Commissioners approve artist-friendly apartment project in Arts District

The unanimous vote intended to slow the flight of artists from the neighborhood

May.May 17, 2018 12:30 PM
The seven-story building with 122 live-work lofts planned for 1800 East Seventh Street (Credit: city planning department)

With artists fleeing from rapidly gentrifying downtown Los Angeles, city officials are looking to build an oasis in the Arts District.

The Los Angeles Planning Commission voted last week to approve a 122-unit mixed-use project that is specifically designed for artists, Curbed reported.

The project, designed by HansonLA, will include arts production space on each floor. Roughly 20 percent of each unit will be set aside as a workspace. A courtyard and swimming pool are among some of the amenities that will be available for tenants.

Hillcrest Co., the developer, filed plans to build a seven-story complex with 9,500 square feet of commercial space at 1800 East 7th Street in July 2016. It paid $2.4 million to acquire the site, a parking lot zoned for industrial use, roughly two years prior, property records show.

Out of the 122 live-work units, 14 will be set aside for very low-income residents. Those units will also have a “leasing preference” for artists, a Hillcrest representative said.

The Arts District has become a hotspot for developers in recent years, who are looking to take advantage of the neighborhood’s artistic flair and attractive rates. That has pushed rents up, and displaced many artists who can no longer afford to live there.

In December, City Council members Jose Huizar and Mike Bonin introduced a plan to create an affordable housing program for L.A. artists to receive subsidized housing. Huizar represents the Downtown Arts District while Bonin represents Venice, another neighborhood known as a beacon for gentrification. [Curbed] — Natalie Hoberman

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