Orion Housing looks to build affordable complex in Jefferson Park

Student housing developer plans six-story apartment building next to LA city landmark

Orion Housing Plans Affordable Apartments in Jefferson Park
3812 West Adams Boulevard (Orion Housing, Getty)

Orion Housing wants to build a six-story affordable housing complex in Jefferson Park, overshadowing a 112-year-old city landmark next door.

The Pico-Union-based student housing developer founded by Henry Fan and Charles Kim has filed plans to build the 88-unit building at 3812 West Adams Boulevard, Urbanize Los Angeles reported.

It would replace a two-story, eight-unit apartment building built in 1940. It appears that Orion bought the building in April for $1.6 million, or $200,000 per unit.

Plans call for a six-story building atop a ground-floor parking garage, with 87 affordable units for low- and moderate-income households, plus a market-rate manager’s apartment, according to plans filed with the United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council

The white, gray and yellow complex would be fast-tracked for approval by the affordable housing directive by Mayor Karen Bass known as Emergency Directive 1.  

It would be built next to the historic Denker Estate, a two-story Neoclassical house designed by Benjamin Cooper Corbett and built in 1912 for Louise Ruellan Denker, the widow of a Prussian-born hotelier and landowner. It was declared a city historic-cultural monument in 1994.

The proposed development is part of the real estate portfolio of Orion Housing, according to the neighborhood council agenda.

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A rendering from the company’s website depicts a contemporary podium-type building, with additional details “coming soon.” The Denker Estate is positioned on the side of the complex.

Orion Housing, founded in 2015, is a property management unit of Orion Capital, founded by Fan and Kim, according to state business records. The developer has long been associated with building housing catering to students from USC.

Critics have accused the developer of replacing vintage homes and apartment complexes across Los Angeles with boxy buildings out of character with local neighborhoods.

In February last year, Orion Capital moved forward with plans to tear down a 128-year-old house in Adams-Normandie to build an 18-unit apartment complex at 1317 West Jefferson Boulevard. A single-story house, built in 1895, would be destroyed.

Orion recently kicked off plans for a 78-unit ED1 project on Scarff Street where the developer had previously planned just 10 apartments, according to Urbanize.

— Dana Bartholomew

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