Irvine-based developer Ventus Group continues to move forward with plans for a mixed-use development near Exposition Park, with the Los Angeles City Planning Commission scheduled to take up consideration of the project at its meeting this week.

The Fig, as the project is known, would encompass a 4.4-acre property at 3900 S. Figueroa Street - directly across the street from LAFC's Banc of California Stadium.  The project would replace a surface parking lot and several small apartment buildings with a seven-story structure containing 222 units of student housing, 104 market-rate apartments, 82 units of low-income housing, a 298-room hotel, and more than 60,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space.

Architects Orange is designing the project, which would present an 83-foot height profile along Figueroa Street.  The hotel and residential components would be split into separate wings, with the hotel located to the north and the mixed-income and student housing to the south.  A central plaza would separate the two.

Parking for The Fig would be placed in an eight-story garage at the back of the property, creating a buffer between the habitable space and the nearby Harbor Freeway.  The total number of vehicle stalls - 1,017 - includes reductions allowed through the city's bicycle parking ordinance.

The Commission is set to consider two appeals of the project - one from the West Adams Heritage Association and the other from Strategic Actions for a Just Economy.

Both appellants contend that the project will impact the surrounding historic district, including the removal of several early 20th-century apartment buildings within the development site.  While the project approvals require the relocation of at least three of the contributing structures within a five-mile radius of the property, and providing a salvage and reuse program for what buildings are not saved,  the appellants argue that this mitigation measure is inadequate as the historic district requires the context of surroundings.

Additionally, the appellants argue that the project will result in the demolition of 32 existing apartments subject to the City of Los Angeles' rent stabilization ordinance.  The proposed development would instead result in the construction of 82 apartments subject to an affordability covenant for a period of 55 years.

A staff response recommends that the Commission deny the appeals and approve The Fig.

Ventus has sought an incentive package from the City of Los Angeles to facilitate the construction of the proposed hotel, citing a financing gap.  A motion approved last year by the City Council initiated a study of the economics and financing of The Fig; similar requests for other hotel developments have resulted in a partial rebate of transient occupancy tax revenue to the developer.

Though large market-rate and mixed-use developments have been a rarity around the perimeter of Exposition Park to date, the Fig may foreshadow similar projects on the horizon.  Just one block north at 3800 Figueroa Street, two developers have proposed a 71-story apartment complex with ground-floor retail.