After years of waiting, construction has finally kicked off on the Santa Cecilia Apartments, an affordable housing complex located near the Gold Line's Mariachi Plaza Station.

The project, which is being developed by McCormack Baron Salazar, would consist of a four-story structure featuring 80 dwellings and 4,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.  According to a document from the State Treasurer's Office, apartments in the low-rise building would be reserved for familes making 30-60% of the Los Angeles median household income, with monthly rents ranging from approximately $450 to $1,200 per month.  Units would come in a variety of one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans, including larger townhomes for households with slightly higher incomes.  The development would also include a variety of open space amenities, including private balconies and three courtyards.

Designs from Santa Monica-based DE Architects are closely tailored to match the aesthetics of surrounding properties in Boyle Heights.  Portions of the building will be clad in red brick, providing visual continuity with the 125-year-old Boyle Hotel across the street.  The building's main entrance at 1st Street and Boyle Avenue will be flanked by two panels featuring artistic depictions of Mariachi musicians, alluding to the plaza across the intersection.

Project architect Don Empakeris notes that the Santa Cecilia Apartments provided several unique challenges due to both topography and the light rail tunnel which travels under 1st Street.  The project is located on a hillside, resulting in a 20 foot change in elevation between the east and west ends of the roughly 1.5-acre site.  Furthermore, construction is prohibited on large portions of the property due to infrastructure associated with the adjacent subway station.

Nonetheless, the residential complex successfully toe the line between providing housing density and respecting the scale of the surrounding community.  The building will be separated from neighboring structures by a minimum of 60 feet on all sides of the project site.  A small surface parking lot for the building's commercial tenant would be situated at-grade on the southern side of thee property, supplementing an 80-stall underground garage.

Construction of the Santa Cecilia Apartments is expected to occur over approximately 16 months.  The project is one of several collaborations between McCormack Baron Salazar and DE Architects, including the Taylor Yard Apartments and the proposed Highland Park Transit Village.