A proposed apartment tower near the Gold Line's Chinatown Station is the latest project to take advantage of a state law which exempts transit-priority developments from the California Environmental Quality Act.

Earlier this year, Vancouver-based real estate firms Townline and Forme Development jointly submitted plans to redevelop a shopping center across the street from Chinatown's Central Plaza.  The project, called Harmony, would consist of a 27-story building featuring 178 residential units - including nine to be set aside for very low-income households - with 36,814 square feet of retail and office space.  Plans also call for five levels of subterranean parking, with 116 stalls for residents and 51 stalls for commercial tenants.

Christ Dikeakos Architects is designing the proposed tower, which would stand approximately 291 feet in height, with SWA Group serving as landscape architect.  The building is conceived with a series of offset masses, with amenity spaces to be located on the fourth-, sixth-, and roof levels.  By concentrating the bulk of the buildable density into a tower, the project allows for a large public plaza to front Broadway, connecting to Chinatown's commercial core through a mid-block crosswalk that would be relocated in front of the property.

Townline and Forme, which are partnering with Los Angeles-based developer Urban Offerings, have previously indicated that construction of Harmony could begin as soon as 2019.

The Sustainable Communities CEQA exemption that the development team is employing for the Chinatown tower requires that a project is located within a half-mile of a major transit stop and dedicate at least 50 percent of its floor area to residential use, with a minimum density of 20 dwelling units per acre.

Following the completion of Blossom Plaza next to Chinatown Station, a number of other mixed-use projects have entered the pipeline for North Broadway.  A nine-story hotel is planned across the street from Harmony, and a multi-building development is proposed for a narrow strip of land to the north.

Townline and Forme are also planning a 32-story tower near the intersection of 6th Street and Shatto Avenue in Koreatown.