SoCal Flower Market collective unveils development plans

Project calls for razing one building to make way for 14-story complex

Oct.October 20, 2016 03:00 PM

Things are moving fast for the Southern California Flower Market.

Less than two weeks after the 14th district’s Council member Jose Huizar filed a motion to rezone the 3.8-acre site, the market’s owners unveiled their plans for the massive overhaul.

If City Council approves their request, the two-structure business center at 755 Wall Street would be transformed into a 290-unit mixed-use complex with between 50,000 to 60,000 square feet of office space, L.A. Downtown News reported.

The Market is owned by a collective of shareholders — dozens of families that have a small stake in the business. Many are direct descendents of the original founders of the 107-year-old market. They were Japanese American flower growers, and they came together while facing fierce marginalization during World War II.

The property currently houses a pair of two-story buildings, out of which 50 vendors operate booths selling flowers, plants and tools to those in the floral and landscaping industry. One of the buildings will be renovated, while the other will be razed to make way for a new 14-story structure.

Rising rents and aging facilities leave the Market with little choice but to redevelop, according to Scott Yamabe, its executive vice president.

If the city does not approve the rezoning required for the project, he said, the collective will probably have to move out of L.A.

But if approval could be secured, the goal is to break ground within two years, Yamabe told the News. [LADTN] — Cathaleen Chen

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