Developer Mitsui Fudosan America is one step closer to redeveloping a parking garage near Whole Foods in Downtown Los Angeles with a skyline-altering apartment tower.

On July 13, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission gave its approval to Mitsui Fudosan's Park Terrace at 8th Grand & Hope project, which is named for its location along the north side of 8th Street between Grand Avenue to the east and Hope Street to the west. Plans call for the construction of a 50-story tower which would feature 580 studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom dwellings above 7,499 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and parking for 640 vehicles.

View of the proposed tower looking northeast from 8th and HopeGensler

Like many other recent Downtown high-rise projects, the Gensler-designed 8th Grand & Hope tower would adopt architectural elements common to LA's famed Mid-Century modern homes. Additionally, the building envelope of the tower would incrementally shift its mass back from Hope Street as it rises, creating a series of amenity deck for residents and giving the tower a unique profile. Plans call for an exterior of glass, concrete, aluminum, and stone.

While residences would line the full Grand Avenue side of the building, above-grade parking - screened by landscaping - would be located along the western side of the property facing Hope. However, the floors of the garage are being designed without a slope, offering the potential to convert that space to an additional 189 residential units at a future date.

Although the project includes above-grade parking in a podium on its lower floors, the garage levels would be built without a slope, meaning that they could be converted into additional housing at some point in the future. That could provide space for an additional 189 residential units, according to a presentation given last year to the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council.

Aerial view looking northwestGensler

The project has also faced opposition in the form of three appeals, which were rejected by the Commission. SAFER, an affiliate of Laborers International Union of North America Local 270, and Creed LA, an alliance of several construction trade unions, are frequent appellants of large projects seeking discretionary entitlements before the City of Los Angeles. They were joined by Digital Realty, the owner of an abutting parking garage which is planning its own project along Grand Avenue - a 13-story data center. All three appellants alleged that the project's environmental impact report failed to consider issues such as construction noise and impacts to surrounding historic properties - claims which were dismissed in a staff response provided to the Commission.

At the time the project went to the Neighborhood Council for an update, Mitsui Fudosan anticipated that the Planning Commission and the Los Angeles City Council would take up consideration of the project in early 2023. That would have led to a groundbreaking date sometime in 2024 and completion in 2027.

The 8th Grand & Hope tower will still require Council approval of a transfer of development rights needed to facilitate the additional floor area required to permit the building. The total public benefit payment required of Mitsui Fudosan is just over $9.8 million, half of which would be set aside for the Council District 14 affordable housing trust fund.

Rendering of the proposed data center adjacent to Park Terrace towerOfficeUntitled

Mitsui Fudosan America, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Mitsui Fudosan, has long owned property in Downtown Los Angeles, but only recently dived into ground up development. The 8th Grand & Hope tower would be the firm's second in the neighborhood, following the nearly-finished 8th & Figueroa tower two blocks to the west.

The project, if it proceeds along the timeline envisioned last year by its developer, would be among the first in a new batch of Downtown towers to sprout south of 7th Street. Directly west of the site across Hope Street, National Real Estate Advisors is also pursuing entitlements for a project which would build a high-rise tower featuring 466 apartments above The Bloc's massive parking garage.

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