The Real Deal Los Angeles

Japanese Village fails to halt DTLA Metro project

Mall owners claim the Metropolitan Transportation Authority failed to secure the right permits for its Downtown Regional Connector project

July 22, 2016 10:30AM

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The Japanese Village Plaza at 335 East 2nd Street (credit: Tanama Tales)

The Japanese Village Plaza at 335 East 2nd Street (credit: Tanama Tales)

Japanese Village has a bone to pick with Downtown L.A.’s latest public transit project.

The pedestrian mall’s property owners were defeated in a court decision Thursday, when a Superior Court judge denied their request for the Downtown Regional Connector to halt its construction of a $1.5 billion subway project, the L.A. Times reported.

Japanese Village claims that the two construction companies and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority behind the Downtown Regional Connector — a planned two-mile set of tunnels connecting Little Tokyo to the Financial District — were going to inject a cement-like material into the soil underneath the pedestrian shopping mall without a permit to do so.

The mall’s attorney sought to stop the construction until Metro acquired the necessary property easements. But Metro claims the necessary permits are in place.

This is Japanese Village’s third lawsuit over the Connector. The group was defeated in a state environmental lawsuit in 2012, and is now awaiting an appeal on a federal environmental lawsuit.

Currently behind schedule, the tunneling phase of construction is set to begin later this year and the project is slated for completion by 2020. Once complete, rail passengers will be able to travel through downtown without switching to multiple trains.

“It’s hard for a judge to stop a major project like this,” Japanese Village’s attorney Bob Crockett told the Times.

The Connector construction caused damage earlier this year when its grouting on the western end of the plaza raised the paving, he added. [LAT] — Cathaleen Chen