Yesterday, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission voted to support a proposed mixed-use development which would create new housing, offices, and retail space in the Arts District.

View looking west from Violet StreetArno Matis Architecture

Onni Group, the developer behind the project at 2143 E. Violet Street, is seeking city approvals to redevelop portions of a two-acre site just west of the Los Angeles River with two new buildings featuring:

  • 347 live/work apartments (including 57 to be set aside at the very low- and extremely low-income level);
  • over 187,000 square feet of office space;
  • nearly 22,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space; and
  • subterranean parking for 783 vehicles.

Onni would also retain five of the seven existing buildings on the property, which contain a combined total of six live/work apartments, as well as office, retail, and restaurant space.

View of paseoArno Matis Architecture

The new construction, designed by Arno Matis Architecture, would be of a contemporary style, featuring staggered floor plates and exteriors of glass and concrete.  A 36-story apartment tower - potentially the tallest building in the Arts District - would front Violet Street, while an adjacent eight-story office building would scaled down in height toward 7th Place to the north.  Plans call for a publicly-accessible paseo cutting through the site, as well as residential amenities including multiple outdoor decks and community rooms.

The project, according to an environmental study published last year by the City of Los Angeles, is expected to be built over a more than two-year period starting in late 2021 and concluding in 2024.  That schedule is contingent upon the approval of discretionary entitlements including a zone change and a general plan amendment.

The requested entitlements and environmental study were the target of the appeal considered by the Commission, which was filed by the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters in March.  The appellant, through its attorney, argued that the report fails to address potential impacts to air quality and greenhouse gas emissions during construction, and argues that Onni Group has failed to comply with the affordable housing and labor provisions of Measure JJJ, which was passed by Los Angeles voters in 2016.

View looking north from Violet StreetArno Matis Architecture

A staff report dismissed the appellant's arguments regarding the environmental impact report, citing a lack of evidence, and noted that the project's affordability set-aside meets the standards set under JJJ.  Additionally, the staff response stated that the project's conditions of approvals would ensure compliance with the measure's prevailing-wage labor provisions.

The objections raised in the appeal ultimately proved to be a moot point, as the Carpenters union dropped its appeal prior to the hearing.  Several representatives of organized labor called into the Commission meeting in support of the proposed development, as did members of the Historic Cultural Neighborhood Council.

The project must still be approved by the Los Angeles City Council, prior to the issuance of entitlements.

Onni's 2143 Violet development joins several large mixed-use projects planned in the southern section of the Arts District, which has seen a rush of investment since Warner Music Group relocated its west coast headquarters to the historic Ford Factory at 7th Street and Santa Fe Avenue in 2019.  Los Angeles-based Lowe has already broken ground on a nine-story building on the opposite side of Violet Street, and other companies such as Jade Enterprises and Tishman Speyer are planning developments nearby.

2143 E Violet StreetArno Matis Architecture

Onni Group, which is based out of Vancouver, Canada, is also planning a high-rise complex adjacent to the former home of the Los Angeles Times, and is now in the midst of construction on mixed-use projects in Downtown Long Beach and Hollywood.