Nine years after Metro struck a deal with A Community of Friends (ACOF) to redevelop a vacant lot near the L Line in Boyle Heights with affordable housing, construction is finally underway for Lorena Plaza.

Located on a long-vacant site at the intersection of 1st and Lorena Streets, the project calls for the construction of a four-story edifice which will feature 49 apartments atop roughly 7,500 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

Construction at 1st Street and Lorena StreetUrbanize LA

Per a 2021 application for tax credit financing, Lorena Plaza will include a mix of studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom dwellings, reserved for households earning at or below 30 and 50 percent of the area median income level. Rents for the property are expected to range between $591 and $1,464 per month, inclusive of utilities.

GGA is designing the low-rise development, which is depicted in renderings with a contemporary look at plazas located at the interior of the building and at the intersection of 1st and Lorena.

Lorena Plaza, which is funded through state and local sources such as Measure HHH, will cost an estimated $34.1 million - or roughly $615,000 per unit.

The prolonged timeline for the project is the result of a prolonged standoff between ACOF and the owners of El Mercado, a neighboring marketplace and commercial center, who had sought to block construction of the project. The owners of El Mercado were briefly joined in opposition by former Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar, who alleged that the project team had failed to generate support within the surrounding neighborhood.

After ACOF agreed to make changes to the project (and after the L.A. Times ran a handful of editorials calling for its approval), Huizar relented and allowed Lorena Plaza to move forward.

3401 E 1st StreetGoogle Maps

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