A Los Angeles County-owned parking lot in Chinatown will soon be up for grabs for developers - assuming they want to build affordable housing.

On January 23, the County Board of Supervisors voted to authorize the Department of Economic Opportunity to issue a request for proposals seeking development options for Parking lot 45, located at 725 N. Spring Street. Expectations for the site include no fewer than 300 housing units, which would be restricted to rent by lower-income households. The County's preference is for a project that maximizes the number of units catering to very low-, extremely low- and acutely low-income households, per a staff report.

"The County’s goal for the Site is a potential mixed-use project comprised of affordable housing, community-oriented commercial or economic opportunity spaces, as well as open space, and adequate parking," reads the report. "This is consistent with priorities articulated by community stakeholders after a series of listening sessions and surveys."

Existing parking for County employees and the public could be replaced by reopening a neighboring 308-car garage, which was shuttered in August 2020 due to underutilization.

725 N. Spring StreetGoogle Maps

Plans to redevelop the site date back to at least 2019, when a motion from then Los Angeles City Councilmember Gil Cedillo first revealed the intent to embark on a joint city-county request for proposals.

The parking lot is located within a short walk of Metro's Chinatown light rail station at the intersection of Spring and College Streets, making the site eligible for Transit Oriented Communities incentives, and near a handful of new developments such as Blossom Plaza, the Llewellyn Apartments at 1101 N. Main Street, and the proposed College Station complex.

The 725 Spring Street site has also been considered as part of a new "Restorative Care Village," planned by Los Angeles County, which would bring affordable and permanent supportive housing to a variety of properties in Chinatown.

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