The Downtown high-rise boom is finally ready to spread north of the 101 Freeway trench.

The developer team behind 1111 Sunset Boulevard has unveiled design concepts for the 5.5-acre site that once served as the headquarters for the Metropolitan Water District.  The ambitious development - slated for one of the few large parcels remaining within the Central City North community plan - calls for a mix of residential, retail and creative office uses, in addition to open space and a boutique hotel designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

Los Angeles-based development firm Palisades is planning for 778 residential units - including a mix of market-rate and affordable housing - in a mix of high-rise and low-rise bungalow style buildings that are compatible in scale to the adjacent neighborhood of Victor Heights.  Along Sunset Boulevard, neighborhood-serving retail space will be accessible via a sloping walkway that evokes William Pereira's original design for the campus.  The new buildings are interspersed with two acres of open space, featuring terraces, gardens, courtyards and water features with views of the Downtown skyline.

Kuma, along with Stanley Saitowitz San Francisco-based of Natoma Architects, joins a design team that already includes James Corner Field Operations and SOM.

The project, located on the border between Downtown Los Angeles and Echo Park, joins a handful of other projects that are either planned or have been recently completed in the neighborhood.  Next-door to 1111 Sunset, an eight-story tower that was also part of the MWD campus has been converted into an apartment complex known as the Elysian. Just across the street, a mixed-use development featuring 204 apartments and 11,000 square feet of retail is slated for a property at Sunset and Everett.