Nearly five months after crews first cleared away a series of low-rise commercial building in the Arts District, excavation has now commenced for the AMP Lofts.

The project, located near the interseciton of 7th Street and Santa Fe Avenue, will consist of a seven-story building featuring 320 live/work apartments above 20,000 square feet of retail space and 420 underground parking spaces.  Plans also call for a fitness center, a clubhouse, artist work space and an elevated courtyard.

The residential-retail complex is being designed by Shimoda Design Group, with direction from Steinberg Architects.  The finished product will incorporate original brickwork and bowstring truss from the property's previous occupant - Amp automoative.

Greystar Real Estate Partners - the developer of the mixed-use project - is planning a similar seven-story building on Alameda Street.