A Metro staff report recommends engaging with a non-profit developer to build affordable housing on property adjacent to a subway station now under construction in Little Tokyo.

The report, which is scheduled for consideration at this week's meeting of the Metro Board's Planning and Programming Committee, recommends that the agency should enter into an exclusive negotiation agreement with Innovative Housing Opportunities for the development of a 1.2-acre site at the intersection of 1st Street and Central Avenue.  The proposed arrangement would run for an initial term of 18 months, with the option for an extension of up to 30 months.

Innovative Housing Opportunities is one of four development firms which pitched plans for the property at a community meeting in October 2019.  Their proposal, called Lotus @ 1st, 78 apartments priced for households ranging between 30 and 120 percent of the area median income.  The project also includes 10,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, galleries, and cultural amenities to activate the adjacent Metro plaza.

Dahlin is designing the contemporary low-rise structure, which would use tiered building heights and setbacks to create amenity spaces for residents.  Renderings also show a rooftop deck.

Innovative Housing Opportunities would also engage with a community-based organization to participate in the development.

The Lotus @ 1st project was recommended over three other proposals from Little Tokyo Service Center, Centre Urban Real Estate Partners, and Kaji & Associates.  The competing plans have called for a mix of housing, community-based commercial space, and even a hotel.

Metro cannot engage in the proposed agreement until the item is approved by the Board of Directors.

The new 1st/Central Station replaces the existing Little Tokyo/Arts District Station which sits at the intersection of 1st and Alameda Streets.  The underground stop is part of the Regional Connector project, a new subway tunnel snaking through Downtown Los Angeles that is slated to open in 2022.

Interested in finding affordable housing? Visit housing.lacity.org.