Skid Row Housing Trust, Michael Maltzan Architecture plan mass-timber housing tower

The DTLA 150-unit supportive housing project would be made mostly of wood, rising 14 stories

Skid Row Housing Trust CEO Lee Raagas and a rendering of the project (Credit: Michael Maltzan Architecture via Urbanize)
Skid Row Housing Trust CEO Lee Raagas and a rendering of the project (Credit: Michael Maltzan Architecture via Urbanize)

UPDATED, March 31, 11:47 a.m.: Skid Row Housing Trust and Michael Maltzan Architecture are planning a 150-unit supportive housing development tower in Downtown Los Angeles — made almost entirely of wood.

The 14-story timber building would replace a five-story apartment structure at 609-623 E. 5th Street on Skid Row, according to Urbanize. Plans call for ground-floor case management services for residents, who would all be formerly homeless.

The Maltzan-designed building will be named the Alvidrez in honor of Skid Row Housing Trust’s former CEO Mike Alvidrez. Renderings show a modern-style building with staggered vertical sections, a white façade and offset windows. Some of the sections have rooftop terraces.

It could be L.A.’s first mass timber high-rise. Mass timber means that the primary load-bearing structure is made of wood, which is weaker than concrete or steel, but is also cheaper. The Alvidrez is designed with “modular building blocks,” according to the Housing Trust.

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Maltzan and structural engineer John A. Martin & Associates received $200,000 from the state as part of competition to highlight mass-timber construction, according to Urbanize.

New construction methods have allowed designers to build taller than was traditionally possible with wood. Sidewalk Labs, a design studio run by Google parent company Alphabet, recently unveiled a concept for what could be the tallest mass-timber tower in the world.

Skid Row Housing Trust’s timber tower will be located a few blocks away from a 100-unit project that the group has under construction.

In September, the Housing Trust filed plans for a 64-unit development in Van Nuys. [Urbanize]Dennis Lynch

Correction: A previous version of this story stated that Skid Row Housing Trust received $200,000 from the city of Los Angeles as part of a mass timber design competition. The competition was held by the State of California.