The Los Angeles City Council voted yesterday to designate a proposed high-rise development near the Gold Line's Chinatown Station as a Sustainable Communities Project, thereby exempting it from more stringent review under the California Environmental Quality Act.

The proposed development, called Harmony, would replace a shopping center at 942 North Broadway with a 27-story tower featuring 178 residential units - including nine very low-income affordable units - above approximately 37,000 square feet of commercial space and 167 parking stalls on five basement levels.

Canadian developers Townline and Forme Development are partnering on the project, along with local partner Urban Offerings.  The 291-foot-tall tower is being designed by Chris Dikeakos Architects.

The project's CEQA exemption came about through the statewide Sustainable Communities program, which originated via legislation in 2011.  Developments are eligible for the exemption if they dedicate a minimum of 50 percent of total floor area to residential use - with a minimum density of 20 dwelling units per acre - and are located within a half-mile of a major transit stop.

The development team has previously indicated that construction of Harmony could begin as soon as this year.

Townline, Forme, and Urban Offerings have a similar project known as Soul planned for a property at 6th and Shatto Streets in Koreatown.