Just south of Pacific Coast Highway in Wilmington, non-profit developer and service Brilliant Corners has broken ground on a new permanent supportive housing complex which will incorporate the shell of a mid-century supermarket.

Aerial view looking southwestLivia Cavallo/KFA Architecture

The project, located at 1355 N. Avalon Boulevard, will convert a 1950s Safeway into housing, while adding a new four-story residential building on a previously vacant lot to the south. The completed development would include a total of 54 studio and one-bedroom dwellings, in addition to on-site offices for case management services.

KFA Architecture is designing the project, which will retain the signature elements of the old supermarket, including its Googie facade and sidewalk palm trees. However, several modifications are required to make the former Safeway suitable for residents, including raising its floor to elevate apartments above the street, carving a courtyard and light well into the center of the 25-foot-tall roof, and punching windows and an entrance into the wall facing Avalon Boulevard.

The new construction to the south of the adaptive reuse will be of a contemporary style, flanked by a landscaped yard and featuring a small courtyard which would connect to the interior open space in the adjacent supermarket.

A 12-stall parking lot to the north of the building is also slated for retention, though a narrow strip of parking along adjacent alley way will be replaced with a landscaped space.

Work in progress at 1355 AvalonUrbanize LA

At the time the project was announced in 2020, it was expected that construction would take approximately 15 months following groundbreaking.

Funding for 1355 Avalon includes money allocated through the Measure HHH Challenge program. The project is being developed by Brilliant Corners in partnership with Richman Group.

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