A Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm is planning new subsidized affordable housing in Pico-Union, according to an application recently submitted to the Department of City Planning.

Project applicant Menlo Investor, LLC - an entity affiliated with Cypress Equity Investments - is seeking entitlements to build a six-story building with 128 one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments at 1216-1224 S. Menlo Avenue.  The proposed development, located less than a block from both Pico Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, would raze two existing structures while preserving a 109-year-old home which is now occupied by a language school.

Ottinger Architects is designing the project, which would have a contemporary appearance and an exterior of white plaster and metal.  Architectural plans show several common residential amenities, including a rear yard, a courtyard, a community room, and amenity decks at the sixth floor and roof level.

Requested entitlements for the project include Transit Oriented Communities affordable housing incentives, which would allow for increased density and floor area beyond the property's base zoning.  Additionally, as a 100 percent affordable housing project in a Tier III TOC zone, the project could be built without on-site parking - though the developer has proposed a small four-car garage at street level.

The house-turned-school which currently exists at 1216 S. Menlo Avenue is slated for preservation as part of the project.  The building would be converted into a community room for residents with offices located above.

The project site abuts a similar low-income apartment building - called Menlo Family Housing - which opened in 2013.  A permanent supportive housing development - Vermont Manzanita - opened a block west on Vermont Avenue in 2015.

Cypress Equity Investment's other Los Angeles-area projects have largely consisted of market-rate and mixed-income apartment buildings, many built as joint ventures with Century West Partners.  The company is now building a 44-unit development on Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica.

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