A lot of exciting developments have been happening at the Medallion Apartments recently in the Old Bank District at 4th and Main. The mixed-use complex with 96 apartments for rent — taking up the entire half block of 4th Street from Main to Los Angeles St — added a brand new vegan restaurant called Dr J’s Vibrant Cafe with Sushi Zo opening later this year. In addition, six more indie restaurants, an indoor farmers’ market, and a slew of artisanal eatery shops (under the expert guidance of John Edwards of Raw Inspiration) are slated to open on the lower level next year that will literally transform the Medallion into a foodie hub. But all that Medallion fun doesn’t end there because something even larger looms on the horizon code named “Medallion 2.0.”
Medallion 2.0 will be the second phase for Medallion owner and developer Saeed Farkhondehpour. However, because the downtown momentum has been steadily increasing over the last few years (downtown is actually becoming a 24-7 livable community, for instance), Medallion 2.0 will be larger and more audacious than even the first phase. Instead of only 96 apartments in two six-story buildings, the new project may include up to 400 units in four separate 13-story towers designed by Downtown LA-based Kevin Tsai Architecture.
Not only would 400 new units (built to condo specs) add a substantial injection of energy to 3rd and Main, activating what is now a dead and derelict corner, the complex would include 28,000 square feet of retail space fronting both Main and 3rd Street, a 24,000 square foot theater (Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is still in lease negotiations), a potential small boutique hotel, a 25,000 square foot public green space, and a new 5-level parking structure with 10,000 square feet of retail fronting Los Angeles St.
One of the most interesting design features of Medallion 2.0 is a diagonal sky bridge that links all four towers together by “cutting through” the 10th floor, which will be the amenity floor for residents. The sky bridge has symbolic meaning to Tsai who views the towers as an “urban community” akin to the flavor of Asian cities like Hong Kong. Each tower on the 10th floor will contain a different residential amenity including a community room, fitness center, and even a pool. The sky bridge will allow residents to hop between towers accessing these amenities.
Tsai sees Downtown LA as the antithesis to suburban Los Angeles. Being from Taipei, Taiwan — one of the most densely urban cities on the planet — Tsai believes Downtown LA is where Los Angeles will get a chance to embrace density. “I want to bring that flavor of Hong Kong and Taiwan to my design with the Medallion project,” Tsai tells me. “That sense of urban community.”
Developer Farkhondehpour is planning to break ground on Medallion 2.0 in late 2015 after all of phase one is completed, which now includes all the eateries planned for the lower level. A master EIR for both phases one and two was completed back in 2006.
All renderings courtesy of Kevin Tsai Architecture.