Protesters rally against Realm and Urban Offerings’ Fashion District development project

Signs read: “No more empty units” and “Say no to skyscrapers on skid row”

Rendering of 7th & Maple (Credit: Urban Offerings, Wikimedia Commons)
Rendering of 7th & Maple (Credit: Urban Offerings, Wikimedia Commons)

When it comes to developing Downtown’s once-untouched areas near Skid Row, there’s no rose without a thorn.

Activists gathered in the plaza of the Santee Court lofts on Friday to protest the construction of Realm and Urban Offerings’ proposed project at 222 East 7th Street, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The 33-story apartment tower, dubbed “7th & Maple,” is slated to include 452 apartments, commercial space and subterranean parking on the border of Skid Row and the Fashion District.

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Critics of the development are saying the city should first focus on housing the area’s 2,000 homeless before approving more pricey residential projects. There are also concerns the high-rise would cause neighborhood rents to skyrocket, thus driving more residents out.

“How can we continue to allow skyscrapers to come into our community to remain vacant when we’re in the middle of a homeless crisis? That’s a shame,” Los Angeles Community Action Network member Steve Diaz told the L.A. Times.

Details in the proposal state 50 apartments will be for “very low income” residents. Protesters were quick to point out, however, that a family of two with annual income up to $37,000 would qualify for the designated units. This would make it nearly impossible for a homeless individual who earns less than $14,000 a year to make the cut.

The Los Angeles Planning Commission approved plans for the Fashion District’s first high-rise on Sept. 15. The developers still need approval from City Council before they can break ground on the site. [LAT]Natalie Hoberman

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