The Los Angeles City Planning Commission has approved plans from Jamison Services, Inc. to construct two high-rise apartment buildings in Koreatown.

The project, which has been in the planning stages since 2016, would replace a portion of a parking garage at the northwest corner of 7th Street and Mariposa Avenue.  Plans call for the construction of 23- and 28-story buildings containing a total of 640 apartments  and ground-floor retail space.  Parking for 1,922 vehicles - serving both residents and tenants of a neighboring office building - would be provided in a four-story podium and in two subterranean garage levels.

CallisonRTKL is designing the tower project, which is named in architectural plans as Central Plaza.  The glass-and-steel buildings would feature amenity above its podium and roof levels, and place a new pedestrian paseo along its northern perimeter - separating the new construction from an existing office building that is also owned by Jamison Services.

According to an initial study published in February by the City of Los Angeles, construction is expected to occur in two phases, the first of which would occur between 2022 and 2024.  The second phase of the development would be built between 2024 and 2026.

The project faced an appeal from SAFER, an affiliate of Laborers International Union of North America Local 270 (LIUNA), which cited numerous factors in its opposition to the project, including its scale and potential impact on the environment.

A second appellant, listed as the signatories of a online petition opposing the project, argued that the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic had prevented them from effectively organizing in support of their appeal. 

A staff report dismissed claims brought by LIUNA and recommended approval.

Residents of the adjacent Normandie-Mariposa Historic District, who have previously fought plans from Jamison to construct a smaller housing complex nearby, argued that the scale and design of the towers are incompatible with its surroundings.  The neighboring district, which is composed largely of early 20th century apartment buildings, is frequently used as a filming location.

Other members of the public who commented in opposition to the development cited Jamison's maintenance of existing office and residential properties in Koreatown.

Comments regarding the project's parking podium, as well as the proposed quantity of below market-rate housing, took purchase with Commissioners, who deliberating over issues of design and on-site affordable units.  The body eventually voted to deny both appeals and move the project forward, on the condition that the developer increase the affordable set-side to 10 percent of the total units - split between moderate- and low-income units - and redesign the parking podium to comply with design guidelines adopted by the Commission.