arts district, downtown los angeles

Tour the Massive One Santa Fe Mixed-User Taking Shape in Downtown LA Arts District

A view of the interior courtyard of the new massive One Santa Fe mixed-user with 438 apartments slated to open later this year

A view of the interior courtyard of the new massive One Santa Fe mixed-user with 438 apartments slated to open later this year

It’s amazing and so very exciting to see the massive Michael Maltzan-designed One Santa Fe project taking shape on the eastern edge of Downtown LA in the burgeoning Arts District, which is rapidly becoming one of the hottest neighborhoods in all of Los Angeles with new trendy shops like Warby Parker and Blacktop Coffee as well as EightyTwo barcade opening recently down the street. One Santa Fe — sandwiched between SCI-ARC and the Metro rail yard — will be a huge game changer for the Arts District adding an additional 438 apartment units for rent (potentially increasing the downtown population by another 650 residents) and adding lots of new businesses and community amenities (like a 99-seat theater) that will help inject more pedestrian activity into the immediate area, including an exciting new grocery store called GROW that’s planning to open later this year within the One Santa Fe courtyard.

Back in March of 2013 when I last toured the project, the rebar columns were just beginning to rise out of the ground and a large steel skeleton framing for the main “bridge” section of the development — that contains actual two-level townhomes — had just barely gone up. And now over a year later, here we are with this massive quarter-of-a-mile-long project taking shape beautifully as construction workers continued along aiming to complete the first phase of the project (the southern portion) in less than 6 months from now. The northern section of the development that abuts First Street is slated for completion by late December/early January 2015.

Take a pictorial tour below of this massive project under construction!

Underneath the bridge section of One Santa Fe, which is also the entryway into the development

Underneath the bridge section of One Santa Fe, which is also the entryway into the development

These are special (heavy metal) shades that architect Michael Maltzan chose to enhance the aesthetic qualities of One Santa Fe

These are special (heavy metal) shades that architect Michael Maltzan chose to enhance the aesthetic qualities of One Santa Fe

The special window shades are meant to cast a triangular shadow against the white facade of One Santa Fe

The special window shades are meant to cast a triangular shadow against the white facade of One Santa Fe

A view of the interior courtyard of One Santa Fe with its angular form

A view of the interior courtyard of One Santa Fe with its angular form

Rain water from the roofs will be pumped into these large planters to be filtered before going back into the underground water system

Rain water from the roofs will be pumped into these large planters to be filtered before going back into the underground water system

This is where the new grocery store GROW will be going into

This is where the new grocery store GROW will be going into

The future pool deck

The future pool deck

The future fitness gym center and pool deck

The future fitness gym center and pool deck

One Santa Fe with the Metro maintenance facilities below

One Santa Fe with the Metro maintenance facilities below

Inside the hallway

Inside the hallway

A peek inside a corner unit

A peek inside a corner unit

A view looking into the interior courtyard from one of the unit's balcony

A view looking into the interior courtyard from one of the unit’s balcony

Train geeks like me will love the eastern view of the Metro train yard

Train geeks like me will love the eastern view of the Metro train yard

Looking down south along Santa Fe Ave

Looking down south along Santa Fe Ave

Looking west toward the beautiful Downtown LA skyline

Looking west toward the beautiful Downtown LA skyline

New 10-foot wide sidewalks will be built along Santa Fe Ave, providing a stronger pedestrian connection between north Arts District with middle Arts District

New 10-foot wide sidewalks will be built along Santa Fe Ave, providing a stronger pedestrian connection between north Arts District with middle Arts District

Center map
Google MapsGet Directions


  1. Jason h says

    I don’t think of this project as “exciting”. It is out of place in current neighborhood and begins the process of watering down the Arts District previous unique character. Change is inevitable downtown I just wish the developers could have went with a design more appropriate to the community.

    RIP Arts District

    • Ryan R says

      this is the best architecture to rise in los angeles in years. maltzan is probably the best architect we have here these days. do you prefer the anonymous blah junk rising over in Little Tokyo?

    • Tim Irish says

      I utterly agree. This pile makes the Twin Towers Jail look inviting. It is soooo wrong for DTLA. It looks like something that wandered off from Downtown Burbank…

      • Ryan R says

        What? Burbank is nothing but cheap crap.

    • Shannon says

      Agree, it’s a giant white block that will surely get a nice dingy coat of “downtown black dust” on it in no time. hope they have a good power washing plan.

  2. ^ AGREED this design is atrocious. A prison complex in the arts district.

  3. Everyone in the Arts District is dreading the arrival of this complex, but alas change is inevitable and we shall see what the Arts District looks and feels like in a year or so.

