About a week ago, construction workers started ripping up this parking lot at the northwest corner of 11th and Grand in South Park, a lot owned by Meruelo Maddux. A popular parking lot for Lakers fans headed to Staples Center, this parcel is located directly across from the Starbucks. As it turns out, Meruelo Maddux---a company which is in Chapter 11, let us not forget--applied for building permits last month to start construction on a 21-story apartment building.
The project is by right, which means Meruelo Maddux wasn't required to obtain an approval from the City Planning Department for the project. In other words, all the company had to do was apply for building permits (*Update: They have to file a tract map change and file papers with the Planning Dept, but the approval process is far easier; they don't need the normal approval process). But the company was required to obtain clearance from the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), because the project falls in one of the city's redevelopment areas. A representative for the Community Redevelopment Agency didn't immediately return calls, but a source says that the CRA signed off on the project.
According to Building and Safety records, which you can see here, Meruelo Maddux applied for both a grading and new building permit on May 27th, 2010. According to Building and Safety records, the applications have been submitted, but it doesn't look like either has been issued.
And according to the permits, the building will have just 19 units---so an apartment on every floor--and be designed by architect Manuel Funes, described in an older Los Angeles Business Journal story as "the in-house architect for Meruelo Maddux."
But many downtowners seemed shocked to discover the corner was cleared for a 21-story tower. Earlier today, Carol Shatz, President & CEO Central City Association and Downtown Center Business Improvement District, said both herself and her staff weren't familiar with what was going on with the site.
A press representative for Meruelo Maddux didn't return phone calls.
· 1099 S GRAND AVE 1-19 90015 [Permit LA]