Canadian real estate firms Townline and Forme Development are one step closer to building a new residential high-rise in Koreatown.

Aerial view of project site looking northeastGensler

Earlier today, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission voted to support the construction of Terrace Block, a proposed 41-story apartment tower which would rise next to a 1930s First English Evangelical Lutheran Church at 6th Street and Shatto Place.  Plans call for a total of 367 residential units, including 42 apartments that would be reserved as deed-restricted affordable housing for very low- and extremely low-income households over a period of 55 years.

In addition to a mix of traditional studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments, Townline and Forme had proposed that 90 of the apartments would serve as "Transient Occupancy Residential Structures," which could be leased for periods of up to 30 days.  City Planning staff Oliver Netburn, when queried about how the TORS units would function, described them as being akin to extended stay hotel rooms.

Rendered view looking northeast from Shatto Place, showing 1930s churchGensler

In addition to housing, Terrace Block would include approximately 36,000 square feet of office and retail uses located at the foot of the tower, as well as through the reuse of the adjoining church building, which currently functions as a gymnasium for a neighboring school.

Parking for 470 vehicles would be provided in four subterranean levels.

Rendered view looking southwest from 5th StreetGensler

Gensler is designing the proposed development, which would rise 483 feet in height, potentially making it the tallest building in Koreatown.  The tower would have a largely glass exterior, with a series of balconies and perforated metal screens used to provide articulation.

The vote by the Commission endorses the approval of a slew of discretionary entitlements requested by Townline and Forme, including a general plan amendment and a zone change.  However, the Commission voted against granting a conditional use permit for the proposed transient occupancy units.  That recommendation, if adopted by the Los Angeles City Council, would prevent the developers from including short-stay units.

Pending approvals by the City of Los Angeles, Townline and Forme expect to break ground on the tower in July 2022, according to a presentation to the Commission.  Completion of the project is expected in Fall 2025.

Landscaped area planned at the base of the towerGensler

The current project is a scaled-up version of an earlier project pitched by the same team for the property, which had called for a smaller 32-story tower with fewer apartments.  That entitlement strategy had relied on the city's Transit Oriented Communities guidelines, rather than discretionary approvals.  The revised plan, however, includes an additional parcel to the north along Shatto, which allowed for the tower to be set back farther from the church building behind a landscaped street-level plaza.

Should the project move forward, it would be the latest in a recent slate of high-rise developments on the eastern edge of Koreatown, including the 25-story Kurve on Wilshire now taking shape near Lafayette Park, and Holland Partner Group's 38-story tower which broke ground last year at 7th Street and New Hampshire Avenue.

Rendering of 550 ShattoGensler

Townline and Forme, which are both prolific developers in Canada, have also partnered on a second Los Angeles area project in Chinatown - the 27-story Harmony apartment tower.  While that high-rise has yet to break ground, a strip mall at 942 North Broadway has already been demolished to clear the way for construction.