At its meeting yesterday, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission voted to approve plans from Relevant Group to redevelop a surface parking lot at 3rd and Spring Streets in Downtown with a modular apartment tower.

Rendered view of building courtyardGensler

The project, which happens to be the surprise winner of our "Best New Project of 2021," poll, calls for the construction of a 15-story building that would feature 331 one- and two-bedroom dwellings, ranging from 422 to 870 square feet in size, above 6,350 square feet of ground-floor retail space and 37 parking stalls in a single basement level.

Entitlements approved by the Planning Commission include density bonus incentives permitting increased height and floor area relative to zoning restrictions on the project site, as well as a reduction in required automobile parking. In exchange for permission to build a larger structure than otherwise allowed, Relevant is required to aside 37 of the apartments as deed-restricted affordable housing at the very low-income level.

Designed by Gensler, the building is to be composed of prefabricated modular units constructed off-site and assembled on the property.  Architectural plans show a U-shaped footprint above the podium level, wrapping a landscaped central courtyard which opens to the sky, with a rust-colored exterior of metal screens. Proposed resident amenities include a fitness room and a rooftop deck standing 195 feet above street level.

Rendered view of rooftop deck facing Downtown skylineGensler

Relevant Group's project would rise a block south of the intersection of 2nd and Spring Streets, where Metro is now in the midst of construction on the new Historic Broadway subway station, which is expected to open as part of the Regional Connector. Similar residential towers are planned for several nearby properties, including Onni Group's two-building development at the Times Mirror Square complex and a 56-story high-rise from Tribune Real Estate which would rise directly above the station.

Relevant Group, which has made its mark with a series of hotel developments along Selma and Wilcox Avenues in Hollywood, is also behind plans for an expansion of the historic Morrison Hotel in South Park and a second modular apartment building at 845 S. Olive Street.