrian surface parking lot. The new buildings will add hundreds of new residents to Little Tokyo and also help activate the sidewalks with new retail and restaurants. Finally, two districts in Downtown LA will begin to fully meld together, forming a powerful synergy that pushes our urban center toward urban maturity.