Yesterday, the office of Second District Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas announced that Los Angeles County has issued a request for proposals for the redevelopment of multiple dilapidated properties in Koreatown.

The government-owned parcels - located on Vermont Avenue between 4th and 6th Streets - are currently developed with more than a half-million square feet of office space housing the Los Angeles County Departments of Mental Health (DMH), Parks and Recreation, Community and Senior Services and Children and Family Services.  The existing buildings, built between 1958 and 1972, are described in the official request for proposals (RFP) as "a blight on the surrounding community."

Key to this plan is a 1.6-acre plot at 510-523 South Vermont Avenue known as Site 1.  According the RFP, the County intends for the property to be redevelopmed with the new headquarters of the Department of Mental Health.  The proposed building is expected to provide approximately 400,000 square feet of Class-A office space.

Preliminary renderings, drafted by SRK Architects, portrays the proposed DMH Headquarters as an approximately 20-story structure which would include ground-floor retail space and parking accommodations for up to 1,800 vehicles.  The tower, which would be designed to achieve LEED-Silver certification, would incorporate features to minimize solar heat gain and allow for natural ventilation.

However, the final design of the building is subject to change.

Groundbreaking for the DMH Headquarters is expected by 2018.

Site 2 - an approximately one-acre property at 550 South Vermont Avenue - is slated for a mixed-use high-rise development featuring ground-floor retail space.  The RFP mentions the possibility of the land being developed as either residential units or commercial office space.

Should the project move forward as a primarily residential development, an economic analysis commissioned by the County estimates that the maximum development for the site would be 373 units.  However, the property could accommodate as many as 700 residential units should a prospective developer wish to pursue a zone change or other variances for the property.

Any redevelopment of Site 2 would first require the demolition of the current DMH headquarters - a 12-story edifice which towers above the intersection of 6th Street and Vermont Avenue.

Site 3, spanning a half-acre at 433 South Vermont Avenue, could be developed with multiple uses.  However, the RFP specifically recommends that senior affordable housing be considered for the property.  The economic study commissioned by the County estimated that the approximately 54 units and 2,500 square feet of ground-level retail space could be built on the site.

Proposals for the Vermont Corridor properties are due by December 2015.  Presentations of potential developments are to follow in early January 2016.

The total project cost is estimated at $453 million.

In addition to the County-sponsored development, two smaller developments are planned for the opposite side of Vermont Avenue, including the Korean American National Museum and a residential-retail complex from Century West Partners.