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$2-billion downtown L.A. megaproject gets boost from governor’s office, hopes for approval in 2024

Gov. Gavin Newsom is seeking to accelerate construction of a massive $2 billion residential and commercial development in downtown Los Angeles, his administration announced Thursday.

The 7.6-acre project, named Fourth & Central, will include 1,500 new homes, 410,000 square feet of office space, retail, restaurants, 68 There are plans to build a hotel with three rooms. A row near the border with the arts district. Newsom's decision Thursday aims to shave years off construction schedules by speeding judicial decisions in lawsuits brought against projects under state environmental laws.

“For decades, we have allowed bureaucracy to stand in the way of these types of important housing projects, and the results are evident all around us,” Newsom said in a statement. Ta. “Now, we are leveraging California’s infrastructure law to build more homes faster.”

Denver-based developer Continuum Partners Project announced in 2021. It consists of 10 buildings, including a 44-story residential skyscraper at Central Avenue and Fourth Street. The proposal calls for building a total of 572 condominiums and 949 apartments, with at least 214 units reserved for low-income housing.

The two large buildings, including the skyscraper, were designed by David Adjaye, a Ghanaian-British architect best known as the chief designer of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington. The developer is partnering with the Los Angeles Cold Storage Company, which has operated at the site since 1895 and has provided cold storage for many farmers markets, hotels and buildings in the area.

Edgar Karatyan, an attorney at the law firm Mayer Brown who is representing Continuum, called Fourth & Central a “transformative” project for Los Angeles, with plans to bring more housing and jobs to the downtown area. emphasized.

“Housing people of all income levels near transportation and employment centers should be the vision of every municipality,” Karatian said.

Thursday's decision is one of several announcements this week indicating the project's timeline is accelerating.Tuesday, Continuum announced the agreement Work with the Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council, an umbrella organization for construction unions, to build Fourth & Central with an all-union workforce, including a requirement to hire workers locally. Newsom's office estimated the project would create up to 10,000 construction jobs.

The project still needs approval from the Los Angeles City Council, but the developer hopes to get it by the end of the year, Karatian said. Construction will continue next year and will take five to seven years to complete, he said.

The accelerated timeline for litigation does not exempt projects from analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), a 1970 law that requires developers to identify and, if possible, eliminate adverse environmental impacts. do not have.

However, the timeframe for potential litigation against the project would be shortened. CEQA lawsuits have long been accused of halting or prolonging construction, especially in large developments. Thursday's lawsuit aims to end a lawsuit that typically takes three to five years within nine months.

Karatyan said the rules would bring significant benefits to Continuum in terms of cost savings and development certainty, while not undermining the rights of potential opponents.

“There is nothing negative for anyone other than the petitioner. Even for the petitioner, it's just that the lawyer has to work on weekends,” he said.

This project is expected to present environmental and other challenges. Residents and activists in Skid Row and nearby Little Tokyo have long worried about gentrification as the arts district moves westward.

of Project website It promotes Fourth & Central as the “new gateway to DTLA.” The map on the site does not mention Skid Row, instead featuring the Arts District prominently and referring to the surrounding areas as the Fashion District and Toy District.

Multiple organizations in Little Tokyo are pursuing Fourth & Central through planning and environmental applications that exacerbate the displacement of low-income residents and undermine the neighborhood's role as the historic center of the region's Japanese community. has expressed concern about the possibility.

“There is a desire for this project to become part of the community, and we hope we can find something,” said the community at Little Tokyo Service Center, a nonprofit social services and community development organization. said Grant Sunoo, Director of Building and Engagement. “I'm skeptical that that's possible. It's not just Little Tokyo that will be affected, but other areas, especially Skid Row, as well.”

Karatian, Continuum's attorney, said Fourth & Central is in line with the city's recently approved downtown development blueprint and will further enhance the area's existing structure.

“We are building projects that have multiple access points into the community, are built outward to the surrounding community, and have significant affordable housing located near transit.” Karatian said.

Fourth and Central is the third development to receive governor approval to expedite CEQA litigation in recent years, following the Sacramento Valley Site Reservoir Plan and the Riverside Renewable Energy Project.

Efforts to streamline environmental litigation surrounding mega-developments date back to 2011, when then-Governor John Johnson led the effort. Jerry Brown signed legislation implementing the program as a job creation strategy during the Great Recession. This process does not guarantee that your project will be built.Contains multiple sports stadiums Farmers Field Football Proposal The Los Angeles Convention Center benefited from that, but never broke ground.

Last year, the owners of 8150 Sunset, a Frank Gehry-designed residential and commercial skyscraper along the eastern edge of the Sunset Strip, qualified in 2014. put your site up for sale without starting development.

Staff writer Roger Vincent contributed to this report.

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