  4. Horthos says

    All the comments so far are quite civilized, so leave it to me to be brutally honest. This building is total shit. Its ugly, out of place, has no soul, and will be the game changer for the arts district, turning it from a place that is still somewhat cool and edgy into just another lame part of town. Fuck this building.

    • Ryan R says

      what are you talking about? “just another part of town”? this building is well designed, extremely unique, and certainly fits in the arts district better than anywhere else.

  5. Sun Ra says

    I wonder if all of you who are against this project, are the same boring people who prevented the beautiful Ramirez Liquor Store to open in the Arts District? What is it now? a marijuana dispensary.

    I agree that the design of the building looks a little different than it’s surrounding, but as a long time downtown resident, I dig it and welcome it with open arms! I’ll even dig it even more if there was a record store inside of this place. But anyway, “YAY” to new game changing development that shakes things up a little bit, and nay to the nimby’s who prevent beautiful establishments like a Ramirez and One Santa Fe for adding more spice to the neighborhood.

  6. Scott Williams says

    OSF has the look and feeling a bleak uninviting governmental institution of dreadful proportions. In 20 years there will be discussions on how to tear down this visual eyesore.

    • Ryan R says

      actually, i’m pretty sure this will be in the architecture history books as an example of outstanding design from our era.

  7. Lawrence says

    Here’s an idea – let’s just not build anything anywhere – then we can “preserve the character” of all of our neighborhoods. The fact of the matter is this development will bring some good neighborhood serving retail to this section of the arts district while creating a pleasant streetscape for the area, which was somewhat pedestrian hostile before. I personally think the layout and design of the complex is interesting and will be even more so once the landscaping and retail tenants are in place.

  8. Jackie says

    RIP to the beautiful view we use to have that is now covered up by this boring ass building. Hello to soooo much more traffic and the art district being overpopulated. I dislike this project and it should go back to where it came from! I’ve lived in LA all my life and Santa Fe will never be the same.

    They should also take away that other disgusting looking building (lucky brand) a few blocks down.

    • Ryan R says

      other than the view, sante fe was pretty darn desolate before.

  9. Aurora says

    Sun Ra, it’s highly doubtful that the people who opposed Rameriez are the ones complaining about this project because they only care about what they can see from their pool deck at Barker Block and pretty much ignore the rest of the AD. Also, Rameriez was proposed blocks away from the dispensary, not in the same building.

    I don’t mind the look of this building even though it’s shaping up to be even larger than I imagined. It could be much worse- can you imagine if Palmer had put one of his “faux Mediterranean” monstrosities there? I just hope the 400+ new residents (all renters) will respect and be involved in the community. This is the first of FOUR huge new rental developments that are coming to the neighborhood. The neighborhood has already changed quite a bit but so far it’s kept it’s character and sense of community. I hope some of that remains with the huge influx of hundreds of new residents. Most of the artists that gave the area it’s name have already been pushed out. One Santa Fe will be offering some discounted housing for qualifying low income artists so that’s a good thing. If they have a large and percieved “agressive breed” dog, they won’t be allowed to rent there, however. We could all benefit from a market that is hopefully also affordable and the theater and arts center will be nice. I just think the days of recognizing most of your neighbors you see on the street are numbered and traffic is about to get miserable. I’m very happy the sidewalk is coming back though!

    • Ryan R says

      and we can already say with certainty that the other three new rental developments coming will be substantially aesthetically worse than One Sante Fe

  10. brendon says

    I find it hilarious that middle-aged white people think they’re edgy and cool.

    • EdgyCoolDTLady says

      We were cool and edgy before you were born!

      • brendon says

        And now you’re not. Time to move on. I hear the dream of the 90s is alive in Portland.

        • Aurora says

          As he quotes a show made by two middle-aged white people. You’re just full of snappy zingers, brendon with a lower case b!

  11. bighomey says

    Inchoate NIMBYism makes baby Jesus cry

    • wildstar says

      I know, it’s starting to get a little San Marino in here…

  12. I love it. The design is unique and perfect for the Arts District. Hopefully this complex will bring in more diversity to the AD. Definately a game changer.

  13. I see many old, charming and quite building in DTLA, not in use and deteriorating. What is possible for these?

  14. sebastian says

    Rich folks will move here and then they will start to complain about what they want there slowly changing the area. Exactly what is happening in Venice Beach.

    • Ryan R says

      this isn’t really going to be luxury apartments. more like a defacto dorm for sci-arc.

      • ffazzaz says

        Here’s the price schedule for One Santa Fe

        $1,480 – $2,035

        1 bedroom

        2 bedroom

        “defacto dorm for sc-arc” ? – You’re out of your mind.

        As for it’s aesthetics, it it puts me in mind of a Soviet-era Siberian no-name industrial housing project. Even ‘appalling’ is too mild a word.

