Since news broke in August that developer Forest City would be picking up the dropped Blossom Plaza mixed-use development in Chinatown, hopes have run high that the long-arrested development is back on track. If today's meeting of the City Council's Housing, Community and Economic Development committee is any indication, it's all systems go on the project--the committee approved an exclusive negotiation agreement with Forest City Residential West, Inc. for development of the site and requested that the agreement be heard by the full council forthwith, as in ASAP (Nov. 15). Councilmember Ed Reyes, whose district includes the development site, said: "I am very glad we are here. We never gave up on the potential."
Besides approving the negotiation agreement, the committee also gave joint project management and negotiating powers to the Community Redevelopment Agency and the City Legislative Analyst for the project, because the city bought the site last year with the help of CRA funds. The previous owner, Bond Cos., had started work on the 1.9 acre site in 2007 before filing for bankruptcy in 2009.
The site has approvals for 262 residential units (20% affordable) in two towers, plus 43,000 square feet of retail, a 372 space garage, and a 17,500 square foot plaza. As for any changes in those plans, Forest City development manager Frank Frallicciardi tells us "We are working with the city to understand the boundaries of the entitlement," and that "We'll know more in a few weeks after the Negotiation Agreement is signed."
The public comments today included one a speaker representing the owners of the Capital Milling Building next door (the Riboli Family, which also owns the San Antonio Winery), who wanted to make sure that considerations from the Bond Cos. agreement, regarding impacts, station connectivity, and shading, were still in place. Reyes's response to that concern: "The agreements were pushed forth in good faith; we should keep them."
· Atlantic Yards Developer Says It's Reviving Chinatown's Blossom Plaza [Curbed LA]
· Major Chinatown Project to Move Forward [Downtown News]