In a unanimous vote, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission has signed off on a proposal to redevelop the former Downtown headquarters of the Umeya Rice Cake Co. with permanent supportive housing.

The project, which is being developed by Little Tokyo Service Center, is slated for a roughly 35,000-square-foot property located just south of 4th Street between Crocker Street and Towne Avenue.  Plans call for clearing the existing industrial building to permit the construction of a new seven-story edifice featuring 175 apartments above approximately 8,700 square feet of ground-floor commercial space and 29 basement parking stalls.

With the exception of two on-site manager's units, the project would consist entirely of deed-restricted affordable housing priced at the low-, very low-, and extremely low-income levels.  Plans call a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom dwellings.

FSY Architects is designing the podium-type building, which would have a V-shaped footprint, allowing for two ground-floor courtyards which open to the sky, as well as a side patio facing an alley to the north.  Other features would include a resident lounge, a community room, offices for Little Tokyo Service Center, and a food court.

Prior to the start of construction, the project will also require the approval of a zone change and a general plan amendment by the Los Angeles City Council.

Little Tokyo Service Center, based out of the neighboring Little Tokyo neighborhood, acquired the Umeya Rice Cake Co. property for $8.4 million in 2019 - roughly two years after the business ceased operations.  The non-profit developer and service provider is also planning supportive housing projects adjacent to the Japanese American National Museum and on land next to Vermont/Santa Monica Station in East Hollywood.

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