        • Ryan R says

          oh yikes, that is more expensive that i had thought it would be. but… have you seen the cars in the sci-arc parking lot? a lot of them can clearly afford a $2000/month rental unit.

        • Ryan R says

          also, have you seen soviet-era housing projects? there’s very little resemblance.

  15. Ryan R says

    i really don’t understand why people are complaining about this building. the design is beautiful. really. it’s visually stimulating, aesthetically pleasing, fits and accentuates the character of the neighborhood, and it activates the a formerly desolate stretch of sante fe with real vibrant street life. us arts district residents should be cheering this on – we should be happy that projects like this are extending the walkable wonderfulness of the arts district a few extra streets in every direction.

  16. Chris says


    The “Arts District” is getting bad enough lately, but this thing is taking it over the top.

    Completely ruins the view from the East as well.

    And yes, completely agree, hundreds more Renters (and their cars) is highly unlikely to improve that neighborhood.

    • wildstar says

      If you’re complaining about renters, that must mean you own. Rest assured your investment is safe.

      And as if people who can afford to own the in AD don’t have cars…

  17. Jake says

    Maybe, just maybe, we should wait until it’s finished before passing final judgement on the design, no? Even then, opinions won’t matter. It’s being built regardless and in the long run, I believe it will help the AD more than it hurts it.

    • LAifer says

      Thank you for this. While it’s a large project, I too am a bit surprised at the total negativity on this blog. Wow. In case anyone hasn’t been paying attention the past 15 years, 40,000 new residents in the downtown LA area didn’t just plop down all in existing housing. And that’s just in downtown.

      Having walked past this property prior to its development, frankly, I’m kinda shocked at all the people waxing poetically for its former days. Y’all do realize that if we just had surface lots all over the place there’d be nowhere we’d want to go because it’d all be surface lots, right?

      And, yes, more people does equal more traffic, cars, bikes, peds, and otherwise. So what? The alternative is to have those folks all plop down in less walkable communities where they’ll happily pollute our air with even more CO2 and make the environment that much less healthy for all of us. I thought the Arts District was cooler than opposing urban infill development, but these comments are making me reconsider that.

  18. Wow, so many Arts District NIMBYs. More and more glad every day that I opted to buy in the Fashion District instead.

    • Jason H says

      Don’t worry when the next monstrosity is rolled out in the Fashion District we will look for your comments here.

      A “NIMBY” is pejorative term meant to describe people that are against development in their community. Most of the comments here are not on development in general but specifically regarding the poor outright design of this building and how it fits the local community.

  19. They should pay me to curate 25 of the cities top street artists to cover it. Then blow it up.

  20. archie says

    I love it. Modern, exciting, visionary. Very European and daring . New residents will liven up the streets with even more life, as a vital city should have. An active 99 seat theatre would be a terrific addition to the area as would GROW. A movie theatre or stage shows? Sorry for all the folks who wanted their elite little secret as it was in the old days.

  21. I’ve lived downtown (north edge of Little Tokyo) for close to 3 years and the only way this will change the game in the Arts District is bringing about its slow death. In 2011 I remember seeing murals and art remain on walls for months on end, but now as the mix of people who live downtown changes, much of the art quickly disappears, and I openly hear residents in my building complain that it is a nuisance that “cheapens” the neighborhood.

    Change is inevitable and it has come, but those who think this is good for the current Arts District is wrong. The current residents will have to move elsewhere once the rents shoot up (actually, they already have). I don’t think this is about an “elite little secret” like our buddy “Archie” says – at least it isn’t to me. It’s about how downtown is changing, causing many residents of lesser means to move away, and they’re replaced by others who will chart a different course for the neighborhood.

    Although I have the means to stay downtown, I can’t imagine I will. Once developers push the missions out – and I’m sure they have already started to try – it’s going to be the last nail in the coffin for any time of economic diversity in the area.

    • 5th Gen Angelino says

      FFWD to 2030.. the “White Whale” is the next LA Mission

  22. DebCheb says

    God the “arts district” is so insufferable… people move into an industrial neighborhood and then expect the “character” to be maintained? It was all M3 for a reason — and if you moved in there you should have been open to the idea of living in a place where people were going to do whatever the hell they wanted. What if this was the sriracha plant spewing burning fumes into all of your “lofts?” Seriously, what a bunch of entitled poser whiners.

    • Jason H says

      So any design is satisfactory to you? Do you literally have no lower bar on how a building fits within a community? Would you be ok if they designed a Pagoda style building across the street from your house as long as it wasn’t a siracha plant?

  23. Rob says

    It’s way to big! If they made it smaller would have been better! And Grow market? Of all the choices they pic this one! It’s awful!

