A City-owned property near the heart of Koreatown could be made available for redevelopment, under a new proposal being considered by the Los Angeles City Council.

"The persistent affordable housing shortage and corresponding homelessness crisis across Los Angeles necessitates that the City of Los Angeles repurpose and redevelop viable City-owned properties with deeply affordable and permanent supportive housing," reads a motion introduced yesterday by 10th District Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas.

The target of the motion, a half-acre parking lot known as LADOT Lot 691, consists of three contiguous parcels at 682 S. Vermont Avenue.  The site, bordered by the Vermont apartment towers to the north and a retail center to the south, sits within walking distance of the Wilshire/Vermont Metro Station just one block north.

682 S Vermont AvenueGoogle Maps

"Located in close proximity to Metro rail and rapid bus lines in Koreatown, this property could take advantage of the Transit Oriented Communities affordable housing incentive program to ensure optimal density, and could also include ground floor community-serving retail amenities," writes Ridley-Thomas.

The motion, which has been referred to the Council's Housing Committee for consideration, would direct the City Administration Officer, General Services Department, and Housing and Community Investment Department to report back on the suitability of the property for redevelopment with affordable or supportive housing within 60 days.  If the report finds that redevelopment is feasible, staff would then begin the process of soliciting development proposals.

This is not the first time the parking lot has been tapped to aid with the City's effort to shelter its houseless residents.  In 2018, former City Councilmember Herb Wesson identified the property as a potential site for an interim housing facility to be built through the A Bridge Home program.  However, that move was met with vocal opposition from a group of Koreatown residents who argued that the parking lot sat too close to schools and businesses, and objected to a lack of community input prior to Wesson's proposal.  A shelter was eventually approved for a site located a half-mile east at Lafayette Park - well outside the core of Koreatown.

A new affordable housing development at Parking lot 691 would follow a wave of new multifamily construction near the Wilshire/Vermont subway station.  In addition to the Vermont towers, developer Holland Partner Group is now building a 38-story, 375-unit development one block east at 7th Street and New Hampshire Avenue.  A short distance south on Vermont, an 80-unit co-living apartment complex is poised to replace an empty strip mall.