The City and County of Los Angeles will partner with developers Abode Communities and AvalonBay Communities on a proposed revamp of the aging West L.A. Civic Center, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl announced yesterday.

The two developers have teamed together on a project dubbed West L.A. Commons, which calls for redeveloping a series of parking lots with new mixed-use and multifamily residential buildings.  A full buildout of the project would include:

  • 431 affordable and moderate-income apartments (including family, senior, and permanent supportive housing units);
  • 495 market-rate apartments;
  • a 73,400-square-foot municipal office building;
  • 41,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space;
  • a rebuilt Felicia Mahood Multipurpose Center; and
  • approximately 118,000 square feet of public open space - roughly doubling the existing amount.

Additionally, the shuttered West L.A. Courthouse is to be repurposed as an "arts pavilion."

"Our vision for West L.A. Commons will bring equitable housing opportunities to a highly-resourced neighborhood on the Westside," said Abode Communities chief executive officer Robin Hughes in a news release.  "The proposed mix of residential, commercial, and civic uses will ultimately create a vibrant interconnected neighborhood core for the community and residents alike."

West L.A. Commons - which is being designed by Koning Eizenberg, Olin, and Togawa Smith Martin - would include a series of low-rise structures ranging up to eight stories in height.  The new buildings would be arranged in a campus-style setting, interspersed by pedestrian walkways and a plaza centered on the Civic Center's historic band stand.  Plans also call for a series of terrace decks and residential courtyards.

The project as currently envisioned features a lower height profile than the conceptual development presented at a community meeting in October 2020.  West L.A. Commons, as originally proposed, was centered on a 23-story tower and included an additional 114 residential units.

The revised project, according to the announcement by Kuehl's office, also includes more parking than earlier proposal.

Moving forward, the two developers will be required to enter into separate exclusive negotiating agreements with both the City and County of Los Angeles - which own the various components of the Civic Center.  The agreement is expected to be finalized in March, after which point a community outreach period would begin.  A County official previously indicated that no construction would begin at the Civic Center campus until 2023 at the earliest.

The development team of AvalonBay and Abode Communities, which was selected by a panel which included both County and City officials, beat out a competing proposal called Los Angeles Civic Arts, which was led by Thomas Safran & Associates, California Landmark Group, and the Berklee College of Music.  That project called for a similar blend of housing, retail, and government offices, with the addition of a West Coast campus for Berklee.