Koreatown tower developers look to fast-track project after success in Chinatown

Urban Offerings, Forme Development, and Townline want to bypass time-consuming environmental review process
May 28, 2019 09:00AM

Urban Offerings Development Director Marc Cucco, Forme Development President Damon Chan

Urban Offerings Development Director Marc Cucco, Forme Development President Damon Chan

Koreatown developers seem to have an insatiable appetite for new apartment projects, and the faster those complexes get built the better.

Now, Townline and Forme Development are looking to quickly move their high-rise rental project through environmental review. The Vancouver, Canada-based developers want the city to designate the 550 Shatto Place tower development a Sustainable Communities project, according to Urbanize.

That designation would exempt the construction from a more extensive environmental impact review under the California Environmental Quality Act. That CEQA review process can take upwards of 12 months. A project is eligible for the Sustainable Communities Environmental Assessment if half the floor area is for residential use, if the construction is near transit, and if the development has a minimum of 20 units per acre.

Townline and Forme are working on the 32-story “Soul” project with Los Angeles-based developer Urban Offerings. The development will have 256 units, including four two-story townhomes and 2,500 square feet of ground floor retail, according to Urbanize.

The developers filed plans last July, not long after filing for their 27-story development in Chinatown. The city certified the Chinatown proposal a Sustainable Communities project earlier this year.

The owners are using the Transit Oriented Communities program to boost the unit count on the Koreatown project. The program provides density bonuses and other incentives for developments near transit that include affordable units.

The development team plans to set aside 29 units as affordable. It’s located at the corner of 6th Street, a block from Metro’s Wilshire/Vermont Red Line station, and is eligible for the biggest incentives the city offers.

The Koreatown tower is one of three high-rise developments seeking those Transit Oriented Communities incentives. [Urbanize]Dennis Lynch