Last week, developer Trammell Crow Residential received welcome news from the Los Angeles Department of City Planning (LADCP), which has approved the Texas-based company's proposal to build a residential tower in Downtown's Historic Core.

The project, known as the Alexan, would replace a surface parking lot at 9th and Hill Streets with a 27-story building featuring 305 residential units above approximately 6,200 square feet of ground-floor retail space.  Plans also call for a landscaped roof deck, a swimming pool and a fitness center.

Designed by CallisonRTKL, the 320-foot tower would use columns and window lines to mimic the horizontal alignment of nearby historic buildings such as the Broadway Trade Center.  A portion of its above-grade parking garage would be masked from view metal screens, concrete and two-story townhouse units.

The Alexan has engendered controversy due to its proximity to the Eastern Columbia Building, a historic Art Deco building known for its ornate turquoise facade and iconic clock tower.

The deadline for appeals of the LADCP deterimination is August 12.