Goodbye Dragon, hello housing: Yet another apartment complex planned for Koreatown

Property owner wants to knock out a longtime Chinese restaurant and build apartments

Los Angeles /
Jun.June 23, 2022 12:30 PM
A photo illustration of the planned Vermont Lofts project at 966 South Vermont Avenue (SO.LA, Inc., iStock)
A photo illustration of the planned Vermont Lofts project at 966 South Vermont Avenue (SO.LA, Inc., iStock)

A development team filed plans to knock down a long-established Chinese restaurant and build a 90-unit mixed-use complex on the southern end of Koreatown, representing the latest potential residential construction project in a neighborhood that’s seeing plenty.

The proposal for the Dragon restaurant at 966 S. Vermont Ave. comes from Teh Jing Wang, the owner, along with the development consulting firm Alchemy Planning. The application was registered with the city’s planning department on Wednesday.

The proposal calls for the construction of a six-story, 77,000-square-foot building that would have 90 apartment units and nearly 3,000 square feet of ground floor retail space as well as 85 car parking spaces. The units would range from studios to two-bedrooms, and would wrap around a second-level landscaped courtyard, according to planning documents; renderings show a contemporary build, branded “Vermont Lofts,” with plenty of glass windows, some balconies and a white, brown and green exterior design.

In line with many large residential proposals, the team is seeking Transit Oriented Communities incentives, which allow for certain density exemptions for projects located near public transit. The project location, near the corner of Vermont Avenue and Olympic Boulevard toward the southern end of Koreatown, ranks among L.A.’s most densely populated and best-connected areas.

It’s also a neighborhood that’s seeing a flurry of new multifamily and other major commercial projects: Just in the past few months, developers have filed plans for a 22-story apartment building that would rise atop a parking lot, a seven-story apartment building https://therealdeal.com/la/2022/04/27/k-town-developer-proposes-7-story-apartment-complex/ with 4,700 square feet of retail space and a 143-key hotel, among others; last month the planning department also granted approvals for a seven-story, 127-unit residential build from Jamison, the neighborhood’s preeminent developer.

In order to build the Vermont and Olympic project, however, a crew must first knock down The Dragon, a large “Korean influenced Northern Chinese” restaurant that’s been serving dishes like sea cucumber with roast pork and beef with mushroom and bamboo shoots since 1980. The corner staple has 15 different private dining rooms and banquet halls, according to its website; property records show that the Wang family has controlled the property for decades and transferred ownership to an LLC earlier this year. The existing 10,500 square-foot building went up in 1958 and was altered in 1972, according to records.

There was no response to a call to The Dragon.





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