In 2018, the Japanese-American non-profit organizations Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) and Go For Broke announced a partnership to redevelop an LADOT parking lot at Temple and Alameda Streets with affordable housing and an education center. That proposed project could soon be expanded onto another publicly-owned property to the east.
"Due to the irregular shape of the existing lease area, the amount of permanent supportive and affordable housing units that can be produced on site is significantly less than could be produced on a larger shaped site," reads a motion introduced yesterday by Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin De Leon, which proposes an amendment to the city's ground lease with LTSC and Go For Broke which would expand the agreement to also cover a property located at the southeast corner of Temple and Judge John Aiso Street. Up until last year, the roughly 1.5-acre lot housed a "tinker toy" parking garage used by LAPD vehicles. The metal structure has since been dismantled and removed.
LTSC and Go For Broke's existing lease covers a triangular .86-acre site located immediately north of the Japanese American National Museum and MOCA's Geffen Contemporary extension. Per the terms of their agreement with the city, the two organizations are expected to build a low-rise structure containing up to 77 apartments and aneducation center focused on the experience of Japanese-American soldiers during World War II.
The superseding agreement proposed by De Leon would extend the existing arrangement - which is scheduled to expire in 2056 - for a period of up to 99 years. LTSC and Go For Broke would pay $1 per year in rent. The exact changes to the proposed apartment complex are not stated in the motion, which has been referred to the City Council's Information, Technology, and General Services Committee for consideration.
The project, which was originally envisioned as a standalone education center, is one of a handful of affordable and supportive housing complexes now being developed by LTSC, which is based out of offices at the ground floor of a nearby apartment building. The non-profit is also planning housing at the former site of the Umeya Rice Cake Company, and is partnering with Metro to build apartments adjacent to the Vermont/Santa Monica subway station in East Hollywood.
Just south of the project site, LTSC has also pursued development rights for a Metro-owned site above the under-construction 1st/Central subway station. Although Metro staff had originally proposed partnering with a competing developer, the opportunity will be once again put out to bid following community backlash.
The former tinker toy garage at Temple and Aiso was one of two such structures recently demolished in the Downtown community. The other, which once sat at the intersection of 1st Street and Grand Avenue, was removed to make way for the construction of a $1-billion Frank Gehry-designed housing and hotel complex.
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