Three years after taking over management of The BLOC in Downtown Los Angeles, developer National Real Estate Advisors is following through on plans to add a residential high-rise to the property (and a lot of signage).

View of the proposed residential tower at The BLOC from 7th StreetShimahara

An entity affiliated with the Washington, D.C.-based firm recently submitted plans to the Department of City Planning seeking approvals to construct a new tower atop The BLOC's parking garage - a fortress-like structure which fronts 8th, Flower, and Hope Streets. Plans call for a total of 466 apartments in a mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom layouts, with 441 parking stalls provided within the existing garage.

Handel Architects is designing the proposed residential tower, which would add 41 stories atop The BLOC's existing 12-level garage, resulting in a 53-story, 710-foot-tall building. Architectural plans show a contemporary glass-and-steel structure with a sculpted glass rooftop and an outdoor deck. Additional amenities are planned at the lowest floor of the new tower.

Aerial view of The BLOC and proposed residential tower looking westStudio One Eleven

The new construction would be accompanied by a new signage program, according to the application. A number of digital displays are proposed for garage entrances, as well as on prominent locations at the upper floors of existing buildings.

Requested entitlements for the project, including a transfer of floor area rights, will require a hearing before the City Planning Commission. A timeline is not included in the project application.

View of courtyard and new residential tower at The BLOCStudio One Eleven

The BLOC, a 1970s development previously known as Macy's Plaza, was transformed by the Ratkovich Company into its current format just over five years ago. The property is anchored by a 32-story, nearly 730,000-square-foot office building and a Sheraton Grand Hotel, capping more than 430,000 square feet of commercial space that includes a Macy's, Uniqlo, and Alamo Drafthouse. The complex also has a direct link to the adjacent 7th Street/Metro Center subway station through its sunken courtyard.

While a project of this scale is unprecedented, it is not the first instance of a developer building housing above a parking garage in Los Angeles. Jamison Services has recently added apartments atop two structures near Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown as part of broader adaptive reuse projects of adjoining office buildings.