LA Plaza Village Breaks Ground in El Pueblo

The 355-unit, transit-oriented multifamily development will also include 43,700 square feet of retail space.

By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

LA Plaza Village
LA Plaza Village

Los AngelesHigh Street Residential, Principal Real Estate Investors and the Cesar Chavez Foundation have kicked off construction of LA Plaza Village, a 355-unit multifamily project that will meld the historic with the modern, and create a cohesive link in one of Los Angeles’ oldest neighborhoods.

Carrying the addresses of 555 N. Broadway and 555 N. Spring St. in downtown Los Angeles’ historic El Pueblo district, the Johnson Fain-designed LA Plaza will be a 425,000-square-foot destination with four mid-rise structures featuring high-quality residences and 43,700 square feet of retail space. Those are just the basics. There are more than a few aspects of LA Plaza that stand out, and the designation of 20 percent of its units as affordable housing is one of them. Setting aside a sizeable portion of the apartments for low- and moderate-income residents will help answer a very loud cry in the city, as the median rent in Los Angeles County has skyrocketed 28 percent since 2000, while the median renter household income has dropped 8 percent, according to a report released in May by the Southern California Association of NonProfit Housing.

LA Plaza’s sought-after offerings don’t end there. Additionally, amid Los Angeles’ continued efforts to move away from its car-centric culture, the project will be a veritable model transit-oriented development, boasting some very enviable stats: a perfect transit score, a walk score of 91 and a bike score of 78. La Plaza will also feature 43,700 square feet of retail, restaurant and cultural facility space, and—because Los Angeles is still very much a car town, despite great progress on the public transit front—720 parking spaces.

And there’s more. “Essential to the design, a series of public open spaces creates links to the historic neighborhood,” Jim Andersen, senior vice president with High Street Residential, said in a prepared statement. “The project will help serve the mission of the LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes organization of preserving Los Angeles’ storied history by connecting the major historic elements of the city while sparking a major economic, social and cultural renaissance in the area that will benefit the entire city.”

The developers and Johnson Fain have envisioned a pedestrian paseo to tie it all together. The passageway, an homage to both traditional and contemporary Mexican and Mexican-American paseos, will unite a series of cultural and historic landmarks, including Union Station, the Pueblo, Olvera Street, and the LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes Museum. The paseo will also extend to the Fort Moore Memorial, the Civic Center and the Performing Arts District. “The architecture of LA Plaza Village is as much about connectivity and public open space as it is about the design of residential apartments,” Scott Johnson, design partner at Johnson Fain, noted in prepared remarks.

Benchmark Contractors Inc. is spearheading construction of LA Plaza, which is on track to make its debut in 2018.