In the Arts District, developer Continuum Partners and Platinum Equity are now midway through construction of Produce LA, a $100-million office and retail complex.  Now, the Denver- and Beverly Hills-based firms will attempt a more ambitious project on a neighboring property, according to an application submitted last week to the Planning Department.

The new development, slated to replace Produce LA's parking lot at 655 S. Mesquit Street, calls for the construction of a 14-story building containing approximately 185,000 square feet of office space above 4,325 square feet of ground-floor retail.

"We made our first investment in the Arts District in 2015 and remain excited about its future," said Continuum Partners founder and chief executive officer Mark Falcone in a news release.  "The economic disolocation created by COVID-19 has certainly interrupted momentum, but as key infrastructure projects such as the new Regional Connector and Sixth Street Bridge come on line, interest in the Arts District will continue to grow, and we want to be prepared to meet that demand."

EYRC Architects is designing the proposed development, which would rise approximately 195 feet in height, towering over the four-story frame of Produce LA.  Architectural plans show a contemporary design, with an exterior of corrugated metal, concrete, and glass. 

At ground level, the project would include an L-shaped pedestrian paseo, cutting between Mesquit and Jesse Street to the south via a mid-block alley.  Other open-space amenities would include a community event room on the building's sixth floor, as well as a west-facing amenity deck on its roof level.

A total of 397 parking spaces are planned at 655 Mesquit, slightly over the code-required minimum for the development.  The new garage - consisting of two subterranean levels and five above-grade levels - would tie into the parking facilities now being built with the adjoining Produce LA development, which is scheduled for completion in 2021.

Construction of the office tower is contingent on the approval of a zone change, general plan amendment, and other discretionary entitlements by the City of Los Angeles.  A groundbreaking is currently anticipated in 2022.

The proposed development, located just south of the new Sixth Street Viaduct, is the latest in a series of large office projects slated for the Arts District, which has recently drawn in notable companies such as Warner Music Group and Spotify.  This includes roughly 187,000 square feet of offices planned with Onni Group's 2143 Violet Street complex, as well as similar projects planned by Jade Enterprises and Tishman Speyer.  Los Angeles-based Lowe is already in the midst of construction on a nine-story, 113,000-square-foot office building as of July.