  24. LAofAnaheim says

    Traffic is not a bad thing, it’s a good thing! It brings crowds, business, economic prosperity into an area. With more traffic, you will have more people on the streets walking, riding bikes, taking Metro, etc as alternatives. The last thing you want is “no traffic” if you like urban living in the 2nd largest city in the USA.

  25. Andrew W. says

    Even though I’m not a fan of its monolithic scale (call it The Great Wall of the Arts District or whatever). I still think its interesting architecturally and welcome the amenities/pedestrian activity it will surely bring to a once desolate part of the AD.

  26. Jimmy says

    whats is wrong with Ryan R???
    this building is the worst thing that could happen to DTLA, it look like all the European suburbia “ghetto” development built in the 70’s, even Burbank would not want this….

  27. sebastian says

    The Great Wall of the AD. I love it. Maybe that name will stick.

  28. BL says

    Have any of y’all actually been to the building? Seen it in the space? Structurally it meshes quite well with the long/thin Sci-Arc structure, and on the other side of the building the design calls to mind train cars, thus matching the train yards on the rear of the building. Over all, it matches the specific location of the building quite well.

    Not sure if y’all thought it was plopped right in the middle of the AD or they tore down some wearhouses in order to build it, but it was built on former empty lots next to a train yard. When you stand in the courtyard area the curved structure certainly calls to mind railroad interchanges.

    Over all, I think it’s a rather cool design. The only downside I think is the choice of white paint which will get very dirty with time. Paint is an easy fix if in the future the owners of the building decide to change it.

    I’m at a bit of a loss how everyone thinks that this doesn’t fit with the area? The developer could have very easily built a glass high rise and sold them all out for twice the price they’re renting these for–but instead they wanted to go with something that evokes trains and tracks–and keeping it low-mid rise to not stick out from the surrounding area. Seems like all choices that are better than most of the ways they could have gone with the development.

  29. JJJJJ says

    Why would anyone pay those rates to live next to a railyard?

    Constant noise + sky-high diesel (cancer) emissions

  30. Manny says

    Hideous, hideous, hideous. I have driven by it is so UGLY. Cookie cuter apartments, and tons of them. Talk about nothing interesting and nothing new or innovative. WHAT AN UGLY PLACE. and the views are pretty shitty…you can get better views of DTLA and other areas anywhere near by. And I am sure they are going to rip you off as far as rent goes…saying it is IN DTLA and it is not at all…it is adjacent to Boyle heights pretty much…closer to Boyle Heights that it is to DTLA…right under the Bridge…CRAP, CRAP, CRAP.

  31. CCC says

    I live a block away from here, and every morning i drive the 1st street bridge. As soon as this building went up it completely destroyed the great view of the LA skyline. Now its like hey look at that amazing view right next to it a prison cell look alike. Really ugly, it is going to destroy the culture here, but hey gentrification. This is coming from someone that lives in this neighborhood.

  32. dori says

    I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 40yrs and during that time I’ve seen it go thru incredible transformations. Some have reinvigorated neighborhoods that were once historical & cultural centers of the city but overtime were allowed to decay – but now they’re thriving. While some re thinking so to speak has erased the small town, almost village like quality that made sections/neighborhoods, even individual streets unique.

    Yeah, One Santa Fe is a monster – not necessarily in a bad way – but it definitely changes the tone of the Art’s District.

    The design at first is jarring. No doubt about it. And as some have written – it appears out of place.

    But I kept looking at it – and it’s location on the eastern end of the district and it’s limited height actually doesn’t overpower the area.

    What will have an impact is the 600+ new residents – plus the influx of people from surrounding communities who will take advantage of the buildings amenities – but both groups I think will have a tangible positive effect on galleries, bars, small restaurants, theatre/dance companies etc.

    But I took all this into consideration. I rolled around the pros & cons and decided that it wouldn’t destroy the district.

    So I decided to apply and – well … I’ll be moving into the bldg sometime in September.

    Yeah, I’m one of those … But it’s always reminded me of the village in New York where I grew up.

    So I promise to relish it’s uniqueness and become a member of the community.

  33. Baja Joe says

    This mofo needs to be filled with section 8 not white drop outs claiming Affordable Housing partnerships.

  34. 5th Gen Angelino says

    I don’t understand the point of this hideous monster.. other than the architect’s ego. How could City Council approve? Oh yeah, inflated egos abound in this town.

  35. Echo's Park says

    City of Angels,
    The devil went down to One Santa Fe and erected a haunting derailed ghost train! A big flat dead fish. Interiors equally flat -No life! Where’s the sun in these spaces, the use of our golden light?? An “architects” contribution to the arts district? Julius Shulman is weeping in his grave.

Comments are closed.