Trio of residential towers approved for Echo Park

Palisades Capital to build 737 units near Chinatown, with a 180-room hotel

A rendering of the 1111 Sunset Blvd project (North Palisade, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill)
A rendering of the 1111 Sunset Blvd project (North Palisade, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill)

A Santa Monica developer will soon build three new towers with more than 700 apartments and a 180-room hotel in Echo Park.

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved plans by Palisades Capital Partners to build a 737-unit cluster of towers and low-rise buildings at 1111 Sunset Blvd., near Chinatown., the Los Angeles Times reported.

Plans call for a 49-story tower, a 30-story tower, a 17-story highrise and two- to four-story bungalows north of Downtown on a 5.5-acre site once owned by the Metropolitan Water District on Sunset Boulevard near the interchange of Route 101 and 110.

The 1111 Sunset project, once estimated to cost $600 million, would include the hotel, 48,000 square feet of office space and up to 95,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, with parking for 900 cars. If Palisades Capital drops the hotel, the apartments could grow to 827 units.

The 1 million-square-foot complex at 111 Sunset, designed by architects led by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, would add the first skyscraper to a region of buildings no taller than three stories. An exception is the Elysian, an eight-story apartment building that once served as headquarters for the MWD.

The city’s planning commission signed off on the environmental review for the project in February. The council just approved an ordinance allowing the developer to build the 49-story tower on a small section that, under city planning rules, had been off limits.

Councilman Gil Cedillo, who represents the area, called it “transformational.”

Brian Falls, Palisades’ vice president of development, said his company worked to ensure the project includes two acres of open space, with courtyards, gardens and views of the downtown skyline. It also worked closely with various labor unions. James Corner Field Operations, known for the High Line park in New York City, designed the landscaping.

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“We are proud that so many local residents and businesses in the area support the project,” Falls said in a statement.

One neighborhood group battling gentrification criticized the developer for only setting aside 76 units – about 10 percent the total — as affordable to low-income residents.

“We definitely view it as another mega-development that’s not community-serving,” said Patrick Chen, an organizer Chinatown Community for Equitable Development. “What we need is affordable housing in large quantities, not market-rate housing.”

Chen’s group, which has come out against market-rate housing in Chinatown and other low-income communities, sent a letter last year warning that 1111 Sunset would “further the process of gentrification and displacement.”

The organization contends the towers will cast big shadows, affecting the ability of families and seniors to “stay physically and mentally healthy.”

Community activist Eunisses Hernandez will replace Cedillo late this year following a political campaign centered on gentrification, rising rent and real estate development. She said she’s heard the project – which is now a done deal – doesn’t meet community needs.

“We’re in a moment where we really need to prioritize deeply, deeply affordable housing, and 10 percent is not enough in my eyes,” she told the Times.

[Los Angeles Times] – Dana Bartholomew

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