John Stanley plans affordable complex at Manchester Square church

The DTLA developer has previously partnered with a church on a project
By Dennis Lynch |
Research by Haru Coryne
April 22, 2019 11:20AM

John Stanley founder Saki Middleton and Southside Church of Christ (Credit: Google Maps)

Real estate development firm John Stanley Inc. wants to build an affordable housing complex on church property in Manchester Square, a collaboration that has become increasingly common for investors across the country. It is also not a first for Downtown-based John Stanley Inc.

The firm filed for the 49-unit construction at 1613-1639 W. Manchester Avenue. The 59,000-square-foot building would rise at the 1.3-acre site of Southside Church of Christ and its large parking lot.

The project appears to be a collaboration between the developer and the church, which still owns the property. It was not clear if the development will replace the existing church or be built on the parking lot, and neither John Stanley nor representatives from the church immediately responded to a request for comment.

John Stanley — founded by Saki Middleton, a former Partner at Related California — has partnered with a church to build affordable housing at least once before, though not in Los Angeles. In 2017, the company broke ground on a 77-unit townhome project in Memphis, Tennessee, with Church of God in Christ. Though that construction was in out of state, the congregation has a development wing itself, and has built around 400 units of housing in L.A., according to the Memphis Daily News.

The Archdiocese of Chicago sold a parking lot for $110 million in 2017 to JDL Development for its planned skyscraper project and in Miami, The Melo Group paid $10 million for a downtown church’s surface parking lot, where it may develop a high-rise rental project.

For the Manchester Square project, all of the units would be set aside for “very low-income” renters, meaning households bringing in less than 50 percent of area median income. The L.A. area AMI is $69,300, so families making less than $34,650 may qualify for such housing.

The project is eligible for density bonuses and other incentives through the city’s Transit Oriented Communities program, which provides them for housing developments built near transit options and whose developers set aside a portion of the units as affordable.

Manchester Square neighbors Inglewood, which is seeing significant investment largely thanks to the $5 billion L.A. Stadium and Entertainment District project, otherwise known as the future L.A. Rams and L.A. Chargers football venue.