An environmental report prepared for the City of Los Angeles provides new details on a proposed affordable housing development in Watts.

The project, which is being developed by Thomas Safran & Associates, is slated for two strips of land flanking the A Line's 103rd Street/Watts Towers Station.  At completion, the approximately 245,000-square-foot complex would feature 196 studio, one-, and two-, and three-bedroom apartments reserved for low- and moderate-income households.

Project entitlements include Transit Oriented Communities incentives, which provides for an increase in allowable height, as well as a reduction in required on-site parking to 112 vehicle stalls.

Culver City-based wHY Architecture is designing the Watts Towers Station project, which would consist of four buildings and open space amenities.  Each of the four-story structures is designed to appear as a collection of smaller buildings with pitched roofs. 

The project, which would span across seven acres of land owned by Metro, is largely unimproved.  However, the new housing would result in the removal of more than 100 existing trees, as well as a portion of a small park located near the Watts Towers.

The historic Watts Station building - a relic of the bygone Pacific Electric Railway which dates to 1904 - is to be retained.  The single-story structure has since been converted into a coffee shop, and sits next to a small pedestrian plaza.

According to the environmental report, construction is expected to occur in two 18 month phases.

Although the Thomas Safran & Associates has been pursuing entitlements for the Watts Station site since 2019, the company was not officially engaged into an exclusive negotiating agreement with Metro for the development of its property until February 2020.  The negotiating period is scheduled to last for an initial term of 18 months, potentially followed by an extension of up to 30 months.

The Los Angeles City Council's Planning and Land Use Committee is scheduled to vote on whether or not to exempt the Watts Towers Station development from review under the California Environmental Quality Act at its meeting on June 25.  The vote by the committee would be subject to approval by the full City Council at a later date.

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